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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  • macky

    “You are going to look very foolish.”

    Maybe he will, but what isn’t a maybe, Mr Murray, is that by posting the following comments;

    “If the odd looter gets killed by the police by accident by a baton round, I would view that as very sad but something they brought upon themselves”

    “the failure of the ideologically blinkered ever to believe anybody is a criminal is absolutely sickening. “

    “so blinded by ideology as to be demented.”

    “I am reminded why I have never accepted the term left-wing to cover my thinking. It is because many of those who do march under that banner are ever ready to deny truth for the sake of ideology.”

    You have succeeded in coming across as having a very worrying nervous breakdown, a la Christopher Hitchens over 9/11, or George Monbiot over Nuclear Power (following Fukushima), Juan Cole over Libya, etc; so shall we now also expect that your moral compass, not to mention your normally rational common-sense will undergo a polar reversal ?

    It seems that the recent riots have triggered into overdrive your innate loathing of what you termed the “contemptible urban sub-culture driven by a detestation of education and an avid materialism”, to such an extent that it has overridden & defiled your self-defined “Human Rights Activist” persona; it may come as a surprise to you, that many of whom you accuse of being blinkered & demented, also may share your detestation for a certain urban sub-culture, but at the same time recognised that the Rioters are also Humans, and as such also have Rights, like the right not to be executed for stealing a pair of trainers; In the Middle Ages, people were executed for stealing bread etc, so as it really seems that you want us to go back to the barbaric Medieval Ages, here’s a little rhyme that just seems so appropriate;

    They hang the man and flog the woman
    That steals the goose from off the common.
    But let the greater villain loose
    That steals the common from the goose.

  • YugoStiglitz

    “You have succeeded in coming across as having a very worrying nervous breakdown, a la Christopher Hitchens over 9/11”

    Macky, in a strong field, that is quite a fantasy.

  • mark_golding

    You sense an underlying current Mary, which of course there is. A smokescreen for what? The answer is easy of course, communication the message is hard.

  • mark_golding

    People are worried folks. OK – Brits are resilient and the move to action ‘overdrive’takes time, yet the shift is moving. A Facebook group given advice on self-sufficiency in case of economic crash has gone from 50 to nearly 500 members in two days. I have received at least 700 post emails from this group over 24hrs.

  • Suhyal Saadi

    Macky, as far as one is aware, Craig is not having a “nervous breakdown”. I must emphasise that point. He just has views and like the rest of us, is trying to ascertain the truth from the currently limited information available.
    .
    Duncan, De Quincey’s Ghost, yes, exactly. Good points.
    .
    I’m not sure why ‘the Left’ constantly comes in for such bashing hereabouts. ‘Marxist!’ is hurled as insult (not by Craig, I hasten to add) at anyone who expresses a view to the left of Attila the Hun on almost any matter.
    .
    I don’t think anyone here is suggesting that there are no gangsters or that the state commits all crimes. I know what you mean, Craig, about knee-jerk responses; these responses irritate me too. But perhaps such responses are, as you suggest, because the police have lied so many times, so it’s hard to believe them in relation to such dynamics even if they did tell the truth. And in this case, it seems clear that what you call their spin machine – systemic lying apparatus – almost automatically came into operation. If that is the case, then something major must be done to address it.
    .

    Larry Levin’s fascinating point about corruption in the Met is poignant. How many officers are involved in the drug trade, and might want to shut someone up for reasons unconnected with law enforcement? Are we talking a ‘Colombia’ effect? I think these questions need to be asked. After all, if some officers are willing to take bribes from News International, once that particular Rubicon has been crossed, why wouldn’t they take payments from drug overlords as well? This needs to be looked into in a systemic manner, just as it was in the 1970s, when many detectives, eg. in the vice squad and the drug squad, were found to be corrupt; some were jailed as a result.
    .

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Organised crime also has close links with the intelligence and security services. Look at Arthur Thompson Senior in Glasgow, for example He allegedly (according to his biographer, Reg MacKay) was spying for MI5 wrt Northern Ireland arms trading and he allegedly continued to shipping arms – with MI5’s full knowledge – to the Unionist Paramilitaries in Northern Ireland where the arms where the arms were sued to kill Catholic citizens – mainly civilians – of the United Kingdom. Sometimes these murders – and those engineered by the British Army through their own paramilitary Force Research Unit, then often would be blamed on the IRA. Special Branch – part of the police – also were intimately involved with all of this in Northern Ireland.
    .
    Usual prefixes, http:// but no www reqd.
    .
    britisharmykillings.org.uk/product/422-21/Brigadier-Gordon-Kerr
    .
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Force_Research_Unit
    .
    I write about this here, simply to illustrate the depth of systemic evil to which the state has already descended domestically and internationally and to illustrate some of the links b/w the two theatres of operation.
    .
    In view of all this, I think we are right to have a high index of suspicion. It may not be as simple as ‘botched operation versus extra-judicial execution’ – important as that is. It is what may lie beneath that should concern us.

