Sean Rigg was a charming, popular and well-loved Lambeth resident who at the time of his death was experiencing mental ill health. In August 2008, Sean Rigg was restrained by the Metropolitan police, taken into police custody where he later died in Brixton police station.

A 2012 inquest into the death of Sean Rigg found that Sean died as a result of a cardiac arrest after being restrained with a level of force that was described by the inquest jury as being extreme and unnecessary. The 2013 decision by the Independent Police Complaints Commission to reopen the investigation into the death of Sean Rigg provided a semblance of hope for many people affected by injustices within the criminal justice system. Not only has it taken too long to bring charges against the officers and former officers, the 1 March 2019 decision to dismiss all charges of gross misconduct places great weight on an already fractured relationship between black communities, the police and the judicial system.

The case of Sean Rigg is a heart-breaking example of how both our mental health and policing practices have failed men like Sean. The Rigg family have fought tirelessly to get justice and to change these practices. Although this recent judgement may cast a dark cloud over many people’s faith and trust, we need to honour men like Sean and continue to fight for change. As a society, we should not rest until we bring about reforms that protect the welfare and safety of people who come into contact with the police and mental health system.