Mark Duggan’s family: police ‘lack courage’ to reopen investigation

Mark Duggan’s family have accused the police watchdog of lacking courage after it refused to reopen its investigation into his 2011 killing by armed officers.

The shooting of Duggan, 29, in Tottenham, north London, after armed officers intercepted the minicab in which he was travelling on the basis of intelligence that he was carrying a gun, triggered civil unrest across England. An illegal firearm was found over a fence, 7 metres from where he was shot.

En 2015, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), since succeeded by the Independent Office of Police Complaints (IOPC), found no case to answer for any officer involved. Forensic Architecture (FA), a human rights research organisation based at Goldsmiths, University of London, challenged the IPCC conclusion that Duggan must have thrown the gun as he was shot, despite no officers having seen the weapon in flight and no DNA evidence connecting it to him.

Using virtual modelling, incorporating new expert evidence, FA claimed this was implausible. IOPC investigators met FA in February last year to examine its analysis but this week the watchdog said it would not reopen the investigation because there was nothing in the new reports to suggest its findings were incorrect.

Marcia Willis Stewart QC said: “The family of Mark Duggan are disappointed and saddened – if not entirely surprised – to see the shabby response from the IOPC to cogent new evidence presented by Forensic Architecture. Desafortunadamente, it appears that the courage required to confront and follow up the implications of that evidence remains signally lacking in the IOPC today, just as its predecessor body – the IPCC – failed to do its job at every stage since Mark was shot dead almost 10 hace años que.

“Like the IPCC, the IOPC seems unable or unwilling to fulfil its responsibilities in relation to contentious deaths at the hands of the police. The consequence is, not just that the IOPC lack the confidence of Mark’s family and that of other families in their position.”

Dr Jeremy Bauer, a biomechanics expert at Bauer Forensics, commissioned by lawyers for the Duggan family, said that for the gun to reach the location at which it was found, would have required a “large sweeping” motion of his arm. This called into question how this could be possible without any officers seeing it.

The IOPC letter, seen by the Guardian, says that there is no reason to prefer Bauer’s evidence to that of Prof Col Jonathan Clasper, who gave evidence to the IPCC investigation. In response, FA said the IOPC “wilfully ignores” that Clasper did not address the visibility of the gun being thrown to officers.

The IOPC also said evidence from forensic pathologist Stephen Pounder that Duggan would not have been capable of throwing the gun as he was shot was insufficiently new and one of a “range of views”. The letter stated that Pounder was asked by Duggan’s family to begin with the assumption that he was not holding the firearm when he was shot – a claim the family denies.

Stafford Scott, who has helped support the Duggan family, and is the founder of Tottenham Rights, dicho: “Unless you have the golden bullet, and that is a video similar to George Floyd, unless you have that you have no chance of receiving justice in this country.”

He invited people to judge for themselves at an exhibition Tottenham Rights is curating at the Institute of Contemporary Arts this summer, which will feature FA’s analysis of the Duggan case.

En 2019, his family settled a damages claim against the Met, which has made no admission of liability for Duggan’s death.

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