  • OldMark

    Robert Baggott first writes, correctly-

    ‘What exactly! do we know about Mark Duggan?’

    As Courtenay Barrett also correctly states, there are many things about him we don’t yet know conclusively, including-

    1. His sources of income
    2. His police record, if any
    3. Whether he even co-habited with the mother of most of his children (we know that, in accordance with the inner city norm, he wasn’t interested in marrying her)

    given this, why does Baggott then write, in knee jerk leftie indignation mode-

    ‘The media have destroyed Mark Duggan’s character,just like they did with Jean Charles de Menezes.They damn well had better be right,because Mark Duggan was a well liked ,well respected member of the black community.’

    On what basis, other than quotes from his principal girlfriend, does Baggott know that Duggan was a ‘well respected member of the black community.’ ?

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Old Mark, the nuanced presentation of your views, when asked by me to expound them, on the other thread seems not to accord with your seemingly unremitting sloganeering elsewhere. Your constant attempts to distill what are very complex situations into single simplistic, dualistic narrative belies the avowed thoughtfulness of your stance. Virtually every single post you make on almost all subjects seems to evince your prepossession with what used to be called ‘race relations’.
    .
    The case of the gentleman shot holding a table-leg received an enormous amount of publicity, as did (in Scotland), the Kris Donald murder. As did Ian Tomlinson’s killing. As did Madeline McCann’s disappearance.
    .
    Yet you persist in attempting to suggest that black and brown people somehow are treated preferentially over white people. I wonder whether you might have had some or other unfortunate experience in this regard, yourself, to make to so fixated on what call “the affirmative action” movement?

  • Robert Baggott

    On what basis, other than quotes from his principal girlfriend, does Baggott know that Duggan was a ‘well respected member of the black community.’ ?

    There have been many quotes to the same effect,including by community leaders but I will concede to your point.Maybe the girlfriend,various friends and community leaders have all sat around and conspired to re-invent Mark Duggan.I don’t know these people so yes! I am making assumptions.On the opposite side of that coin there are things that I do know for a fact.I know that there are groups of people who sit around conspiring amongst themselves.They have been caught out conspiring,and planting,and feeding untruth’s.I am talking about the Police themselves and I am talking about the media and Politicians who make up a three headed hydra for whom the word truth has no meaning.I will not feel foolish if Mark Duggan turns out to be the flaming antichrist,I will not feel foolish if the girlfriend,and others,who say he is not a gangster turn out to be full of crap.I would ,however, feel foolish,if I put my trust in the media narrative of Mark Duggan,only to find out,later in the line,that most of it was bullshit,because I have gone down that road before.
    Maybe! Mark Duggan was carrying a gun,or maybe it was a bomb,or could it have been a table leg? who the hell knows in this Orwellian,Straussian,let’s kill civilian’s to protect civilian’s,up is down and down is up world.

  • dreoilin

    “(we know that, in accordance with the inner city norm, he wasn’t interested in marrying her)”
    .
    And how would you or anyone else know that? Were you inside his head?
    .
    “Whether he even co-habited with the mother of most of his children”
    .
    According to Clark he texted her to say he’d be “home” in half an hour or so. And what are you implying when you say “most” of his children? Do you know for a fact that he had others?
    .
    Did you know Mark Duggan personally and otherwise how could you write what you wrote above?

  • jebe

    Duggans Family: IPCC Untrustworthy…”The family of Mark Duggan, whose death triggered the unrest that rocked Britain over the past days, said they doubt the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) can probe his fatal shooting away from outside pressure.

    The police in north London Tottenham area shot dead the 29-year-old on Thursday August 4 in a pre-planned operation when officers stopped the minicab carrying him.

    Media reports said immediately after his death that the incident had been an exchange of fire and that Duggan had first fired at officers but the IPCC admitted on Friday their statement may have “misled” media into such a perception stressing Duggan had not fired at all.

    “We put our faith in the IPCC but they have let us down. How can we now trust that they are independent of the police as they say they are?” said Duggan’s fiancée Symone Wilson at an event to celebrate his life at Broadwater Farm Community Centre.

    “We want to know the truth about how Mark died and will not rest until that information is given to us,” she added.

    Meanwhile, Wilson’s sister, Michelle, said the IPCC were playing with the dead man’s family.

    “The IPCC person told us one thing behind closed doors, once she eventually spoke with us days after the shooting, and then said something completely different in public. We have been treated appallingly by the IPCC,” she said.

    Duggna’s family said they want an independent inquiry into the links between the police watchdog and the Scotland Yard.

    This comes as a family friend said that people believe the IPCC has scheduled its investigations into the incident for December so that media and the public lose track of the events saying Duggans want an independent inquest as they do not trust the official one.

