London ,United Kingdom
By Kelvin Mupungu
In a shocking decision jury in London have declared the shooting dead of unarmed Mark Duggan by New Scotland Yard -LEGAL.
Do we have circumstances in which the state is allowed to take away life then in UK? Our legal understanding is that Death Sentence is banned in EU.
Mark Duggan was shot and killed by armed police in London on 4th August 2011.Circumstances surrounding his killing sparked the “London Riots”.
Initially police claimed that Duggan was armed and was about to fire at them.That claim later changed as evidence failed to prove that.
Today the jury admitted that Mark Duggan was unarmed but it was ok for police to kill him. What a shocking decision considering that Mark Duggan was in a taxi. How was he posing any danger to police shall remain a mystery.
Is this another case of someone suspected to pose danger to public on the basis of colour of his skin.On December 12 the lead investigator for the police watchdog inquiry into the fatal shooting tells a pre-inquest hearing that a ‘mistake’ was made in releasing information that Mr Duggan had fired at officers first.
Poor Mark Duggan, he was born with a skin colour that stereotypically classified him as violent.
Without condoning the fact that Mark Duggan had purchased a gun that day, how can a jury decide that it was legal for police to kill an unarmed man? Eyewitnesses confirmed that Duggan was shot as he disembarked from the taxi with his hands raised up, surrendering. It is also appreciated that Police have difficult decisions to make in split seconds.
It is the decision by the jury which is questionable. From look of things New Scotland Yard was even prepared for an “unlawful” killing verdict. The marksman who killed Duggan confessed that he mistook Duggan’s mobile phone for a gun.
What precedent does the jury’s decision make?
The fallout from the shooting of the father-of-four in Tottenham, north London, sparked mass rioting and looting across the capital. Scotland Yard have been placed on a ‘heightened state of readiness’ for fresh disorder tonight following the jury’s decision. Police officers told the inquest that they saw Duggan holding a firearm in the split second before he was shot dead. However, that was contradicted by eyewitnesses who said that he was clutching a mobile phone and appeared to be surrendering.
A discarded firearm was found six metres away from the spot where the 29-year-old died in August 2011. The jury ruled that he had thrown away the firearm in the seconds before a sole police marksman opened fire. The inquest into Mr Duggan’s death began in September and, before the jurors retired last month, Judge Keith Cutler told them to reach their decisions ‘calmly and coolly on the evidence’ as he began summing up the case.
He directed the panel of 10 that they may reach conclusions and findings on which at least eight of them are agreed. Judge Cutler told the jury it may reach one of three possible conclusions: that the 29-year-old was killed unlawfully, or killed lawfully, or an open conclusion.
The judge said the jury should reach its decisions ‘on the evidence and the evidence alone’. Police shooting: Mark Duggan is treated by paramedics moments after being shot by police marksmen after he was apparently seen holding a gun Killed by marksmen: Police footage of the aftermath of the shooting of Mark Duggan who was killed after getting out of a taxi in Tottenham, north London. Police said he was holding a gun, while other eyewitnesses said he was raising a mobile phone
Evidence: Photograph shows the bullet-holed jacket worn by Mark Duggan on the night he was shot
Weapon: A firearm, shown to the inquest, which was found six metres away from the spot where Mark Duggan was killed
Image shows a dummy in similar jacket to the one worn by Mark Duggan on the night he was shot and the entry points of the bullets A photograph of the taxi which Mark Duggan was travelling in on the night he was shot in Tottenham. The jury were told they must decide whether the gun was planted on him by police
‘Bullying trigger happy police killed my son’: Mark Duggan’s mother attacks Scotland Yard and says she will never call officers for help again
The mother of Mark Duggan, who is fighting cancer for a second time, has branded Scotland Yard ‘bullies’ and said she will never again trust the police. Pam Duggan, 55, worries that her surviving son Marlon could be targeted by officers who she believes are ‘trigger happy’. She said: ‘My son was killed by police who we are supposed to trust and call when we need help. When I need help now, I can’t call anyone, because I’m not calling them. ‘I hope to God I don’t have to need them, because every time I see a police car my heart beats and I think, could that be the one who killed my son? ‘My other son goes out and I’m frightened when he doesn’t come back because I’m thinking they might start with him for no reason. I used to trust the police, and I don’t blame all of them, but these ones that are coming out now are trigger happy. Before they think, they shoot you. It’s not right. Not just for me, for other people’s children out there.’
