Tuesday 1 September 2015

Fatal shooting by police that sparked London riots was lawful, inquest finds

Tom Rowley, Edward Malnick and agencies

Published 09/01/2014 | 02:30

A riot police officer stands in front of a burning car during riots in Clarence Road, Hackney
A riot police officer stands in front of a burning car during riots in Clarence Road, Hackney
Mark Rowley after the inquest

Mark Duggan, the 29-year-old whose fatal shooting by the Metropolitan Police sparked the 2011 London riots, was killed lawfully, an inquest has concluded.

Jurors delivered their conclusions to a coroner after four months of evidence and deliberation at the High Court in London. They reached their conclusion by a majority of eight to two.

The jury ruled that Mr Duggan had a gun in the taxi in which he was travelling in Tottenham, north London, in August 2011, before it was stopped by police. By a majority of nine to one, they ruled that it was more likely than not that he had thrown it on to a grassy area near the scene as soon as the car was stopped.

Mr Duggan was shot after police marksmen stopped the taxi. Rioting broke out across London and in several English cities days later. The inquest into his death began in September.

Speaking on the steps of the court, Mr Duggan's aunt, Carole Duggan, claimed Mr Duggan had been "executed". She said the family would fight "until we have no breath left in our bodies". His brother, Shaun Hall, said: "We came for justice today -- we don't feel we are leaving with justice."

Marcia Willis Stewart, the family's lawyer, called the jury's conclusions a "perverse judgment". She said the family were in a state of shock. "For us, that is an unlawful killing."

Mr Duggan's family reacted angrily as the jury read out its conclusions. Supporters shouted: "Murderers."

Mark Rowley, a Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner, struggled to make himself heard as he delivered a statement on behalf of the force in front of the High Court.

"No officer sets out at the start of the day to run an operation that results in someone dying," he said. "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. Armed criminals have shot dead more than 50 people in London in the last three-and-a-half years. We send out well-trained, professional armed officers thousands of times a year to combat this threat, only firing shots once or twice."

REVIEWED

The family are considering whether to apply for the conclusions to be judicially reviewed, according to Deborah Coles from the charity Inquest.

"The family are going to consider the next steps and are going to consider whether they will judicially review the decision," she said.

David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, said the events surrounding Mr Duggan's death still required "further clarification". He said: "There are fundamental and lingering issues that the Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation -- now re-opened -- must attempt to clarify."

Speaking before the verdict, Mr Duggan's mother Pamela labelled Scotland Yard "bullies" and said she would not trust the police again.

"I think they're bullies," she said. "What do you get out of shooting a bullet in my son twice? If he's done something wrong, handcuff him and take him and put him in a cell." (© BBC News/ Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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