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Carole Duggan demands answers as Ministry of Justice ‘loses’ file on Mark Duggan’s death

Carole Duggan speaking in Brixton last night as part of the Ferguson Solidarity Tour

Carole Duggan speaking in Brixton last night as part of the Ferguson Solidarity Tour to raise awareness of deaths at police hands

The aunt of Mark Duggan, who was shot dead by police on the streets of Tottenham in August 2011, is demanding answers from the Ministry of Justice over a missing file concerning Mark’s death.

Today’s Mail on Sunday reports that a computer disk containing the file was “lost in the post” at the ministry and is still missing. “According to some sources, the file may contain the name of the policeman who killed Duggan, as well as the identities of other officers involved,” the Mail on Sunday article says.

Carole, who is speaking at a Ferguson solidarity rally in Tottenham this evening, said: “The criminal justice system went out of its way to protect the identities of the officers who killed Mark, issuing all manner of reporting restrictions and anonymity orders in court. Now we learn that this apparently sensitive information has been ‘lost in the post’ at the Ministry of Justice.

“How did this file go missing? And why? Scotland Yard and the ministry have questions to answer if we are ever going to get to the bottom of why Mark was shot dead while unarmed and surrendering to police.”

Carole added: “I’m dismayed that the Mail and I presume the Metropolitan Police press office have used this scandal as an excuse to recycle discredited rumours and innuendo about Mark.

“It is absolute rubbish to claim that Mark ‘brandished a firearm at officers before running off’. This does not tally with any of the forensic evidence presented at his inquest. The gun was found in a sock 20 feet from his body. The only witness who says it was ever in Mark’s hands was the anonymous officer who shot him dead.”

Carole is speaking at dates on the Ferguson Solidarity Tour alongside Patrisse Cullors, a Los Angeles based justice activist and co-founder of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and several other families of those who have died in police custody.

She is appearing in Tottenham tonight (Sunday) at North London Community House, 22 Moorefield Road, London N17 6PY, and will be attending a meeting in parliament tomorrow evening (Monday) organised by Diane Abbott MP and John McDonnell MP for deaths in custody campaigners. Carole will also be speaking in Manchester on Thursday at the Hideaway Youth Project, Quinney Crescent Shoreham Close, Manchester M16 7D.

▶ The Ferguson Solidarity Tour is supported by Justice for Mark Duggan and has been initiated by Defend the Right to Protest, the United Families & Friends Campaign and NUS Black Students Campaign. To contact the organisers send an email to fergusonsolidarityUK@gmail.com. To contact the Justice for Mark Duggan campaign email justiceformarkduggan@gmail.com

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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

Carole Duggan interviewed in the Guardian

Carole Duggan photographed by Christopher Thomond for the Guardian Carole Duggan photographed by Christopher Thomond for the Guardian

Decca Aitkenhead interviews Carole Duggan in today’s Guardian newspaper. Carole speaks out against the police’s racist smear that Mark Duggan was a dangerous gangster – and warns the authorities that she is not going to stop until the truth about Mark is uncovered.

Carole Duggan interview: ‘I’m not going away and they’re not shutting me up’

Public events coming up in Birmingham and London

j4m meetings image

Riots Reframed

Thursday 28 February, 7pm
The Drum, 144 Potters Lane, Birmingham B6 4UU
Facebook event

Screening of Riots Reframed, a documentary on the 2011 riots by Fahim Alam, followed by panel discussion with Fahim Alam, Carole Duggan and others.

Justice for Mark Duggan

Thursday 6 March, 5pm
London Metropolitan University, room TM1-83,
166-220 Holloway Road, London N7 8DB
A5 leaflet as PDF

Carole Duggan, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Aaron Kiely (NUS black members officer), Jason Hackson (LMU student union president), Rob Murthwaite (London UCU equalities officer), Christina Paine. Organised by LMU UCU union branch and supported by LMU Unison and LMU student union.

Police violence, racism and deaths in custody

Friday 7 March, 5pm
SOAS, room G2
Thornhaugh Street, London WC1H 0XG
A5 leaflet as JPG

Carole Duggan, Imran Khan (Doreen Lawrence’s solicitor), Fidel Santigi (Riot From Wrong) and others. Organised by SOAS student union, Justice for Mark Duggan and Defend the Right to Protest.

Stand up to racism and fascism

Saturday 22 March, 11am
assemble Parliament Square, London SW1P 3BD
Facebook event
More details

National demonstration against racism and fascism from Parliament Square to Trafalgar Square. There will be a Justice for Mark Duggan bloc on the demo – come and join us!

Campaign launched at 200 strong community meeting in Tottenham

Fidel Santigi speaking at a #justice4mark meeting, 30 Jan 2014

The Justice for Mark Duggan campaign launched in public last night at the North London Community House in Tottenham. Up to 200 people attended through the course of the evening and heard about the struggle to uncover the truth about Mark Duggan’s murder.

Speakers included Carole Duggan, acclaimed poet Linton Kwesi Johnson and video activist Fidel Santigi of Riot From Wrong. All spoke about the long history of lies, cover-ups and media distortions associated with cases of death in custody or following contact with the police.

Mark’s family and friends condemned the media for its failure to critically examine the police narrative in cases of death in custody. Throughout the evening we heard moving words from Mark’s friends, many of whom have suffered further injustices since his death on 4 August 2011.

Zita Holbourne, Glenroy Watson, Jenny Sutton pledge support for Mark

Trade union activists were also there, including Zita Holbourne from the PCS, Glenroy Watson from the RMT and Jenny Sutton from the UCU. They promised to campaign for solidarity with Justice for Mark Duggan among their fellow workers and in their unions. Diane Abbott MP sent a message of support to the meeting.

