The Killing of Mark Duggan 108


The Guardian has an interesting piece today on Mark Duggan, whose death sparked the initial rioting. I want to try to approach this as objectively as possible.

The Guardian piece focuses, quite rightly, on the fact that the police yet again seem to have encouraged false information to come out in the immediate aftermath of the killing, particularly to the effect that Duggan fired first. This is part of a worrying pattern – the numerous lies about Jean Charles De Menezes, the false claim that demonstrators attacked police trying to resuscitate Ian Tomlinson.

This is extremely serious because it is part of the picture of the Met, like the rest of government, being much more interested in spin than fact when it comes to dealing with the media. This in turn comes back again to that incestuous web of bungs and consultancy contracts that characterises the Met/Murdoch relationship. The Duggan death shows the police instinct to lie and cover up is as fierce as ever.

But, on the death itself, we have to face the fact that Duggan was no Ian Tomlinson or Jean Charles De Menezes. They were both innocent and unarmed. Duggan was neither innocent nor unarmed. He was a hardened gangster carrying a loaded firearm. I understand the police believed he may have been actually on the way to carry out a “hit” and that is why they stooped him in a public street. I have no reason to disbelieve this.

From the Guardian report:

“Duggan’s family and friends have said that if he was carrying a loaded weapon, they did not believe he would have fired at police.”

That is a highly qualified statement. No doubt that he would carry a loaded weapon, or that he might fire it at somebody else.

Thankfully, being an armed gangster is not a capital offence in the UK and the circumstances described above do not give the police the right to carry out an execution. Obviously something went horribly wrong in the incident, and one possibility must be that the officers, or at least one officer, decided on just such an illegal execution.

But that is by no means the only possibility, and we must also note that this went so wrong that the police injured and could have killed one of their own. It seems most likely that the bullet which passed through Duggan’s bicep was the one that ended lodged in a police radio. How somebody came to open fire when one of his own colleagues was in harm’s way is another important question, and on the face of it would seem to indicate confusion.

The police have harmed their case, perhaps irretrievably in public opinion, by their lack of immediate honesty about whether Duggan fired. But that does not mean they have no case. Duggan was not an entirely innocent man. He is absolutely not, in that sense, in the category of De Menezes or Tomlinson.

I for one do actually want the police to arrest criminals carrying loaded firearms, and I realise that will always be a risky business.

Was this an execution, a botch, or a legitimate response to a leveled weapon? We do not know. The problem is, we can be pretty sure that the well-oiled protection mechanisms that always shield the police from genuine investigation, will kick in again.

The problem, of course, with exoneration of the police in appalling crimes like their execution of Jean Charles De Menezes, is that nobody will believe them when they are in fact in the right. There is a strong possibility they were in the right on this one. They have brought general disbelief upon themselves.


108 thoughts on “The Killing of Mark Duggan

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  • Louise Gallagher

    I agree with all of the above except I’ve only heard Mark Duggan carried a gun and was becoming paranoid after the death of a cousin, but I haven’t heard specifics about his actual criminal record. Either way, an initial nervous trigger finger response from one of the police would explain the shooting – the bicep and the radio suggest that.

  • Young One

    They responded to early and people were stupid to expect answers too fast unless they wanted to fail the police or make them look stupid as it turned out.

  • larry Levin

    If you want to know what police are capable of, read about the Murder of Daniel Morgan, questions have been asked in the house of commons about this case, Commissioner Sir Paul Congdon said during his appearance before a select committee in dec 1997 that he knew of 100-250 corrupt detectives in the met but they cannot be sacked because they more money and hire better QC’s than the met.a book was written about this subject called “The Untouchables”

  • mary

    ‘hardened criminal’ Where is the evidence for that?
    .
    Stirling said he had known Duggan, who was 29, all his life. “Mark Duggan as a person was a nice young man. I’m not saying he was an angel. He had his fair share of problems with the police, but he was a good father. He was the same age as my son – he was like a son to me. He was not a danger to our community.”
    .
    He said a lot of the parents who sent their children to his club were more frightened of the rising police presence than of the violence that has hit central Tottenham. “Parents are frightened of letting their child go to football, in case they come home late and are picked up by the police,” he said.
    .
    Elsewhere local residents and politicians were calling for calm and asking people to wait for the outcome of the police inquiry.
    .
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/aug/12/mark-duggan-wake-tottenham

  • craig Post author

    Mary,

    What do you think “I’m not saying he was an angel. He had his fair share of problems with the police” actually means?

  • dreoilin

    Wasn’t it said that the (converted replica) gun was found in a sock? In the vicinity of the cab? Not necessarily in the cab? And if it was in a sock, it would suggest it was never leveled at anyone. In fact, it could have been planted after the event. (Just to keep all options on the table.)

