In the frenzy after last Summer’s riots a very important incident was forgotten – the shooting of Mark Duggan. In fact it was the initial spark that led to the rioting, but as politicians mull over how to shut down social networking, what types of riot weaponry they may use in the future, and how best to discipline youths in schools; they are forgetting that it was the dubious actions of the state’s police that set everybody off to begin with.
As documented in WideShut film “Perfect Storm: The England Riots”, on August 6th (2 days after the shooting) Duggan’s family and local community marched on Tottenham police station to protest about the lack of information offered to them about his death. Elements of the crowd then turned violent after a 16 year-old girl was “set upon” by the police line. This sparked a chain reaction of violence and looting that tore through the impoverished and financially cut inner cities of England.
What We Know
On August 4th, 2011, Mark Duggan, a 29 year old father of 4 was pulled from a taxi in Ferry Lane, Tottenham, and shot dead by the Metropolitan Police Specialist Firearms Command. An eye witness described how rather than restraining and apprehending Duggan, police assassinated him :
“I came around the corner and saw about six unmarked police cars cornering a people carrier near a bus stop.
“I heard the police shout something like ‘Don’t move’ and I saw them drag the driver out of the car. I don’t know if they dragged the other guy out in the passenger seat. He was the one who got shot – the passenger.
“About three or four police officers had both men pinned on the ground at gunpoint. They were really big guns and then I heard four loud shots. The police shot him on the floor.”
In an early statement to BBC News, a Scotland Yard spokesman corroborated the witness, saying “there is no question that this was an execution style killing.” 
Despite this clarity it was soon brushed aside as simply “speculation”. Independent Police Complaints Commission cheif Rachel Cerfontyne, who became widely circulated in the mainstream press stated:
“Speculation that Mark Duggan was ‘assassinated’ in an execution style involving a number of shots to the head are categorically untrue.” 
This however is quite ambiguous wording. The eyewitness never said anything about head-shots. It was eventually ruled that he died from a shot to the chest . You can be executed with a shot to the chest, just as easily as to the head.
Was it just the head-shot rumors she was dispelling? Cerfontyne never elaborated on any evidence that suggested the witness was wrong about Duggan being pinned down, no other eye witnesses have described the actual shooting to the media, and no evidence that would shed light on the incident has ever been presented in a public forum. The IPCC are relying on the public to simply have faith in their authority.
However the Commission was further discredited after their initial statement (that Duggan had fired at a police officer before they shot him), was completely refuted by ballistics tests .
While a handgun wrapped in a sock was found 10 to 14 feet away, on the other side of a low fence , there is not one shred of evidence that it was used or posed a threat. Neither Duggan’s DNA nor fingerprints have been recovered from the sock or the weapon .
The bullet alleged to have come from Duggan was miraculously lodged in the officer’s police radio. Upon examination it was proven to be a police-issued bullet, not from the handgun; meaning somehow the specialist command had not only killed an unarmed man, but nearly managed to kill one of their own men as well.
We know Duggan did not fire a weapon, no weapon was discovered immediately on his person, and at least one witness claims he was pinned to the floor. How then was there confusion as to who had fired the bullet in to the police radio? Perhaps a better question would be why did the officers allow such misleading statements to be made, when by any logic they knew it was a police bullet? Were they trying to protect themselves from the repercussions of executing an unarmed man?
Michael Mansfield QC is representing Duggan’s family at the inquest. If anyone can ask the important questions it’s him. He previously  represented those wrongly convicted of the IRA’s Guildford and Birmingham pub bombings, and Barry George at the inquest into the death of journalist Jill Dando. He also represented Mohamed al-Fayed in the inquest into the deaths of his son Dodi al-Fayed and Diana, Princess of Wales; and the family of Jean Charles de Menezes, who was shot several times in the head following the 7/7 bombings in a supposed case of mistaken identity.
At the pre-inquest hearing Mansfield asked whether “Misinformation suggesting some form of shoot-out,” had taken place between Duggan and Police was a “serious mistake?” 
The IPCC’s Colin Sparrow admitted that “It wasn’t accurate,” and “It was a mistake.” 
Going against all procedure the crime scene, which is supposed to be left untouched was completely decimated.
Mansfield pondered: “How on earth did the gun [alleged to be Duggan’s] get over a fence 14ft away?”
“Was it thrown there by a police officer?” He asked.
On top of the flying gun that has not been directly linked to Duggan, within hours of the shooting the people carrier taxi he was pulled from was taken away from the scene, only to be returned by the end of the day. The IPCC claim : “It was sealed and briefly removed from the scene to facilitate further investigation at a specialist forensic facility. Shortly after its removal, it became clear that the IPCC was able to do this forensic examination more quickly at the scene and so the taxicab was returned.” However it’s unknown where this facility is and why they felt the need to take it there.
Mansfield said: “What the family want to know in relation to all these items is, where were they originally in order to assess how Mark Duggan met his death.”
Another confusing aspect of the case are the eye witness reports that a “police surveillance vehicle had been filming the road for several days before the shooting”, and “armed plain clothes policemen” were spotted “hiding in bushes nearby”. [see video]
Clearly the way the case has been handled reeks of incompetence and cover-up.
“The problem for the family is a complete breakdown in confidence for this investigation,” said Mansfield.
“While normally this question might not have to be asked because confidence is automatic, on this occasion, from the beginning, there has been misinformation, a lack of information, and conflicting information.”
Hopefully these questions will be answered at the full Inquest, which is being held off until September.