When the UK police gunned down Mark Duggan in North London’s Tottenham during August of 2011, there were widespread protests, riots and looting in the British capital. The family of the victim was outraged as was the public, who believed that the 29-year-old was ‘executed’.
A London High Court inquest jury’s decision that the victim was ‘lawfully’ killed by the police rubbed further salt into the still fresh wounds of the family.
They hurled abuse and smashed furniture inside the court when the verdict was announced. Some even tried to break the coroner’s door down, while others chanted “No justice, no peace” and “F*** the police” as they swarmed menacingly around Metropolitan Police’s Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley.
He was having a difficult time being heard over the protesters’ cries of “scum” and “murderers”, but finally managed to get a word in.
“No officer sets out at the start of the day to run an operation that results in someone dying,” the assistant commissioner stressed.
With this incident, many in Britain have lost faith in the police and the justice system. The Met Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-How, acknowledged that the force must “do more to build trust.”
In an attempt to become “more open” with their operations, Hogan-How said that armed police would wear video cameras to record their activity.
However, this is probably little consolation for the family and friends of the victim.
“‘Whoever has a child, whatever colour, whatever age, take care of them because this is not going to stop. Lock up your children,” said Duggan’s mother, Pamela.
Labour MP Diane Abbott was equally incensed and said the jury’s conclusion was baffling.
Meanwhile, another MP from Tottenham, David Lammy, said the reputation of the Met Police “has not emerged unscathed”.
“The jury found that a number of key errors were made by officers in the hours leading up to the shooting.”
Although the court may have found that the police killed Duggan lawfully, skeptics fear the verdict might be a way to cover-up a grave error on the part of the law enforcers.