    Duggan’s family also rejected accusations hurled at the dead man saying the authorities are keeping the public in the dark allowing the media to tar his face.

    “He was not a gang member and he had no criminal record. He was from a tightly knit group of friends who did separate things during the week and met up like childhood friends do, and yet some people are trying to describe that as a gang,” said the friend”. …. http://www.presstv.ir/detail/193858.html

  • de Quincy' Ghost

    It’s an odd argument. Most people here seem to be in agreement with most of the original posting, the sticking point is over the question of prejudgement – whether or not we know if he was a gangster (or whatever) or not, and if we do want to make up our minds at this stage, whether we go for “yes” or “no”.
    .
    Craig remarked in another thread that he does know this, from Sources He Cannot Reveal Or He’d Have To Kill Us. The corollary of this is, that we who he can’t explain it to, don’t know. Of our own knowledge, all we know is that an unnamed authority tells us this and isn’t showing their reasoning or evidence. And this seems to be the sticking point, people are remarking that many other statements have been made, on this occasion and others, in much the same way, by various other unnamed sources; some of them have turned out to be correct, others have not. And some people are insisting that they do know this or that or whatever, and other people (myself included) are saying well, no, we don’t.
    .
    So, how does it come about that anybody who won’t accept Craig’s reasoning, sight unseen, is defined as a “lefty” ? What does this have to do with Left or Right ? Nothing. It’s an argument about attitudes towards authority, and empiricism. (I’m tempted to suggest that an insistence that everything can be explained by assigning people a position along a single axis having something to do with a theory of economics is itself a rather odd attempt to constrain unruly facts into a pre-chosen ideology).
    .
    If anything, it could be argued as small-c conservative, in the sense of nostalgia for the good old days of the presumption of innocence and the idea that justice must not only be done, but must also be seen to be done.
    .
    “I for one do actually want the police to arrest criminals carrying loaded firearms” – me too. I also want them to be able to admit it when they fuck up.

  • OldMark

    ‘Your constant attempts to distill what are very complex situations into single simplistic, dualistic narrative belies the avowed thoughtfulness of your stance.’

    Suhayl- I’m not attempting to pin the riots down to a single, race -related cause. As you rightly say, it is more complex than that. I am however aware of the fact that, as I’m going against the flow here, I tend to play devil’s advocate- perhaps too much for my own good.

    ‘Virtually every single post you make on almost all subjects seems to evince your prepossession with what used to be called ‘race relations’.’

    I accept that most, but not all, of my posts here since the Brevik atrocity could be loosely termed as being connected to ‘race relations’.However prior to that event I rarely touched the subject. I started posting here several years ago, firstly just as ‘Mark’, but latterly (to forestall confusion between me & Mark Golding) as ‘OldMark’. If you check back on old threads where I posted as ‘Mark’ you’ll see that I rarely commented about race or ‘community relations’. Also, on most of these threads, I wasn’t going ‘against the flow’ – so I didn’t have to keep clarifying my position against those who disagreed with me.

  • OldMark

    ‘According to Clark he texted her to say he’d be “home” in half an hour or so.’

    I don’t accept that Duggan’s use of the term ‘home’ in a text message to his girlfriend is conclusive evidence that they were actually co-habitees.

    ‘And what are you implying when you say “most” of his children? Do you know for a fact that he had others?’

    No I don’t- however the media don’t seem agreed on number of children he actually had. It therefore seems likely to me that the girlfriend who has featured widely in media interviews since the killing isn’t the only woman with whom he has fathered children.

  • Dovidw

    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”

    Now let me see! I’m on my way to carry out a “hit” and according to the Standard,
    Duggan’s deceased uncle had an “armoury of weapons greater than the police;” the implicatuion being, no doubt, that Duggan knew guns! So what amongst this arsenal of firearms does he choose? Obvious, the modified replica and just to be absolutely sure of success, we’ll load it with just one round!! Guess that make sense!

  • deQuincy's Ghost

    “Duggan’s deceased uncle had an “armoury of weapons greater than the police;””
    .
    I’ve seen this statement somewhere, too. But this is the first reference to it in this thread (I think. Search for “armoury” finds nothing except the above). So, where does it come from ? How do we know this ? Who is it that’s being quoted ? Google has nothing.
    .
    (In conversation elsewhere a few weeks ago, someone suggested I should look for work as a Consultant Epistomologist).

  • dreoilin

    Ghost,
    Lots about his deceased uncle at the Daily Mail link I gave above. I think the “armoury” thing was a boast the uncle made himself.
    .
    “So, how does it come about that anybody who won’t accept Craig’s reasoning, sight unseen, is defined as a “lefty”?”
    .
    That allegation stunned me, I have to say.

