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  1. Will 'abuse of process' be raised to halt hearing seven years after inquest jury criticism?. Sean Rigg: Died in custody Date - 22nd January 2019 By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle Five officers have begun their challenge to gross misconduct proceedings involved in the detention of musician Sean Rigg who died in police custody more than 10 years ago. The Met Police quintet have denied all allegations – following a direction by the Independent Office for Police Conduct – connected to the detainee’s death at Brixton police station on August 21, 2008. The hearing got underway on Monday almost seven years after an inquest jury criticised the way police restrained Mr Rigg, who had paranoid schizophrenia, before he suffered a fatal cardiac arrest. The 40-year-old had earlier been arrested in Balham after reports that he was bare-chested and aiming karate kicks at passers-by. Police Constables Andrew Birks, Richard Glasson, Matthew Forward, Mark Harratt and Sergeant Paul White are all accused of breaching standards of professional behaviour. It is alleged that: PC Birks breached standards in relation to duties and responsibilities; PCs Glasson, Forward and Harratt breached standards in relation to honesty and integrity, use of force, abuse of authority and duties and responsibilities; and that Sgt White breached standards in relation to honesty and integrity and duties and responsibilities. The officers potentially face dismissal over the 2008 death but it is understood that lawyers acting for them could be preparing to raise an “abuse of process” argument to tell the disciplinary panel they cannot get a fair hearing base on the passage of time that has elapsed. The five have protested their innocence and the case has been going on for so long PC Birks, who has been suspended on full pay since 2014, has retrained as a Church of England priest. All five appeared at the Met Police misconduct hearing that was also attended by members of Mr Rigg's family including his sister Marcia. The hearing was told that the four PCs were out on duty in a marked police van when they were called to deal with Mr Rigg. He ran away when he saw the van, and was eventually restrained in a grass area on the Weir Estate, being pinned down in a prone position for nearly seven minutes. Around 20 minutes later he was taken into a caged area at Brixton police station, where he collapsed having suffered a cardiac arrest. It is claimed that the constables failed to ensure Mr Rigg's wellbeing because they did not recognise that he was suffering from mental health issues, even though he was partially clothed and threatening passers-by for no obvious reason. They are also accused of failing to ensure he was unharmed because they did not check updates to the call dispatch system that suggested he may have mental health problems, and did not check his passport details on the police national computer. PC Harratt assumed the passport was stolen, when in fact it belonged to Mr Rigg. The four officers and Sgt White all allegedly failed to get Mr Rigg urgent medical help when it became clear that he was seriously ill. In terms of the restraint, it is claimed that PCs Glasson, Harratt and Forward held the musician in the prone position for an excessive amount of time, during which one or more of them had their weight on his upper body, even after he was handcuffed. Four of the officers – PCs Glasson, Harratt, Forward and Sgt White – are accused of breaching rules over honesty and integrity and discreditable conduct over evidence they gave to police watchdog investigators and the inquest into Mr Rigg's death. It is claimed that PCs Glasson and Forward falsely claimed Mr Rigg was moved onto his side when he was held in the prone position; and that they and PC Harratt gave evidence that he was moving his legs and spinning himself around while in the back of the police van despite knowing that this was untrue. Sgt White incorrectly claimed that he had checked on him in the police van, and changed his evidence to the inquest hearing after CCTV disproved his account. The 2012 inquest found that Mr Rigg had died from a cardiac arrest, and the jury said that officers had used an unsuitable level of force. Sgt White was cleared in 2016 of one count of perjury over his inquest evidence, and prosecutors have ruled out bringing any further criminal charges against the five officers. The misconduct hearing continues today. View On Police Oracle
  2. Sixth blow to the head deemed 'excessive' by misconduct panel. Durham Constabulary: Misconduct hearing Date - 7th August 2018 By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle 3 Comments An officer who punched a man he was detaining six times in the head despite him already being incapacitated by a Taser has been sacked for using excessive force during an arrest. A Durham Constabulary misconduct hearing was told the temporarily paralysed detainee was struck on five occasions by acting sergeant Daniel Reed and had already been “brought under control”. Then, when the 43-year-old man was handcuffed, he punched him once more. The Darlington-based officer denied misconduct at the special hearing. The independent panel found that the behaviour of PC Reed’s superior officer – now-retired Sergeant Gary O'Neill – did not amount to misconduct. Ex-Sgt O’Neill, who was present during the arrest, was accused of not properly recording or challenging what was alleged to be an excessive use of force by the PC. Guy Ladenburg, acting for Mr O'Neill, who was not present at last week’s hearing, said the former sergeant had been a Metropolitan Police Service officer who had dealt with the Brixton riots, terrorism, petrol bombs and the Marchioness disaster in his 30-year policing career. Senior police officers had provided character references talking of his integrity and honesty. He denied seeing the punches. The Tasered man, known only as witness A, was involved in a fracas when he resisted arrest in the Dalesman pub in Darlington in October, 2016. PC Reed, former Sgt O’Neill and four other officers attended the incident. Officers used pepper spray and then a Taser during their attempts to hold the suspect. The next day, the suspect complained about the incident after being left with a black eye, swollen lip and other bruises and swelling to the face. The complaint was referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct by the Durham force on November 10, 2016 with the investigation completed the following April. After examining CCTV footage of the arrest and the statements given by officers and witnesses, and after interviewing PC Reed and ex-Sgt O’Neill under caution, the case was referred to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). It authorised the charge of assault causing actual bodily harm against PC Reed. The case was heard at Sunderland magistrates' court last September where the officer was acquitted but the force subsequently agreed PC Reed had a case to answer for gross misconduct in relation to the force used during the arrest. Durham also agreed that ex-Sgt O’Neill had a case to answer for gross misconduct after allegedly witnessing the force used by PC Reed but not reporting it afterwards. IOPC regional director Miranda Biddle said that while officers deal with “very difficult, dynamic situations” and “very stressful” incidents, officers receive training and have specialist equipment to handle such encounters. She added: “The public should expect that excessive force is not used, especially in a case such as this, where the man had already been brought under control using the Taser. “Our investigation found evidence that the force used by PC Reed was excessive, and the independent panel, who also had the benefit of hearing live evidence this week, agreed that the evidence amounted to gross misconduct. “The panel decided that the sixth strike to the head was excessive because PC Reed was aware that the man was incapacitated when this blow was delivered” A Durham force spokesman confirmed that PC Reed has been dismissed from the force “with immediate effect”. View On Police Oracle
  3. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-shropshire-34095526

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