What is more worrying? The fact that the Metropolitan Police shot an unarmed man and none of them are facing trial, or the fact that the police attempted to cover up their incompetence whilst receiving little to no media coverage?
Now I don’t use the word ‘fact’ lightly so I will spell out what, in this case, has been deemed ‘fact’ by our judicial system according to major British news sources: Mark Duggan was shot by police whilst unarmed. The firearm he supposedly held at the police to provoke the shooting was found 20ft away in a sock that had none of Mark Duggan’s DNA on it. At the very least, if you agree with the jury’s verdict; that Mark was shot legally, the case then requires a detailed look at how our armed response unit operated during this incident. If you believe the case to be legal on the grounds of an honest mistake, you have conceded to the point that a mistake was certainly made. A mistake that cost a man’s life, an innocent man’s life. There is no excuses in regards to the job of an armed response unit, it is exactly this kind of situation that they are trained to manage effectively therefore it is expected that they carry out their tasks with competence, coordination and confidence. The very fact that the firing officer shot through Mark’s arm, whilst another officer was stood behind him to collect the passing bullet, is certainly one of the most sinister aspects of this story.
However, if you disagree with the jury’s verdict then you are of the view that the police officer knew Duggan was unarmed and still made the conscious choice to act as judge, jury and executioner, while believing he could get away with it because he was a police officer on the state’s payroll. No crime in this country warrants the death penalty and it is precisely for this reason, human beings are never infallible. Everyone makes mistakes and our criminal justice system is not exempt from this same flaw of the human condition. Mistakes from an authoritative body when it comes to someone’s life is completely unacceptable and it should not be excused. The officer in question should be held accountable for his actions, the fact that he shot him twice shows, without doubt, an intent to kill.
Recently the Daily Mail ran an article, which lists Mark Duggan’s flaws as a citizen whilst also exposing his criminal record… was this a means of justification? Now, it is not a habit of mine to present a piece of ‘journalism’ by the Daily Mail but this article perfectly encapsulates what is wrong with the mentality of those who advocate the shooting of Mark Duggan. This piece by the Daily Mail effectively gives tacit approval of Mark Duggan’s murder by completely and shamelessly cowering away from the major principle of justice, ‘innocent until proven guilty’. Even if Mark Duggan was in fact a danger to society, the Justice system demands that he be taken in for fair trial in front of a jury of his peers and a judge of the courts. The separation of Judiciary and policing is essential to a democratic society; everyone is answerable to the law of the land, including those who enforce it. The article in some ways stirs more of a reaction in me than the incident itself. Its so upsetting that in this day and age, a segment of the British public cry out for this authoritarian bloodlust, to shoot any undesirables on site. Wasting a life and shamelessly guising the incident with misinformation.
The police did do wrong but the fact they feebly attempted to cover it up seems to have grated no media attention and this is what jars my guts the most. The police stated for sometime after the incident as London burned in the ensuing riots, that Mark Duggan was shot in a firefight after he, him self shot a policeman, evidence being that one of the officers seemed to have been shot over the radio. It wasn’t until an independent ballistics report revealed the bullet to have been fired from a police officer and not the suspect. A testimony that police themselves have admitted was misleading to the press. They knew from the offset that the shots fired were only heading in one direction, towards Duggan. Yet continued to play the police heroics in attempts to undermine the protests that played catalyst to the riots, which labeled everyone involved a contributor to ‘broken Britain’.
Rule of Law in this country seems to have been replaced with Rule of the Law. Jumpy trigger happy policing isn’t new to this country, but thanks to this case it is obvious that it is here to stay, and the public that make up our juries appear to be just fine with that. Are you?