Justice for Mark campaign launches fresh witness appeal

Justice for Mark banner at the People's Assembly demo in June

For immediate release

Families of people who have died in police custody will be joining Mark Duggan’s family for a march and vigil in his memory, taking place today on the third anniversary of his shooting by police in Tottenham.

“I stand with the Duggan family in remembrance of their loved one, Mark.” said Marcia Rigg, the sister of Sean Rigg who died in a Brixton police station in 2008. “Why? Our questions are the very same even though we had never met before. Unity is the families strength and the trick is to never give up the fight, for how else will justice come?” Others attending include relatives of Cherry Groce, Joy Gardner, Christopher Alder, Roger Sylvester and Leon Patterson. Diane Abbott MP has released a statement in support of the family.

Susan Alexander, the mother of Azelle Rodney, has also sent a message of support to the family which will be read out at the vigil. The CPS announced last week it will be prosecuting Officer E7 for Azelle Rodney’s murder. He was killed during a “hard stop” in 2005. Six years later, and despite recommendations by the IPCC to review this “high risk” tactic, Mark Duggan was shot by police in another “hard stop”.

Fresh witness appeal

The march and vigil follows on from last month’s judicial review at the High Court in which the family have sought to have the Inquest conclusion of “lawful killing” quashed. The result will be know in the autumn (likely September or October).

In the meantime the Justice for Mark Duggan family campaign is launching a fresh appeal for witnesses. In a highly critical report following the Inquest, the Coroner Judge Keith Cutler, expressed concern that that “doubts about the accuracy of police accounts are not minimised”.

He identified a number of issues including the “scope for conferring” between police, the handling of the crime scene which saw crucial evidence moved, and the failure to record the scene (despite the first aid attempts being filmed by police), which may have helped with “the significant issue of how and when the gun got some distance from Mark’s body”.

Judge Cutler also identified the falsehood that Mark had shot at police first (he was in fact unarmed), circulated by a still unidentified source at the IPCC to the media, as contributing the reluctance of witnesses to the shooting to come forward.

The only independent witness to the shooting to come forward so far, “Witness B”, described Marks killing as an “execution’. The campaign hopes this fresh witness appeal will encourage people who may witnesses something come forward. Eye witness evidence has been crucial to establishing facts of how people have died in custody or following police contact in many other cases.

► The march assembles 5pm, Monday 4 August 2014, at Broadwater Farm then proceeds to Ferry Lane for a vigil from 6pm to 7pm

► Read Diane Abbott MP’s statement on the third anniversary of Mark’s death

► Download the Appeal For Witnesses jpg and the background PDF document.

Justice 4 Mark 2014 Vigil flier s2

Mark Duggan: myths and facts


download mythbuster as PDF • link to justice4mark.com/myths

Myth: Mark was a known criminal.
Fact: Mark had never served a jail sentence and only had two minor convictions – one for possessing a small amount of marijuana and one for accepting stolen goods.

Myth: Police had evidence Mark was a gang leader.
Fact: There was no evidence presented at court that showed Mark was a gang member and police admitted the information they had received to suggest this was the equivalent to a conversation overheard in a pub. Claudia Webbe, a founder of Operation Trident, said that in all her years involved in the unit “at no time was the name Mark Duggan put on the table as someone who was a senior member of London’s gun criminality, behind a string of gun related murders, regularly evading justice. His name was never mentioned, not once.”

Myth: Mark was aiming a gun at police when he was shot.
Fact: The only person that claims he saw Mark holding a gun was the officer (V53) who killed him. Expert witness Professor Derrick Pounder testified that in his opinion officer V53 had probably been wrong to claim Mark had been pointing a gun at him in a threatening manner when he fired the second fatal shot – ballistic evidence indicated he was falling or stooped at the time. An independent witness testified that Mark had his hands up and was holding a BlackBerry phone when he was shot. He described the shooting as an execution.

Myth: Mark threw the gun away before or after he was shot.
Fact: Expert witness Professor Jonathan Clasper said it was unlikely that Mark could have disposed of the weapon in the instant that the bullets struck his body. No attending officers claim to have seen Mark throw the gun in the moments after he was shot. Mark’s DNA was not found on the gun or sock in which it was found 20 feet from his body. As Mark was unarmed he could have been easily arrested, taken into custody and charged or released.

