Fury over verdict of ‘lawful shooting’ by police

0
Have your say

THE family of a man whose shooting by police triggered protests which sparked the 2011 riots reacted with fury as an inquest jury found his death at the hands of a marksman was lawful, despite him being unarmed when shot.

Dramatic scenes erupted at the Royal Courts of Justice as the jury of seven women and three men gave their conclusions yesterday, triggering emotional outbursts from family and friends who branded police “murderers” and hurled abuse.

The tensions led to a beefed-up police presence across London last night in a bid to avoid a repeat of the scenes of unrest during the immediate aftermath of the shooting.

Mr Duggan’s brother Marlon had shouted after the jurors as they left court and angry supporters spilled from the courtroom.

His sibling was gunned down when police stopped the taxi in which he was travelling in Tottenham, north London, in August 2011.

At the culmination of the four-month inquest, the jury found although the 29-year-old had a gun in the minicab, he most likely threw it onto a nearby verge as soon as the car came to a stop.

Mr Duggan was being followed by officers who believed he planned to pick up a gun from another man, Kevin Hutchinson-Foster, and then move on to Broadwater Farm, also in Tottenham. Hutchinson-Foster has since been found guilty of supplying a gun to Mr Duggan.

The jury concluded police had not done enough to gather and react to intelligence about the possibility of Mr Duggan collecting the gun. But they found the car had been stopped in a location and in a way that “minimised to the greatest extent possible recourse to lethal force”.

Their decision sparked angry scenes outside the court building, where Mr Duggan’s family claimed he was “executed” and branded the judgment “perverse”.

Mr Duggan’s aunt Carole Duggan said: “The majority of the people in this country know that Mark was executed. We are going to fight until we have no breath left in our body for Mark and his children.”

His brother Shaun Hall said: “We came for justice today, we don’t feel we are leaving with justice.”

Police watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it was looking at new evidence that had emerged from the inquest, and the Duggan family are now considering whether to try to get the inquest conclusion judicially reviewed.

Their solicitor Marcia Willis-Stewart said: “On August 4, 2011 an unarmed man was shot down in Tottenham. Today we have had what we can only call a perverse judgment.

“The jury found that he had no gun in his hand and yet he was gunned down. For us that’s an unlawful killing.”

Temperatures boiled over as uniformed Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley made a statement. The angry crowd shouted “murderer” and “murdering scum”, jostling journalists.

As security staff tried to disperse the crowd and shield the officer, chants of “liars, racists, murderers, scum” rang out.

In the statement issued through Scotland Yard later, Mr Rowley said: “No officer sets out at the start of the day to run an operation that results in someone dying. So our sympathy today is with Mark Duggan’s family. They have lost a loved one.

“But the task our officers face in making split-second decisions when confronting armed criminals means there is a risk – a very small risk – that this will happen.”