April 17, 2014
UK riots: inquest says police killing of man in 2011 was lawful
A British inquest found today that police acted lawfully when they shot and killed a man whose death sparked a wave of rioting in 2011 in the worst civil unrest in the country in decades.
Mark Duggan, 29, died after he was shot by police who suspected he was armed at the time.
Although all 10 people on the jury said they believed that Duggan had a gun with him before the taxi he was travelling in was stopped by police officers, eight said he did not have the gun in his hand when he was shot.
Nevertheless, eight jurors ruled that the killing of Duggan was lawful. The remaining two said there was not enough evidence for a clear ruling either way.
Duggan's family told media they would not give up the case.
"He was executed and we still believe that and we are going to fight, until we have no breath in our body, for justice," said Carole Duggan, an aunt of the dead man.
A senior officer of London's Metropolitan police expressed sympathy for Duggan's family.
"But the task our officers face in making split-second decision when confronting armed criminals means there is a risk - a very small risk - that this will happen," Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley told reporters as protesters yelled "murderer".
The killing of Duggan prompted protests in August 2011 in the streets of Tottenham, a deprived district in north London, that escalated into rioting and looting which quickly spread to elsewhere in London and other British cities.
Prime Minister David Cameron blamed gangs and criminal behaviour for the violence, but critics said government austerity measures that squeezed the poor and a breakdown in police and community relations in Tottenham were to blame.