A London jury ruled that police acted lawfully when they shot and killed unarmed Mark Duggan, 29, in 2011, infuriating his family and escalating calls for justice, reports Clutch Magazine.
As previously reported by NewsOne, Duggan was shot and killed by police as he exited a cab in the North London neighborhood of Tottenham. His death led to an uprising dubbed the London Riots, with over 160 people being arrested as they protested Duggan’s death.
“On 4 August 2011 an unarmed man was shot down in Tottenham,” said the Duggan family lawyer Marcia Willis Stewart. “Today we have had what we can only call a perverse judgment.
“The jury found that he had no gun in his hand and yet he was gunned down. For us that’s an unlawful killing.”
The inquest, which began in September, was told by police that Duggan was shot twice after he produced a gun when surrounded by armed officers.
The narrative verdict was delivered at the Royal Courts of Justice in central London, after the jury had deliberated for six and a half days. They were originally sent out on 11 December 2013 and then broke for two weeks for the Christmas and new year holidays.
Duggan died “within 10 heartbeats” of a bullet striking his aorta. The jury was told police believed Duggan was a member of TMD, Tottenham Man Dem, which officers believed had links to guns used in nightclubs.
The officer who shot Duggan twice, known as V53, testified he had seen a gun in Duggan’s right hand, and believed the suspect was preparing to use it. V53 said he had acted in self-defence, fearing that his own life or the lives of his colleagues were in danger from Duggan.
The key issue for the jury was whether Duggan was holding a gun, as the marksman said, when he exited the cab and came face to face with armed police.
V53 and a second officer, W70, told the jury they had both seen Duggan holding a gun but were surprised when they could not find it later.
Residents in Duggan’s Tottenham neighborhood are angry about the police brutality culture and racism that protected the officers from prosecution, and are fearful of what could come next.
“It’s outrageous. So everything the police did leading up that shooting is wrong, and yet they still did right,” said Clasford Stirling, Duggan’s neighbor in Broadwater Farm Estate. “How are people meant to feel now? As a black person, as a black parent, I tell you now, I fear for my children on the street. Are they going to be shot by police too? How can you shoot an unarmed man? How is that right?
“The police killed him. He didn’t threaten police, he was running away and they killed him,” he said. “Think about that: you are taking someone’s life away. Why do you think everyone is so angry? That’s why Tottenham is how it is right now.”