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Sean Rigg public memorial event to be held at Lambeth Town Hall, Tuesday 21 August
20 August 2012
A public memorial meeting to mark the fourth anniversary of the death of Sean Rigg, who lost his life in police custody in 2008, will be held at Lambeth Town Hall on Tuesday 21st August 2012 at 6.30pm.
Organised by the Sean Rigg Justice and Change Campaign in association with Black Mental Health UK, this meeting marks the first public event where the Rigg family will be able to inform the community, who have supported them throughout their campaign, about the changes they would like to see in the wake of the high profile inquest verdict into their brother’s death.
The verdict highlighted a catalogue of failures by both statutory mental health services and the police in their dealings with the musician and songwriter.
The Rigg family are aware of similar tragedies that have occurred involving the police and mental health services since their brother’s death, and say that this is evidence that lessons from these fatalities have not been learnt. They want to see wholesale reform in the way the police and mental health services treat mental health service users in order to ensure that such painful tragedies do not occur again.
With detention rates under the Mental Health Act 44% higher among people from the UK’s African Caribbean communities than their white counterparts, the family have teamed up with campaign group Black Mental Health UK in organising this event, which will also serve as a forum to raise awareness and address the stigma associated with this health condition.
Marcia Rigg-Samuel, sister of Sean Rigg said: ‘This public memorial is not only to remember and celebrate Sean’s life, but is also aimed to bring this very serious issue to the forefront of the community’s minds, as it affects us all. The compelling evidence against Sean’s mental health care team SLAM and Brixton police emphasises the urgency for improvement and change on a national level regarding deaths in police custody and mental health. We urge parliament to now take the opportunity to address these shameful and unnecessary deaths. Deaths like these should never happen.’
Matilda MacAttram, director of Black Mental Health UK said: ‘Sean Rigg’s experience in many ways typifies the experience of people from the UK’s African Caribbean communities who use mental health services as they are 50% more likely to be referred to these services via the Police. We hope it that this memorial will keep the spotlight on this area of healthcare, which is in urgent need of wholesale reform.’
Deborah Coles, co-director of INQUEST, said: ‘This event is an important opportunity to honour all that his family has achieved in their fight for truth and justice. Thanks to their extraordinary resilience and persistence we now know the truth about what happened to Sean. The family require justice and those responsible for Sean’s death must be held to account. We, along with all of those supporting the family, will continue in that fight, and to press for change to stop deaths like this from happening again.’
Ken Fero, film director, Migrant Media said: ‘It is right and fitting that the first public screening of the new film ‘Who Polices The Police? is screened in Brixton on the anniversary of Sean’s death at the hands of the police. We support the family in their continuing battle for justice.’
Event: Sean Rigg Lambeth Town Hall Public Memorial Event
Date: Tuesday 21st August 2012
Time: Doors open 6.30pm
Meeting starts 7.00 – 900pm
This event will include a screening of the film ‘Who Polices The Police?’ by Migrant Media
Venue: Assembly Room, Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton Hill, London SW2 1RW
Nearest station: Brixton tube station on the Victoria line
‘My congratulations to all involved in this 30 year battle for disclosure [of the Cass report on the death of Blair Peach] … it was this awful state of affairs which led those of us who founded INQUEST to set it up. But it is mind-boggling to think that we were still arguing over this report 30 years later.’
– Terry Munyard, barrister at Garden Court Chambers and founding member of INQUEST