Myth: Armed police only fire when completely necessary to remove an immediate risk and must account for every shot they fire.
Fact: Unfortunately we have many cases that prove this is not true, including Anthony Granger, Jean Charles De Menzes and Azelle Rodney. If Mark was a risk to the police, the second fatal shot is still not justified: evidence showed he was falling when it was fired. Why was this second fatal shot fired? But witnesses have testified Mark was unarmed and surrendering which would suggest there was no immediate risk at all. The gun found 20 feet from Mark’s body not only had none of Mark’s DNA on it but was not even clocked in readiness to fire. Yet V53 claims he feared for his life as Mark was pointing this gun at him ready to shoot.

Myth: The police do their utmost to protect the public.
Fact: After a police officer fatally shot unarmed Azelle Rodney six times in 2005 (an inquest in 2013 found it to be an unlawful killing), the Metropolitan police were advised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission to review the use of their ‘hard stop’ procedures as they were a risk to public, suspects and officers. Six years later and an unarmed Mark Duggan was killed in another ‘hard stop’.

Myth: The police are accountable and are not above the law.
Fact: Inquest has recorded over 4,500 deaths in prison and in police custody in England and Wales between 1990 and 2013: “Many of these deaths have raised serious issues of negligence, systemic failures to care for the vulnerable, institutional violence, racism, inhumane treatment and abuse of human rights. There is a pattern of institutionalised reluctance to approach deaths in custody as potential homicides even where there have been systemic failings and gross negligence has occurred. There has not been a successful homicide prosecution for a death in custody for over 30 years.”

Thursday 30 January: Justice for Mark public meeting in Tottenham

j4m 30jan leaflet image WOBj4m 30jan leaflet image

7pm, Thursday 30 January 2014

North London Community House
22 Moorefield Rd, London N17 6PY
around the corner from Bruce Grove station

● Facebook event
● A4 pdf leaflet

Speakers include Carole DugganMarcia RiggBecky Shah (Hillsborough Justice Campaign), Linton Kwesi JohnsonZita Holbourne (PCS national executive, pc), Fidel Santigi (Riot From Wrong, justice4mark), Oktay Sahbaz (Day-Mer) and others tbc.

Mark Duggan’s family, friends and supporters believe that the inquest jury’s verdict that Mark was “lawfully killed” is terribly wrong. As the family solicitor said: “The jury found that he had no gun in his hand – and yet he was gunned down. For us that is an unlawful killing.”

The inquest has raised many troubling questions about the true circumstances of Mark’s death. We want answers to those questions. We will fight on to find out who was responsible for Mark’s death and hold them to account. We are calling on everyone to support us in this struggle.

Since 1990 some 1,476 people have died in police custody or following police contact (figures from inquest.org.uk). Yet not one police officer has been convicted. In Tottenham the family and friends of Cynthia Jarrett, Joy Gardner and Roger Sylvester still have no justice.

On Saturday 11 January around 1,000 people attended a vigil for Mark outside Tottenham police station. A public meeting has now been called on Thursday 30 Jan by the family campaign: a place to discuss discuss the facts of the case, the person Mark really was – and how you can help the Justice for Mark Duggan campaign.

“The vigil was just the beginning of the mountain that we have to climb to get justice for Mark – in unity and solidarity alongside his family and loved ones”.

Justice for Mark Duggan – justiceformarkduggan@gmail.com

● web justice4mark.com
● facebook bit.ly/justice4mark
● tumblr justice4mark.tumblr.com
● twitter @justice4mark

Mark Duggan solidarity motion passed at CONEL UCU

This motion was passed unanimously at a UCU branch meeting at CONEL College in Tottenham, 15 January 2014. You can download it as a PDF or as a Microsoft Word document.

