Fri, Jan 10, 2014 - Page 7 News List

Police shooting that led to UK riots deemed lawful

JURY DECISION:A long-running inquest decided Mark Duggan was killed lawfully, even though he was not holding a gun when he was shot by police

The Guardian, LONDON

Mark Duggan’s family, including mother Pamela, center, make a statement outside the High Court in London, England, on Wednesday.

Photo: EPA

Mark Duggan did not have a gun in his hand when he was shot dead by police, having thrown the weapon away when the taxi he was in was stopped, but was lawfully killed, an inquest jury ruled on Wednesday.

There were angry scenes in court as Duggan’s family reacted to the lawful killing verdict over the death of the 29-year-old, which came after armed officers forced a taxi he was traveling in to stop, based on intelligence that he was part of a gang and had collected a gun.

Duggan’s mother, Pam, collapsed in court on hearing the findings of the jury and Mark Duggan’s brother Marlon shouted at the jury as they left the courtroom.

The jury of 10 people recorded an 8-2 majority ruling that the killing was lawful.

The London Metropolitan police shooting in north London on Aug. 4, 2011, triggered the worst riots in modern English history.

The inquest, which began in September last year, 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, where the inquest took place after the jury had deliberated for six-and-a-half days. They were originally sent out on Dec. 11 last year. They 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 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-defense, 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 taxi and came face to face with armed police.

V53 and a second officer told the jury they had both seen Duggan holding a gun, but were surprised when they could not find it later.

A gun, wrapped in a sock, was found on the other side of a fence 3m to 6m away from where the fatally injured Duggan fell to the pavement, the jury heard. The gun was capable of being fired but had not been “racked,” so was not ready to fire.

Neither the gun nor the sock had any DNA or fingerprints from Duggan on it.

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