Mark Duggan was shot dead by armed police on August 4. The last public update from the so-called Independent Police Complaints Commission was September 8. How long does it take to decide who shot a man, why, and what action is to be taken?
The shooting of Mark Duggan was the flashpoint for the August riots which saw some of the most disgraceful examples of gratuitous violence including murder this country has ever witnessed. Equally disgraceful was the pathetic apologetics that issued from the usual suspects such as Chris Bambery and his chums in the SWP.
While there can be no excusing and no mitigating these riots on the grounds of racism or anything else, it should not be forgotten that in the first instance a man was shot dead by police.
Initially we were told there had been an exchange of fire as officers from Operation Trident surrounded the mini-cab in which Duggan was a passenger. This claim appears to have been an honest mistake. What appears to have happened is that two shots were fired, and one them ricocheted hitting a police officer, who was not seriously hurt.
It was later revealed - or perhaps we should say claimed - that Mark Duggan had been carrying a gun wrapped in a sock, so although technically he was armed, in practice he was not, certainly he had no time to draw and fire.
The first press release issued by the IPCC was August 6, two days after the shooting. On August 12, another press release clarified what appeared to have happened, ie there had been no exchange of fire. Precious little has emanated from the IPCC in the meantime.
On October 5, the Morning Star published an article Duggan family call for justice over police killing which quoted the dead man's brother Shaun Hall: “We were told there were 31 police officers involved in the sting on my brother, I call it an assassination. What had my brother done so wrong to deserve this assassination, please tell me”. What had he done indeed?
While the IPCC is right to take its time in an investigation of this sensitivity, it has now had over three months. If a member of the public had shot dead an unarmed man in any circumstances, say a farmer on his land with a shotgun, the investigation would have been long over and the man charged with murder, or at best his gun confiscated and the shooter bailed with very strict conditions. This is in stark contrast to this case. What has happened to the police officer(s) who fired first and asked questions later? They are either still at work, probably doing desk jobs, or suspended on full pay like Commander Ali Dizaei. As we have heard nothing to the contrary, they are almost certainly working.
Mark Duggan may well have been a gangsta, though people close to him say otherwise. Certainly he was no angel, but in spite of the disgraceful innuendo in the Daily Mail following his funeral, and a guilt by association article in the same paper which claimed Duggan's late uncle was a Manchester “crime lord”, he did not deserve to he shot down like a dog. In the Wild West maybe, but not in Britain.
If the IPCC does not get its finger out and report to us - the public - PDQ, it won't only be the gangstas and wideboys of Tottenham, and the “anti-racist” creeps of the SWP who will be asking inconvenient questions. Justice delayed is justice denied, even for a “gangsta” who carries around a handgun wrapped in a sock.
Below: two photographs of Mark Duggan released by his family in the wake of the controversial shooting. Gangsta? Or family man?
A photograph released by the family
Mark Duggan who was shot dead by armed police officers in Tottenham, North London, on August 4, 2001. His death was the catalyst for the riots that swept the country.
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