A high court jury has said Mark Duggan, whose death sparked the 2011 London riots, was lawfully killed by police. The 29-year-old was shot dead by police in Tottenham in August 2011, after officers attempted to arrest him on suspicion of planning an attack. Two days later, Duggan’s relatives marched on Tottenham Police Station and events soon spiraled out of control.
They have reacted to this afternoon’s decision with fury. His aunt has claimed that ‘the majority of people in this country know that Mark was executed’. His brother has vowed to ‘fight till we have no breath in our body for justice’. Outside the Royal Court of Justice, the crowd is reported to have shouted ‘murderers’ after hearing the verdict.
Simon Marcus, now the Conservative PPC for Hampstead and Kilburn, wrote in The Spectator in August 2012 that neither the shooting nor gang violence was the motivation behind the riots, but our soft criminal justice system:
‘I was told ad nauseam that the riots were not gang-related because only 19 per cent of those convicted in London were known gang members, and 13 per cent in the country as a whole. This vastly mistook the facts. It is enough of a percentage to have caused the riots in certain areas, and I doubt that teen gangsters would offer their name, rank and number on arrest. I would suggest that in some places more than half of those who looted and rioted are subject to what I would call a gang culture.
‘This awful reality is compounded by the failings of our soft criminal justice system. Fully 76 per cent of convicted rioters had previous convictions and nine out of ten were known to the police. Even more shockingly, 84 had committed 50 or more previous offences. Those 84 criminals should end their lives in prison. But there again lies an ideological blockade. I was shocked by the number of public servants we spoke to who simply chanted the mantra ‘prison doesn’t work’. My job rehabilitating young borderline criminals looking for a way out is made so much harder if repeat offenders or gang leaders return emboldened after short sentences to provide role models, leadership and ownership of an area saturated with drugs, guns and knives.’