  • dreoilin

    “It therefore seems likely to me that the girlfriend who has featured widely in media interviews since the killing isn’t the only woman with whom he has fathered children.”
    –OldMark
    .
    “It seems likely” … and you “don’t accept” that when he said “home” he meant home or that they were “cohabiting”. And you also knew that he wasn’t planning on marrying his partner, although the Daily Mail says the opposite? So are your sources better than the Daily Mail’s? Apparently you even know more than his friends:
    .
    “But friends say Duggan was planning to marry 29-year-old Semone Wilson, his partner of 12 years, and move away from Tottenham to raise their two sons, aged ten and seven, and 18-month-old daughter”.
    .
    The Daily Mail published a whole article about his extended family and any associated criminality they could find. But they listed no criminal record for Duggan – yet one would imagine that if there was such a thing, they would have found it and printed it.

  • Joe

    Craig, the branch that carried out this execution was CO19, the same branch involved in the execution of Jonh Charles de Menezes, where he was pinned to the floor and shot 7 times in the head at point blank range. Have you considered the eyewitness testimony to Duggan’s murder?

    ‘I saw about six unmarked police cars cornering a people carrier near a bus stop right outside Tottenham Hale station.

    ‘It looked like they had been chasing the car. I heard the police shout something like, “Don’t move” and I saw them drag the driver out of the car. I don’t know if they dragged the guy out in the passenger seat – he was the one who got shot.

    ‘About three or four police officers had both men pinned on the ground at gunpoint. They were really big guns and then I heard four loud shots.’

    Sounds like an unlawful execution to me. In which case, why would you believe that a bullet got lodged in the officer’s radio by accident when, given the circumstances, it is more plausible that the officers deliberately fired a bullet into their radio in order to justify their murder of Duggan with the claim that he fired at them? Also, the gun they claim was found on Duggan (or near him) was a ‘Bruni BBM’, which means it was either an air gun or a blank starter pistol.

    Interestingly enough, last year, the WestMidlands police issued an amnesty on just this make of gun which previously did not need a license. Assuming their amnesty drive was successful, there are probably quite a few of these guns floating around UK police stations… I’m sure one or two wouldn’t be missed if some element of the Met wanted one to ‘seed’ a crime scene.

  • deQuincy'sGhost

    Thanks, Dreoilin. Yes, I see it now – “more guns than the police” was the quote. from the uncle, yes. I feel fairly sure that a more detailed look would reveal a somewhat qualified use of the word “police”, meaning a particular bunch of them at a particular place and time, rather than everything available to all of them … if there was ever any real substance to it, of course.
    .
    This “lefty” noise is very derailing. I had to go back and re-read the original posting, to remind myself that actually we’re most of us mostly in agreement with most of what he said … (and, yes, that there are people round and about who do seem to derive all their conclusions from a single theory, though I still insist on seeing ‘left’ as a subset of the total problem).
    .
    But, I seem to be converging on my usual rant – “People, this is not a football match, nor any other kind of zero-sum game. You’re allowed to see more than two teams, support any combination of them, start your own, boo them all, or invent new scales to compare them on. You may wish to consider the idea that competition is not the only possible relationship, or investigate the chance that there’s something happening outside the stadium”.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Okay, Old Mark, I don’t remember you from before over the past several years as plain old ‘Mark’, as opposed to ‘Old Mark’, apart from the time a couple of weeks ago when you changed the monicker – my apologies for that. You’re right, playing devil’s advocate is fine as a tactic (we all do it from time-to-time and it can be healthy for thought, self-questioning and discourse), but as you suggest, playing it consistently about one specific subject to some extent regardless of the thread’s topic tends to paint oneself into a corner and just make it look as though one is either obsessed or else that one is trying to act as an irritant. I accept, given the information you’ve provided, that taken as a whole, you’re posts are likely to be broader than that.

  • OldMark

    “But friends say Duggan was planning to marry 29-year-old Semone Wilson, his partner of 12 years, and move away from Tottenham to raise their two sons, aged ten and seven, and 18-month-old daughter”.

    Duggan’s friends are probably applying the maxim (excuse the cod Latin) De Mortuis nil nisi bonum, here. And is the conclusion quoted above, from anonymous ‘friends’, to be given greater weight that that this assessment of his nature, from a named source-

    ‘One of his primary school teachers recalled him a few years later as a boy who carried a knife and beat up other pupils.
    Boyan Yordanov, 46, said Duggan was one of the most disruptive children he had ever taught.
    ‘He was often attacking other children in the playground – they were all afraid of him,’ he said.
    ‘Once he brought a knife into school. Luckily one of the teachers discovered he had it and nothing happened – but he had to be suspended.’

    Furthermore,the fact that, as you deduce from the article, the DPP have either never charged him with an offence, or got one to stick, proves nothing. That actually fits the profile of quite a few successful career criminals.

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