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article imageOp-Ed: The death of Mark Duggan — one year on, and still nothing

By Alexander Baron     Aug 4, 2012 in Crime
London - One year ago today, Mark Duggan was shot dead by police from Operation Trident. To date, no one has been charged, and no meaningful information has been released to the public.
What is the best way to get away with murder? Bury the body under your house? That didn't work for Fred West. Stage the crime scene and blame it on someone else? Been there, done that, and Jeremy Bamber is still in prison. How about writing the death certificate yourself? Nice try Dr Shipman, but we're on to you.
No, there is only one sure and certain way to get away with murder, that is to own a warrant card, because then the investigators will apply The Code. But was the shooting of unarmed Mark Duggan murder? At best, it was manslaughter, but we don't know and perhaps never will know the full details because although there were 31 (THIRTY-ONE) police witnesses to the killing and its aftermath, not one has made any sort of statement to the so-called Independent Police Complaints Commission, and as far as we know, no one has even been suspended from duty (which in any case would be on full pay).
In the wake of his death, the Daily Mail published a story that, with even a little hindsight, turned out to be a vicious smear on the victim:
"Mark Duggan was part of a gang with links to Jamaica's ruthless 'Yardies'".
Links? Smear merchant Gerry Gable's favourite word, and in this context, totally meaningless, like the link the First Lady of the United States had with serial killer John Gacy.
"Carried a gun 'for protection'" - except that, contrary to initial reports, which were probably simply inaccurate rather than dishonest, he was not carrying a gun when he was shot.
"a 'crack cocaine dealer' who ruled with violence and fear".
who had convictions for what, exactly?
"Gang linked to murder of PC Keith Blakelock in 1985 Broadwater Farm riots".
PC Blakelock was murdered on October 6, 1985; Mark Duggan was born in 1981. Do the math.
The entire article was in that vein, not a single meaningful fact, but heavy on innuendo that he deserved it. Well guess what, he didn't, and like any other innocent man shot dead either by malice or out of criminal negligence, he deserves justice, but if the Metropolitan Police and the IPCC have anything to do with it, he won't receive it.
We have come to expect that sort of thing from the Daily Mail, but we deserve to expect a lot better from the IPCC, and indeed it can act on cover ups and corruption when it has a will, as can the Met or indeed any police force. Only last month, the IPCC announced that an unnamed police officer had been dismissed without notice for making a false statement in order to cover up for the thuggish behaviour of another officer, yet in the current case, the IPCC itself has been threatened with contempt proceedings by an independent-minded coroner for dragging its feet.
This conspiracy of silence must be broken; at the very least, the officer who shot and killed Mark Duggan must be identified and charged with something as in the case of the death of Ian Tomlinson.
There is something Paul Bracchi should bear in mind - he is the idiot who wrote that smear article for the Daily Mail - journalists often come into conflict with the police simply for doing their jobs.
Two years ago, photographer David Hoffman was awarded £30,000 compensation after being seriously injured by a police inspector while covering a demonstration. After the riots of last August, it has been suggested that in future, riot police should be armed. In view of the fact that some rioters in Birmingham were armed, and actually shot at a police helicopter, many people would consider that suggestion reasonable. If the police can shoot and kill an unarmed man in the back of a mini-cab with total impunity, they can also shoot and kill a journalist at a demonstration. Including you, Mr Bracchi.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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