The mother of two has lived in Tottenham, north London, for decades, including 26 years on the Broadwater Farm estate, which saw riots in the 1980s during which Pc Keith Blakelock was murdered. Mrs Duggan said she never had any bad experiences until the death of her son, and cannot understand why the marksman, known only as V53, shot him. When asked what she thinks of the Metropolitan Police, she said: ‘I think they’re bullies. 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. ‘I can’t understand how my son would have been feeling that day. He would have been scared to death.
Mark Duggan’s mother said, ‘I don’t know how you can just come out of your station and just pull that trigger twice. That’s my son, that’s a life, that’s left six children behind.’ Mr Duggan’s family are planning to sue Scotland Yard over his death. His mother blames the force for robbing her of two loved ones – Mark and his father Bruno Hall, who died from cancer 11 months after the shooting. Mrs Duggan herself has also seen her cancer return as the family endured the three-month inquest. ‘I’m fighting cancer again so I’ve not been able to go to court,’ she said. ‘I had cancer, and then it went, I had a big operation and it went. When I went back for my check-up they found another lump in my neck.’ She believes that stress led Mr Hall to lose his fight with the illness. ‘When Mark died, he couldn’t believe it. He said “no, not my son”. He kept looking at the picture of Mark on the wall. ‘In the end he was going for tests and they said “the cancer’s gone too far now”. It was the stress of Mark, because he kept saying “all I want is justice for my son”. ‘Really what they’ve done is taken two people away that I loved dearly, they killed Mark and you might say they killed his dad. In two years I had to bury two people.’ On the day that Mark was shot in 2011, at first she could not accept the news that her son had died. His then-girlfriend came to her house to ask for his birth certificate, so that she could prove to police that she knew him. Mrs Duggan explained: ‘I said “I don’t believe it”, because no police came to my house. ‘Then it came on the news that a 29-year-old Asian man had been shot. I was thinking it must be a mistake, because Mark is mixed-race he’s not Asian. I wouldn’t believe it. ‘In the end they had to get the doctor out because I couldn’t take it. The doctor put me on valium, but I still couldn’t cope with Mark’s death. I kept saying ‘Mark’s going to come here soon’, and I thought I was losing my mind. ‘Eventually when it did come to life was when Marlon went to see Mark in the chapel of rest, and he said: “It is Mark, Mum”. And that’s when I knew it was true.’ Mrs Duggan said her grandchildren and sister Carole have kept her going in the family’s fight to get to the truth, as well as memories of Mark and a few close friends.
His family do not accept the evidence given by two police officers to the inquest – V53 and a colleague, W70 – that Mr Duggan had a gun in his hand when he was shot. ‘I don’t think he had a gun at any time at all,’ Mrs Duggan said: ‘Mark wasn’t a silly man, he grew up in Tottenham. He wasn’t a stupid man, he was a peaceful man. ‘His kids idolise him, they keep saying, “Where’s my daddy? What happened to my daddy?” ‘He’d rather sit at home playing with his children than go out on the street. That’s how he was.’ She believes police planted the gun behind railings near the scene. ‘I think it was put there or thrown there.’ Mrs Duggan wants the officer who shot her son to face prosecution. She said: ‘I think he needs to be taught a lesson really. You’re a human being as well as my son, you killed a man in cold blood. My son didn’t do anything to you. ‘I think he should go properly and get into trouble like a normal person would. If you do something wrong they take you, put you inside, take you to court, don’t they? They didn’t give my son that chance, they killed him.’ Mrs Duggan said she wants her son to be remembered as a man who ‘loved his children, loved his family, loved life’, and described him as ‘a peacemaker’. She added: ‘I just wish I could have him back but I can’t.’
