An investigation into the shooting of Mark Duggan by police has raised new questions. His death was the catalyst for the riots in August which started in London and spread across the country.
Initial reports, which originated from the Met but were amended by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), suggested that Duggan was shot after firing on a police officer who had stopped the minicab in which he was a passenger, a statement that they had to correct.
The IPCC investigation reveals that officers within the Met’s Operation Trident had intelligence indicating that Duggan had earlier obtained a gun, later recovered a few metres away from the scene of his shooting. He was under surveillance as a result. In a new twist, it seems that Duggan was aware of the scrutiny, as mentioned in the Guardian’s report:
At 6.05pm, some nine minutes before police say they shot him dead, he sent a BlackBerry message: “Trident have jammed me,” he wrote, adding that people should look out for a maroon people carrier in which he believed officers from Trident were travelling.
To add a further level of complexity to an already tricky case, the gun recovered from the scene may have been used a week earlier in another shooting before being obtained by Duggan. Two officers are currently under investigation by the IPCC over the incident. Sarah Green, commissioner of the IPCC, said:
‘Our investigation will consider whether all investigative lines were promptly identified and acted upon by officers from the Metropolitan police service and to what extent, if any, the conduct of this investigation may have impacted on the supply of the firearm found at the scene of the shooting of Mark Duggan.’
The Met’s response and the misleading information given out after the incident has led to more criticism of the police. The Met’s reaction to the criticism; Police insiders stress that firearms officers have a highly dangerous job, the risks and realities of which are little understood outside law enforcement circles. Which is a polite way of saying that people should refrain from opining on something they know nothing about. Just a few days ago, Scotland Yard said they believed the IPCC’s investigation should be quicker.
The riots sparked by Duggan’s shooting have become almost an entity in themselves – the aftermath led to severe criticism levelled at Boris Johnson and David Cameron, the police’s response, some frankly astonishing knee-jerk demands that families of rioters should lose benefits, questions being asked about society and the disaffection of young people all over the shop. Even the performing arts have a take on it.
Some Tottenham residents say they have been left destitute and are still awaiting claims made for compensation.
Update: This article has been edited in light of recent developments. Previous reports from mainstream news sites suggested Mr Duggan was ‘unarmed’ when shot by police. It now appears that there is no evidence for this assertion.