Sean Rigg death: Custody officer ‘trying to retire’

Sean RiggImage copyright
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Sean Rigg died from a heart attack in police custody in 2008

A Met Police officer facing a possible gross misconduct hearing following the death in custody of a mentally ill man is attempting to retire from the force.

Sgt Paul White was the custody officer when Sean Rigg died at Brixton police station in south London in 2008.

The BBC understands the police watchdog has directed the Met that Sgt White and another officer should face a gross misconduct hearing.

The officer would not face a hearing if he did retire, the watchdog said.

Regulations were changed in December, which means a police officer can now be pursued for gross misconduct even if they retire or resign.

However, the changes would not apply to this case because of its age, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) confirmed.

The IOPC said it had made representations to the Met and was aware of the officer’s retirement request.

In a statement, Scotland Yard said it would be inappropriate to confirm the retirement plans of any officer ahead of their actual retirement.

“A sergeant investigated by the IOPC in connection with the death of Sean Rigg remains a serving officer at this stage. He is currently on restricted duties,” the force said.

In 2012, an inquest jury found that police had used unsuitable force when they arrested Mr Rigg, a 40-year-old musician, who was a paranoid schizophrenic.

He was handcuffed, forcefully restrained face down and confined in a police van.

Mr Rigg collapsed after arriving at the station, where he had been put in a holding area, and died from a heart attack.

Last year, the Crown Prosecution Service decided none of the police officers should be prosecuted over his death.

Sgt White stood trial for perjury in 2016 and was acquitted.

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