London unrest as Mark Duggan shooting by police found 'lawful'

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Two and a half years after the shooting of Mark Duggan by the police sparked the notorious riots of 2011, an inquest jury returned a verdict of ‘lawful killing

Despite the jury accepting that Duggan had not been carrying a gun, and despite their criticism of police intelligence procedures and the handling of the incident, they found that the marksman’s decision to shoot was justifiable. The verdict came as a surprise to many police officers who had been preparing themselves for a damning indictment.

With tensions running high and with police very conscious of the potential for rioting to break back out, Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe offered to meet the family, though the victim’s aunt, Carole Duggan has stated that the family are currently unwilling to do so.

Pam Duggan, Mark's mother, said she did not accept the verdict. "They know that they have killed my son. I'm going to fight this for as long as I live. I know he was not capable of doing the things that they are saying. Anyone that has got a child, take care of them. Lock up your children. They are already harassing my younger son now."

Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley’s statement outside the court was shouted down with cries of ‘scum, but he managed to say

"It is significant, then, that a jury of Londoners, who have seen and heard all the evidence, have today concluded that not only was the operation to stop Mark Duggan in the taxi conducted in a way which minimised to the greatest extent possible recourse to lethal force, but that Mark Duggan had a gun, and also that our officer had an honest and reasonable belief that Mark Duggan still had the gun when he shot him."

Tottenham MP David Lammy posed a series of questions after the verdict

“Why was the officer who fired the fatal shot the only witness who says he saw Mark Duggan holding a gun? What led the jury to conclude that the police could and should have gathered more intelligence before stopping the car Duggan was travelling in? Why was that car – a crucial piece of evidence – moved by police officers in the hours after the shooting? Why was there no officer in charge of the crime scene for more than 48 hours?”

Perhaps the only positive to come out of this tragic incident is the fact that the Met are fitting all firearms officers with cameras from April in a move that will hopefully reduce the uncertainties around the use of firearms by the police.

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