Saturday, 19 November 2011

Shock! Horror! The Met have been telling porkie pies

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) have been investigating the circumstances surrounding Mark Duggan's death and their report is due early next year.  The Guardian newspaper have obtained excerpts which reveal that there is evidence he "was not holding a gun at the time he was shot.". 

The Guardian reveals that the gun which was recovered at the scene did not contain forensic evidence which could be linked to Duggan.  Critically it also revealed that the weapon had not been used and was not in his possession at the moment he was killed. 

While possessing a firearm is a criminal offence in the UK, there is a judicial process which must be followed and the ultimate sanction is a custodial sentence.  The UK does not have the death penalty as a punishment.  This flies in the face of anyone who attempts to explain away the actions of the police that day with the suggestion that this operation can be justified. 

I am just about old enough to remember the storm which surfaced almost 24 years ago when three unarmed IRA members were shot dead in Gibraltar in March 1988.  Then as now, a debate ensued which questioned whether the actions of British authorities in Gibraltar, in the form of SAS agents, had the law on their side when they opened fire on three unarmed people suspected of plotting a criminal act. 

Later that year it was ruled that the agents had acted lawfully but the decision was seen as hugely controversial at the time.  It was also the subject of an ITV documentary called "Death on the Rock".  The programme makers, Thames Television, angered the UK government with the broadcast, the consequences of which eventually resulted in the company losing their licence to broadcast at the end of 1992.

Interestingly the Guardian's revelations came just a few days after Tottenham MP David Lammy called for the officer involved in the shooting to be suspended pending the outcome of the IPCC investigation. 

"The officer involved in the Mark Duggan case hasn't been suspended and is still working...members of the community I represent find that quite incredible."

I find it incredible too, but on two levels.  Firstly it is a rare moment when I find myself in agreement with the ineffective local MP, and he is right to call for the sanction.  However I also find it incredible and hypocritical for him to use this platform now.  Lammy you may recall was busy condemning disorder in his constituency than showing any real conviction to ask any questions of the police.  This was of course a marked contrast with the actions of community leaders such as Stafford Scott who were asking these valid questions in the immediate aftermath of Duggan's death.

I warned in August that many were making a terrible error taking the Metropolitan Police's version of events at face value.  I highlighted previous examples and suggested that everyone needed to look at the circumstances in the context of remembering that we were dealing with a police force who had a colourful history of dishonesty and deliberate attempts to mislead the public.

An awful lot of people had far too much to say about Mark Duggan three months ago.  As the truth slowly emerges from that tragic Thursday summer's evening, their increasing silence serves as a stark reminder the next time anyone attempts to rush to endorse a shooting executed by the most corrupt police force in the land.