Speakers from a different backgrounds highlighted the commonalities of their struggles against state violence, racism and austerity. They all underlined the need for solidarity between all those struggles to take them all forward.

The meeting took place at a Turkish and Kurdish community centre near Bruce Grove station. Activists from those communities spoke of their experience of police repression, and how they fought it by campaigning based on principles of unity across struggles against the violence of the state.

#justice4mark meeting, 30 Jan 2014

Joy Gardner’s mother Myrna gave a damning account of how determined police and media could be to deny the reality of the racist deaths at the hands of the authorities. Jim Curran from the Irish Civil Rights Association spoke about the experience of the Irish community during the 1970s.

Becky Shah from the Hillsborough Justice Campaign gave an emotional account of how insidiously the press conspired with South Yorkshire Police to demonise working class Liverpool fans, beginning their cover-up while bodies were still warm.

Marcia Rigg, whose brother Sean Rigg died in police custody in 2008, said that consistent campaigning could win out over bullying from press and police. At the end of last year the Rigg family forced the Independent Police Complaints Commission to reopen a criminal investigation into Sean’s death.

Carole Duggan speaking at a #justice4mark meeting, 30 Jan 2014

The meeting closed with Carole sharing a letter from an anonymous source that detailed the systematic use of police informants by the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Trident. The letter alleged that Mark’s death was linked to police attempts to protect one of their major informants. “That is what Trident do: they pay people to infiltrate communities, black and Asian communities,” she said. “I believe this is why Mark was killed.”

Winning justice for Mark will not be easy. The first battle will be to undermine the barrage of myths and lies surrounding who he was and how he died. Justice for Mark Duggan has produced a mythbuster card laying out just some of the facts: justice4mark.com/myths.

Statement from Diane Abbott MP

Diane Abbott

Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North & Stoke Newington, sent this message to last night’s launch meeting of the Justice for Mark Duggan campaign in Tottenham.

My apologies that I cannot be with you this evening.

The anger that followed the death of Mark Duggan was a build-up of resentment at persistent negative interactions that the black community face with the police and the justice system, from disproportionate stop-and-search to deaths in police custody.

Following Mark’s inquest verdict I held a large public meeting in parliament. The most telling speech meeting was not from one of the many lawyers or experienced activists present: it was from a young woman wearing school uniform who protested at the use of stop-and-search. She said that she and her friends had been harassed by the police since the age of 11. And she wanted to know what could be done.

The trust of young people like her are crucial in fighting crime. But instead of viewing the police as her protector she sees the force as her tormentor. As a disadvantaged group black people are more likely to be affected by crime than be the perpetrators of it. But we remain overpoliced as citizens and underpoliced as victims.

The inquest verdict has brought serious concerns and justified questions. These should not be framed as some kind of disrespect for the judicial process. The law allows for questions and challenges through appeals and judicial review. If the law itself recognises that it is not always correct, then we have not only a right but a duty ensure that its decisions equate to justice.

Let us not forget that had it not been for the Lawrence family challenging a legal ruling – and not only that but leading a campaign to change the law itself – two of Stephen Lawrence’s killers would not have been brought to justice.

I stand ready to support Mark Duggan’s family in any way that I can.

Diane Abbott MP

30 January 2014

Mark Duggan: myths and facts

Mark_myths_front_draft1mark_myths_back_draft2

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.”

Mark’s family to launch justice campaign at public meeting

press release for immediate release, 7pm, 29 January 2014

7pm, Thursday 30 January 2014
North London Community Centre, London N17 6PY

Speakers include: Carole Duggan, Becky Shah, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Marcia Rigg,
Zita Holbourne

The Justice for Mark Duggan campaign holds its public launch meeting in Tottenham this Thursday evening. Trade unionists, justice campaigners and Tottenham residents are will join members of Mark’s family to demand answers about the circumstances of Mark’s death at police hands on 4 August 2011.

Around 1,000 people came to a recent vigil for Mark organised by the campaign outside Tottenham police station. The public meeting is the next step in an uphill struggle to find out how Mark died and to hold any police officers responsible to account.

Speakers at the launch meeting include Zita Holbourne from the TUC race relations committee, which is supporting the campaign. She says: “It is of great concern that the jury in the Inquest reached a verdict of lawful killing despite also concluding that Mark Duggan was not in possession of a gun when shot dead. Challenging injustice and racism is a responsibility for us all, including the trade union movement.”

The meeting will challenge some of the myths and slurs peddled against Mark, including claims by a police officer at the inquest that Mark was among “48 of Europe’s most violent criminals”. Becky Shah, whose mother died at Hillsborough, says: “Police used the same processes to cover up the Hillsborough disaster and Mark Duggan’s death: distorting facts, lies, collusion, stigmatisation and demonisation of victims. We want justice for all those who have died through contact with the police.” Becky will be speaking at the Justice for Mark meeting.

The family campaign has already won support from staff at the College of North East London in Tottenham. They recently passed a UCU union motion expressing concern “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”. They have pledged to raise these concerns with Tottenham MP David Lammy.

Other supporters of the campaign include families fighting for justice and accountability themselves. Marcia Rigg, whose brother Sean died in police custody, said: “When a family’s loved one is killed at the hands of the state, one would expect honest answers and transparency, followed by justice and accountability where there is wrongdoing or corruption found. Unfortunately it’s not that clear cut. A strong campaign of mass public support is vital for any family in our position, since the system is designed to fail us. We must stand firm and fight on for the truth: that is what ‘no justice, no peace’ means.”

Acclaimed poet Linton Kwesi Johnson will also be making an appearance at the launch of Justice for Mark Duggan. Linton’s poems include Licence Fi Kill, about deaths in police custody.

for information contact justiceformarkduggan@gmail.com