‘Cover-up’ claim over shooting that led to first riot

A man appears to check his phone as he walks past a burning car in Hackney, east London, last night.
A man appears to check his phone as he walks past a burning car in Hackney, east London, last night.
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There appeared to have been a cover-up over the shooting of Mark Duggan, which sparked a rioting spree in London, his fiancée said last night.

As a third night of rioting hit the capital – and for the first time appeared to be spreading to other areas in the country – Semone Wilson insisted her fiancé was “not a gangster” and expressed disappointment with the police handling of the incident.

But she added the riots, which last night spread to further suburbs of London with additional unrest in Birmingham, had “got out of hand” and were “not needed at all”.

Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stephen Kavanagh, apologised to the Duggan family for failing to “manage their needs more effectively” and also said the Met planned to put a third more officers on the ground last night compared with Sunday.

Despite the increased deployment, however, police appeared to be losing control of capital’s streets last night with hundreds of youths rioting in a number of boroughs across the city, including Lewisham, Peckham, Hackney and Clapham. West Midlands Police also reported disturbances in Birmingham city centre with looting and shops smashed.

Ms Wilson said: “Innocent people are getting hurt and children have got no homes.

“It’s got out of hand. It’s not connected to this any more. This is out of control.”

Referring to the shooting of Mr Duggan, 29, on Thursday, she went on: “Something went wrong and to me it seems like they’re trying to cover it up because surely they should have some answers by now.

“I’ve got so many questions that I’ve asked them and they’ve given me nothing.

“Was he dragged out of the cab? If he had a gun in his hand, why didn’t they shoot his hand to disarm him, why did they shoot him in the chest?

“They’ve confirmed to me it was two shots from the police officer and one hit Mark in the chest.

“If he was under surveillance, then that’s one answer they should give me – why was he under surveillance? Just let me know that. Give me something... they’re not giving me nothing, nothing.”

Ms Wilson said she was disappointed the police did not contact Mr Duggan’s parents about his death.

The 29-year-old father of four died after police opened fire in Ferry Lane, Tottenham, where they had stopped the minicab he was in to carry out an arrest as part of a pre-planned operation.

Scotland Yard said that lessons need to be learned by police and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

Mr Kavanagh said: “I want to apologise to the Duggan family because I think both the Independent Police Complaints Commission and the Metropolitan Police could have managed that family’s needs more effectively.”

He differentiated between the violence by looters and rioters and the vigil in Tottenham for Mr Duggan.

On Saturday about 120 people marched peacefully from the local area of Broadwater Farm to Tottenham police station, demanding “justice” for Mr Duggan’s family.

Later that night the situation descended into violence, which has since spread across the capital. Enfield was the scene of rioting and looting on Sunday night, with other areas including Brixton and Walthamstow also targeted.

Last night, more serious outbreaks of violence broke out in Hackney, Peckham and Lewisham in London with Birmingham city centre also targeted.

Mr Kavanagh said: “When you have a demonstration, a vigil following the death of somebody, that is the public’s right to express their concerns and rightly ask questions of organisations like the IPCC and Metropolitan Police.

“Of course, there are always going to be tensions between police but actually the local advisory groups worked through those.

“But what we are seeing tonight is organised violence. These people don’t represent communities, they are criminals looking for an opportunity.”

Meanwhile ballistic test results after the shooting of Mr Duggan could be published today.

The police watchdog is working with forensic officers amid speculation that a bullet found lodged in a police radio was force issue.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has so far refused to comment on reports in The Guardian that initial tests suggest the bullet belonged to Scotland Yard. If the reports are correct, it may put initial reports that police were involved in an exchange of fire with Mr Duggan into doubt.

Countdown to crisis

Thursday 6.15pm – Minicab passenger Mark Duggan, 29, is shot dead during a covert police operation in Ferry Lane, Tottenham.

Saturday 5pm – About 300 people gather peacefully outside Tottenham police station, saying they want “justice” for Mr Duggan and his family.

Saturday 8.20pm – Trouble flares after bottles are thrown at patrol cars near the station. Later, a double-decker bus is burnt out. Tottenham shops are looted and set alight. Twenty-six police are hurt.

Sunday 6.30pm – Two hours after a police investigation into the riots is announced, trouble begins in Enfield. Disturbances are later reported in Brixton, Walthamstow and Oxford Circus.