Mark Duggan: jury says killing by police was 'lawful'

Jan 8, 2014

Killing of 29 year-old whose death sparked London riots was lawful even though he wasn't holding gun when shot

MARK DUGGAN, the man whose death sparked the London riots, was lawfully killed by police even though he was not holding a gun when he was shot, a jury has concluded.

The verdict sparked angry scenes at London's Royal Courts of Justice this afternoon as members of Duggan's family shouted abuse at jurors. One man left the court saying: "A black life ain't worth nothing," the BBC reports.

After hearing months of evidence about the August 2011 shooting, the jury concluded by eight to two that the 29-year-old's killing was lawful. The two dissenting jurors gave an open verdict.

But the jury found by the same margin that when Duggan was shot he was not holding a gun. Jurors concluded that Duggan had a gun in the minicab in which he was travelling, but he threw it away before police pulled the vehicle over.

Duggan was hit by two shots fired in quick succession. The first struck him in one of his biceps and the second went through his chest, killing the father-of-four. The officer who shot him claimed he opened fire in self-defence when he saw Duggan point a gun at him.

A pistol, wrapped in a dark sock, was later recovered between 10ft and 20ft away in a grass area behind a wall.

There were chaotic scenes in the Royal Courts of Justice as the jury's conclusion was read out. Duggan's brother, Marlon, shouted at the jurors as they hurried out and his mother, Pamela, collapsed.

Duggan's brother shouted: "F--- them!" as the jurors left the court, while other supporters yelled: "Murderers!"

The jury, which began hearing evidence in September, was told to consider several questions, including whether Duggan had a gun, whether a gun was in his hand when he was shot and how a gun came to end up in a grassy area near where he was shot.

These are their conclusions:

  • The jury unanimously found that the Metropolitan Police Service and Serious Organised Crime Agency did not do enough to gather and react to intelligence about the possibility of Duggan collecting a gun.
  • The jury unanimously agreed that the stop was conducted in a location and in a way so as to minimise recourse to lethal force.
  • The jury unanimously agreed  that Duggan had the gun with him in the taxi immediately before the stop.
  • A majority of 9-1 jurors concluded that Duggan threw the gun into the grass area where it was later found.
  • The jury found by an 8-2 majority that when Duggan received the fatal shot, he did not have the gun in his hand.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is also investigating the shooting, issued a statement after the jury's conclusion was announced. It said: “We note the inquest jury's determination and findings and we are considering them as a matter of urgency in relation to our ongoing investigation. A full statement will follow.”

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Putting an animal out its misery is a mercy killing.

An open verdict - or misadventure - might have been better - given how contradictory the findings of the jury are. The Met Commissioner who spoke outside the court, and did the TV interviews afterwards, did his force no favours, evading direct questions about shooting an unarmed man, sticking doggedly to his message that the jury had found the police had acted lawfully. An inquest should not apportion blame or attempt to grant exoneration. It's function is to determine the facts, in so far as it is possible. Clearing police officers - or anyone else - of wrongdoing is beyond their powers

Why the complaining that he has been shot. He chose to carry a firearm; for what purpose (that would be to defend himself obviously!). So he threw it out of the window, did the police know this or did they still believe he had the weapon? I for one am perfectly happy that this person is gone, I wouldn't want to meet him. Most of us don't enhance our society but we don't necessarily detract from it either. It is unlikely I will ever be shot by the police because I don't carry a firearm, don't associate with people that do and don't frequent places where it might be expected. If I did, my expectations would be different.

Burning and looting shops puts the slaves of Capitalism out of their misery too.

Previously the police have shot a man who was carrying a table leg, a man who had a shotgun (in his own house) and could not actually injure anyone but himself - and a Brazilian electrician who was UNARMED and not even acting suspiciously - so what are your excuses for all those murders?

Were they 'asking for it' too?

WELL SAID Pat! But, I suspect, that is only a part of the story. Most "right thinking" individuals would thoroughly agree with your sentiments - however, the inquest was not about Mark Duggan, per se - it was about the killing, lawful or otherwise, of this odious individual.

An open verdict would, perhaps, have been more appropriate, give the fact that the jury agreed, 8 - 2, that Duggan was, effectively, unarmed when he was actually shot; so, not a unanimous verdict on that particular point.

"Unlawful killing" would have been to stretch a point too far - in the extreme heat of the moment it would have been very risky for the police marksman to have given Duggan the benefit of the doubt.

In summary - we are all very well off without this piece of pond life - his family amply illustrate that sentiment, IMHO.