Two suspicious Black deaths in south London

Two suspicious Black deaths in south London


Written by: Harmit Athwal

The family of a Black man who died after being arrested by Brixton police is appealing for witnesses to come forward.

On 21 August, 40-year-old Sean Rigg was arrested, according to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) which investigates deaths in custody, on suspicion of public order offences and alleged assault on a police officer after police were called to the Atkins Road area following ‘reports that Mr Rigg’s behaviour was causing concern to members of the public’.

Sean was taken to Brixton police station where, while ‘in the holding area of the custody suite, [he] became ill … An ambulance was called to take him to hospital. While waiting for the ambulance, his condition deteriorated and became serious. He was given CPR. [He] was then taken to hospital by ambulance where he was formally pronounced dead at 9.24pm.’

According to an IPCC press release, Sean’s sister, Samantha Rigg-Davies commented that: ‘The family is deeply saddened by the sudden and untimely death of our brother whilst in police custody and are appealing for any people who may have seen Sean walking around the Atkins Rd area in Balham on the evening of Thursday 21st August 2008, witnessed the arrest, or were at the police station and saw Sean there, to come forward.’

A post mortem found no obvious signs of injury that could have caused his death. The inquest into Sean’s death has been opened and adjourned at Southwark Coroner’s Court.

Another death

The IPCC is also investigating the death of 15-year-old Reece Robinson-Webber who died on a street in West Norwood after a police chase. The young Black student died after falling from his moped after allegedly failing to stop for police.

Related links

IPCC Press releases

Read an article in the South London Press on Reece Robinson-Webber


The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

0 thoughts on “Two suspicious Black deaths in south London

  1. I think there needs to be more cautious use of the word racism. Having been an expatriate in South Korea, I am well aware that I am foreign – I will never be Korean. I am not looked down upon, or considered lacking in intelligence because of my race. I am considered foreign because I am not originally from South Korea or one of their race. That doesn’t make them racist. I knew where I stood and was treated very well. In the United Kingdom, I am a native white British person. Multi-culturalism has been allowed to thrive here. Which is fine. But what is at the crux of worry, is that ‘anyone can become British’ and claim British rights as an original native. Can you tell me why the original native culture shouldn’t be protected? Or why Britain should somehow idealistically open its doors to the world and allow itself to become a totally multi-racial and multi-cultural society? Is there a right or wrong here? I am not racist, – I do not look down upon others of a different race nor think they are lesser than my own race. Absolutely not. But I do wish that my own culture and in truth the uniqueness of the British (white) race – native to these islands is preserved and not overrun. That isn’t being racist. In truth – a balance needs to be struck. An imbalance of immigration – subsequent reproduction of those immigrants is in competition with local native populations. I think the native homogenous population of Great Britain has a right to protect its culture and race. This isn’t racist.

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