  • craig Post author

    dreoilin, Mary, lwtc247,

    Just to be absolutely plain, do you believe any criminals actually exist, or do you believe that all crime is instigated or invented by the state?

  • craig Post author

    But dreoilin, I don’t think it is an important point. I had presumed he carried the pistol wedged in his sock, rather than in a separate sock. But even if it was in a separate sock, it would most certainly be possible to fire a pistol through a sock without taking it out. But I expect what we will discover is that he carried it at his ankle and took it out from there.

  • OldMark

    I agree 100% with the sentiments expressed here, especially in the last paragraph.

    However I’m mystified as to why you have only referred to the de Menezes exucution, and the fatal assault on Ian Tomlinson, as yardsticks against which to understand Duggan’s killing.

    The police killing which Duggan’s most closely resembles is that of Harry Stanley in 1999. (I accept that, if you were posted abroad at the time,you may be unfamiliar with it).

    Harry Stanley was shot dead by armed police in Hackney in 1999. Hackney, like Tottenham, is a high crime, diverse, vibrant etc. etc inner city area of London, not too dissimilar from Tottenham, where Duggan met his fate. Harry Stanley was carrying a chair-leg in a plastic bag when he was shot, not a loaded firearm. His killing however did not precipitate protest marches which in short order descended into an orgy of rioting & looting. In fact, for days there was no ‘reaction’ at all by the ‘community’ from which he hailed.

    Perhaps some of your other seasoned commenters would like to consider why the consequences flowing from these 2 police killings were so different. One explanation certainly suggests itself, at least among those of us who sometimes entertain impure thoughts that offend the righteous.

  • larry Levin

    @Craig if yates of the yard is to be believed only one person was ever hacked by the news of the world, he missed the 3999 others.

  • larry Levin

    Perhaps they should let yates of the yard do an inquiry into these riots and he will find that no riots actually took place.

  • Luis

    @Sylv
    Of course the taxi driver hasn’t been interviewed by the police, it might blow their “narrative”.
    .
    According to one witness (sorry, don’t have the link), Duggan was tied down and on the ground before she heard four shots. This was in broad daylight, and so far we’re only getting one side of the story.
    .
    I’m sorry to say this, but anything to do with police and drug dealers will always, by necessity, be murky. See:

    UK authorities drug-trafficking and money-laundering

    http://www.theinsider.org/news/article.asp?id=0393
    .
    Much like Afghanistan, only closer to home.

  • Inspectorate

    Craig,

    It seems to me that you are placing too much faith in an organization that is blatantly corrupt: from the deaths of Menezes to Tomlinson and Smilie Culture; not forgetting the assaults on Jody McIntyre and Alfie Meadows; and the horrendous collusion between it and the Murdoch Empire; we are presented with the image of a force in total disarray. It therefore seems odd that you would place so much faith in their findings regarding Mark Duggan.

    Also, it is perfectly possible that the police did plant a weapon after the killing. Two reasons for making this point:1) they lied about him shooting a gun (and leaked it to the press anyway) and 2) there is a long history of police corruption (see collusion between RUC and Loyalist mobs in Belfast and note how many people have died in police custody!) This makes Dreolin’s remarks even more feasible.

  • larry Levin

    A talksport presenter called Mike Dicken stated on the radio that senior police control the importation and distribution of hard drugs in the UK, Mike Dicken died in an apparent car accident on a quite country road.

  • Katabasis

    Some of you write as if there are no such thing as dangerous armed career gangsters who the police might actually stop occasionally….

  • Clark

    Craig wrote: “I understand the police believed he may have been actually on the way to carry out a “hit” and that is why they stooped him in a public street”.
    .
    I’m pretty sure that read somewhere (sorry, I’ve forgotten where, it was on a link I followed, possibly from a previous thread) that Duggan had texted or ‘phoned his fiancee twice. The first time, to say he’d be home in half an hour, put the dinner on. The second, five minutes before he was shot, that he was being followed or was “cornered by the Feds” or something. If anyone can find the article, it may shed some light.

  • dreoilin

    Craig, you wrote,
    “Was this an execution, a botch, or a legitimate response to a leveled weapon? We do not know.”
    .
    You also wrote,
    “The Duggan death shows the police instinct to lie and cover up is as fierce as ever.”
    .
    And when I question where the gun was found and raise the possibility that it *could* have been planted, you ask me,
    “do you believe any criminals actually exist”
    .
    There’s no logic to that at all.
    .
    I was asking the questions that I would ask if I was a member of the IPCC.