Branch notes

  • That the jury at the inquest into the killing of Mark Duggan concluded that he had not been holding a gun when he was shot dead by armed police
  • That despite this the killing was found ‘lawful’
  • That even though Mark’s criminal record was minor, with two fines on his record, the media continually referred to Mark as a violent gangster and ‘one of the 48 most dangerous criminals in Europe’
  • That the police and the IPCC actively collaborated with the media to spread lies and disinformation in the days after Mark’s killing – e.g. that there was a ‘shoot-out’ in which an officer had been ‘saved’ when a bullet lodged in his radio (the bullet was actually from a police gun)
  • That Mark Duggan is the latest in a series of black men and women from Tottenham who have died at the hands of the police since 1985 – Cynthia Jarrett, Joy Gardner, Roger Sylvester, now Mark – and for whose deaths no police officer has faced criminal charges
  • That in stark contrast, many young people in our community faced draconian prison sentences for minor crimes committed in the heat of the riots following Mark’s death

Branch believes

  • That the verdict was influenced by the racist way in which Mark’s character was tarnished by the police and media
  • That the decision to find it lawful for the police to shoot an unarmed person has put all young black people in our college and beyond at risk
  • That everyone in our community, irrespective of race, age and background, should be entitled to walk the streets without fear

Branch agrees

  • To send our condolences and solidarity to the family of Mark Duggan at this very difficult time
  • To support the family in their continuing fight for justice for Mark
  • To inform David Lammy MP and the local press about the branch’s concern

Carried unanimously

A message from Carole Duggan to all who came to Mark’s vigil

Thank you to everyone who came to the vigil called at short notice yesterday, Saturday 11 January 2014, to the vigil called by Justice for Mark Duggan outside Tottenham police station. We appealed to you to come in peace and unity, and you did that. We face an long uphill battle to win justice for Mark and your support is greatly appreciated.

The press are estimating several hundred attended the vigil. We believe it was around 1,000, far more than what we were expecting and in the face of relentless negative briefings from the authorities claiming that there would be trouble. In the event the vigil was dignified and respectful, though not without anger at how Mark has been treated. As I said at the vigil, we were there to remember Mark as he was, not as he has been falsely portrayed in the media.

The crowd at the vigil in Tottenham

We started the vigil by holding a minute’s silence for Mark. Stafford explained why the family and campaigners believe the jury inquest verdict of lawful killing was “perverse”. He ran through the inconsistencies in the police evidence, and asked: “Are they telling us that a dead man threw that gun?”

The date of the vigil was 15 years to the day since the death of Roger Sylvester at the hands of Tottenham police. Roger’s father Rupert Sylvester joined the vigil, as did representatives of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, friends of Leon Briggs who recently died in custody of Bedfordshire police, and Marcia Rigg who announced a new investigation into the 2008 death of her brother Sean at Brixton police station.

Stephanie Lightfoot-Bennett, whose twin brother Leon Patterson died in police custody in 1992, spoke on behalf of United Family & Friends Campaign. She held up the names of all those who have died in custody since 1969, quoting Martin Luther King.

Reverend Nims Obunge and Diane Abbott MP speaking at the vigil

Mark’s family are currently considering the next steps in their pursuit of answers and justice for Mark. Jennifer Kelleher from the Justice for Mark Campaign announced a public meeting to present Mark’s case to be held on Thursday 30 January, 7pm, at the Bruce Grove community house in Tottenham. “This vigil is by no means the end,” she said. “It is just the beginning of the mountain that we have to climb to get justice for Mark, in unity alongside his family and loved ones.”

The vigil ended around 3:30pm with words from local pastor Reverend Nims Obunge and Hackney MP Diane Abbott. The vigil closed with us releasing doves to remember Mark and promise to do right by him. Pamela, Mark’s mother, thanked everyone for coming. “We want justice for my son,” she said.

Leaflet handed out at Mark’s vigil

Justice for Mark Duggan

We are holding this peaceful vigil as a mark of love and respect Mark Duggan, the Tottenham dad of six who was shot and killed on 4 August 2011. We also want to show that the fight for justice for Mark will carry on.

Mark’s family, friends and supporters believe that the jury got its verdict of “lawful killing” terribly wrong. As Marcia Willis Stewart, solicitor for the family, said: “This is a perverse judgement. The jury found that he had no gun in his hand – and yet he was gunned down. For us that is an unlawful killing.”

The inquest also raised many troubling questions about the true circumstances of Mark’s death. We want answers to those questions. We will fight on to find out who was responsible for Mark’s death and hold them to account. We are calling on everyone to support us in this struggle.

Since 1990, some 1,476 people have died in police custody or following police contact, yet not one police officer has been convicted. In Tottenham the family and friends of Cynthia Jarrett, Joy Gardner and Roger Sylvester still have no justice.

get involved in the Justice for Mark Duggan campaign