The family of Mark Duggan, whose death in Tottenham sparked the 2011 riots across England, were left devastated as an inquest jury decided he was not holding a gun when shot by police, but nevertheless found the marksman’s decision to open fire was lawful…
The lawful killing verdict was a surprise to some even on the police side, and more so as before announcing the decision, the jury had announced by an eight-to-two majority that they were sure Duggan did not have a gun in his hand when shot.
That had seemed to be the issue at the heart of the inquest.
The jury delivered a narrative verdict, answering a series of questions. It had appeared that the six days of deliberations were going to produce a disaster for the Metropolitan police when the jury found law enforcement had not done enough to gather and react to intelligence Duggan may be seeking to acquire a gun.
Instead the jury announced that by an eight-to-two majority they believed the firearms officer had acted lawfully in gunning Duggan down.
2 thoughts on “UK Jury endorses police killing of unarmed black man”
I think it’s important to note, that – as I understand it from listening to quite an extensive report yesterday – the jury were instructed by the judge that they should decide whether or not they thought the police marksman responsible for the shooting genuinely believed that Mark Duggan was carrying a gun at the time that he shot him. They were also explicitly told that the officer might have believed this, even though it was indeed the case that Duggan was not armed. If the jury thought the marksman did genuinely believe this, then the verdict they had to reach was lawful killing. In other words, the jury don’t get to decide on what counts as lawful killing; they only get to decide, given a set of narrow criteria handed down from on high, whether or not a lawful killing took place.
This, of course, doesn’t make the matter any less terrible.
That calls for another riot.
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