  • mary

    dreoilin, Mary, lwtc247,

    Just to be absolutely plain, do you believe any criminals actually exist, YES or do you believe that all crime is instigated or invented by the state? NO.
    .
    answers in capitals.

  • lwtc247

    Craig.
    Personally speaking, I certainly do believe such criminals do exist. I can’t bring myself to accept that they deserve to be shot in cold blood however. Neither do I think they deserve to have evidence planted against them and lies/spin told about their last actions to justify police doing extra-judicial executions. I’d much rather violent criminals were apprehended and IF they shot first, then fair enough, the police have just cause for firing back. That’s the way it should be yes?

    Now whether MD was such a person, I cant say.

    Please beware about your sources. But just because a source tells you something, doesn’t make it true, even if you do trust them strongly; as how can you verify the reliability of your sources’ source? Sources also have their own political slants on things, and I’ll be astounded if one or more of your sources weren’t deliberately feeding you disinformation. I’m sure you get the point.

  • fast

    luis – “I’m sorry to say this, but anything to do with police and drug dealers will always, by necessity, be murky”
    back in the ’70s I knew someone who did sound for the met disco once a year. he said there was a room not everyone could go in with confiscated gear (drugs) laid out for police to help themselves.

  • Katabasis

    Lwtc –
    “Personally speaking, I certainly do believe such criminals do exist. I can’t bring myself to accept that they deserve to be shot in cold blood however.”

    Wait until one of them terrorises you and yours and see how you feel then.

  • cuthulan

    Not Craigs finest piece, but he is trying to play devils advocate I think…

    “I understand the police believed he may have been actually on the way to carry out a “hit” and that is why they stooped him in a public street. I have no reason to disbelieve this.”
    On the other hand I have NO REASONS to believe this!
    The PEACEFUL protest about his shooting led to an unarmed 16 year old being beaten by 15 police. The police blame criminal youths for the riots.

    “Duggan’s family and friends have said that if he was carrying a loaded weapon, they did not believe he would have fired at police.”
    There is still NO PROOF he was armed! Gangster? What proof? Maybe he was a “pot” salesman, something legal in a lot of liberal civilsed countries. therefore a criminal and gangster only in the eyes of the state! Alcohol salesmen are illegal is some “civilsed” countries!

    ” It seems most likely that the bullet which passed through Duggan’s bicep was the one that ended lodged in a police radio.”
    I suppose you believe in the “magic bullet” explaination for JFK as well!

    “There is a strong possibility they were in the right on this one”
    I disagree ,it looks more like the usual Met police covering up thier criminal actions, and thus making thier colleagues aiders and abettors. For the Ian Tomlinson and Charles de Mandeze case to have gone so far on lies takes a POLICE CULTURE OF CRIMINALITY. Not a few bad apples!

    The police force is just as corrupt as the government and the media.
    It was the police , government and media and thier conspiracy and collusions that they where all facing serious criminal trails LAST WEEK!
    Though the MSM went on about celebraties phones!!
    THIS WEEK the police are getting shoot-to-kill orders ,when it was a police shooting and beating that started the riots!!
    Cameron is calling himself the head of “the new MORAL army”?!?!?!?and blaming immigrants the youth and anarchists!! A Divide and Rule policy!!
    And the corrupt MSM is fanning the flames of social unrest ,blaming ,immigrants ,youths and anarchists …the same people the government and police are blaming!
    Coincidence?
    It all seems very convenient for the corrupt establishment!!

  • Akheloios

    What the Police have been doing isn’t spin. Spin is a politician, on being given news of a 50% rise in truancy, saying that the government have made great strides in lowering class sizes. Technically true, but not a fair representation of the situation.

    What the Police are doing is lying to protect one of their own from prosectution for murder, and the higher ranks from a charge of incompetancy.

    The Duggan case might be different from the Tomlinson/de Menezes cases in that Duggan seems to have been engaged in some kind of criminal endeavor where Tomlinson/de Menezes were killed whilst doing nothing wrong. That doesn’t make the Police any less guilty of lying about the Duggan case.

  • mark_golding

    Manual of Guidance on the Management, Command and Deployment of Armed Officers, Second Edition is worth a read:
    .
    http://www.npia.police.uk/en/docs/Firearms_06.08.10_locked.pdf
    .
    The latest version of this manual and all relevant updates are published on: www(dot)polka(dot)pnn(dot)police(dot)uk yet the site does not exist!!
    .
    Notice the manual is littered with proportional and reasonable force. Read the ECHR articles 2 and 3.
    .
    I am no lawyer but believe a strong case can be built against police action using their own manual!

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