Armed police will be given body-worn video cameras in an effort to restore public trust
Armed police are to be given body-worn video cameras to try and restore public trust following the disputed evidence surrounding the shooting of gangster Mark Duggan. Scotland Yard warned fighting gun crime will always carry the risk that innocent people could be shot and killed. Senior officers said that the public needed to be aware of the risks that come with police efforts to stamp out gun crime.
Equipping officers with video cameras would help cut out ‘opinions and conjecture’ similar to those that have plagued the Duggan investigation and inquiry since he was shot dead and sparking widespread rioting and looting across London. The central question raised by the disputed evidence was whether Duggan, a known drug dealer and member of the notorious Tottenham Mandem, was armed as he emerged from a taxi before being shot. Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said: ‘Is it possible to rule out a situation where it turns out the person wasn’t holding a lethal weapon? No it’s not.’ He explained that that issues from imitation firearms to poor lighting mean mistakes are inevitable. He said: ‘You can’t avoid that, but the officer by law has to justify that they reasonably believed that there was such imminent risk of lethal force being used against them or some other person that they had no choice but to pull the trigger. ‘It’s a very high bar.’
He added there was unease among police ranks that the public are ill informed of how armed police operations work to keep them safe – and the undeniable risks that come with police carrying guns. He said: ‘I don’t think the public awareness is anywhere near what it needs to be. ‘Our tactics that we use in the less visible parts of policing, the less frequent parts of policing – so taking on gun crime – most people have no experience of.
‘If it’s armed robbers or gang members, the public have no experience of the police response and tactics and we would like to improve that.’ He stressed that armed units were a highly trained element of a largely unarmed police force, which are deployed in limited circumstances to minimise risk to the public. By making armed officers undergo strenuous training it helps them make the split-second decisions to shoot or not in a way that best protects themselves and the public. He said: ‘We are one of the few jurisdictions in the world where we don’t have a routinely armed police force.
‘That enables us to have amongst the highest-trained firearms officers in the world. ‘Part of that is improving that ability, so that immensely precious situation when you are going into a situation and somebody may have a weapon, how can you be as good as possible at making the right decisions. ‘They face a situation and then they are making split-second decision, I think its important that wen we look back at split-second decisions we should set high standards in terms of our expectations and the highest levels of scrutiny. ‘As long as that scrutiny stays on the right side of fair and tough scrutiny and doesn’t become unreasonable hindsight when you get the benefit of months or years of thinking of analysis then that scrutiny is entirely fair.
‘ The decision to kit armed police with the type of recording equipment that would allow their actions to be scrutinised came after conflicting evidence was heard during the inquest. Firearm officers said they believed Duggan was drawing a gun to point at them when they opened fire. However eyewitnesses suggested Duggan had a mobile phone in his hand when he was shot and may had been surrendering. The availability of video evidence from the killing of soldier Lee Rigby showed how useful film can be, while catching events on camera could help ‘maintain people’s confidence’ in the police. AC Rowley said: ‘We’ve reflected on other opportunities to try and provide greater transparency around firearms operations. ‘It does strike us that there are great benefits to having these incidents on video. ‘You look at the Lee Rigby case and everyone knows what happened. ‘Then we don’t need all these different opinions and conjecture about what did or didn’t happen. ‘If you have it on video then it’s much easier to get to the facts and resolve matters much more successfully.’ He revealed the plans at a pre-verdict briefing with the Met’s armed policing head, Commander Neil Basu.
Few police operations have sparked the sort of public reaction which followed the death of Mark Duggan. Here is the chain of events that resulted after the shooting.
August 12 – The police watchdog admits it may have wrongly led journalists to believe that police shooting victim Mr Duggan fired at officers before he was killed.