Mark Duggan: Family call for calm after 'baffling' verdict
London MPs express surprise as jury rules that killing of Mark Duggan was lawful
THE inquest verdict of the Mark Duggan inquest has been described as "baffling" and "perplexing" by north London MPs – and greeted with anger by members of his family.
The inquest jury found that Duggan – whose death sparked riots across England in August 2011 – was unarmed when he was shot dead by firearms police but was still killed using lawful force.
Outside the court yesterday, the victim's aunt, Carole Duggan, told reporters that her nephew had been "executed". She added: "We are going to fight until we have no breath in our body for justice for Mark, for his children, for all the deaths in custody."
Today she vowed to fight the decision "through the courts", the BBC reported, and called for calm on the streets of London.
"No demonstrations, no more violence," she said. "We will have to fight this and go through the struggle peacefully to get justice."
The Independent described the result of the inquest as an "explosive verdict" and says the inquest concluded with the "jury abused and police denounced as murderers". Some Duggan supporters stormed out of the courtroom, others had to be restrained, and a door was reportedly smashed in.
Lee Jasper, an adviser on race and policing, also accused the police of "murder" and said it was now "open season on black men". The lawful killing verdict was a surprise to some even on the police side, says The Guardian.
Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Mark Rowley was drowned out as he tried to read a statement outside Scotland Yard yesterday, with furious Duggan supporters shouting insults such as "racists" and "scum".
Rowley expressed condolences to the family but defended the actions of his officers. "No officer sets out at the start of the day to run an operation that results in someone dying. So our sympathy today is with Mark Duggan's family. They have lost a loved one," he said.
"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."
The Met has since announced that firearms officers are to wear video cameras, with commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe admitting the force must "do more to build trust" with communities.
David Lammy, the MP for Tottenham, where Duggan was shot, said the jury's findings should be respected but added that aspects of the verdict were "somewhat perplexing and seemingly contradictory".
Diane Abbott, the Labour MP for neighbouring Hackney North and Stoke Newington, tweeted that she was "baffled" by the jury's finding.
— Diane Abbott MP (@HackneyAbbott) January 8, 2014
Abbott's comments were described as "irresponsible" by Henry Smith, the Conservative MP for Crawley, who said politicians needed to be careful not to "say things that inflame matters".
Meanwhile, Mayor of London Boris Johnson extended his sympathy to the Duggan family but defended the police. He told the Daily Telegraph: "On any given day highly trained Metropolitan Police firearms officers can and do face life threatening situations in which they have to make instant judgements under incredible pressure."