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'Black men wrongly perceived as dangerous'

VERDICT DISCUSSION: Mark Duggan was 'lawfully killed' by police in 2011

BLACK MEN are being unfairly targeted by police because they are perceived as dangerous, according to a panel of community activists and legal professionals.

The statement was made at a public meeting organised by Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP Diane Abbott at the House of Commons to discuss the inquest verdict that Mark Duggan was legally killed.

Matthew Ryder QC said that police use deadly force disproportionately on black men because of a wrongly held perception.

He said: “Every woman with a black son has the fear that their child would be perceived as more dangerous than they are.”

Abbott, who had been criticised by the Conservatives for using social media to say she was "bewildered" by the inquest conclusion, said the community needed answers and to find a way forward.

The Labour politician said: “Too many times I have spoken to mothers who said goodbye to their son in the morning and the next thing they heard is a call from the police saying their son has died.

“If you have done this as often as I have, you will understand why I had to stand up and call this meeting.”

Duggan’s aunt, Carole Duggan, and the family’s lawyer Marcia Willis Stewart were present.

Also in attendance was Islington councillor and former chair of Operation Trident, Claudia Webbe, along with community activists and other legal professionals.

Ms Duggan described the verdict as a "punishment" on the family and slammed inaccurate media reports of the events that unfolded in court when the verdict was delivered.

The panel called for further examination of the jury decision that police held an honest but mistaken belief.

The inquest coroner Judge Cutler yesterday revealed his intention to further examine "evidence" and "issues" following the "lawful killing" conclusion of the inquest and is inviting suggestions from interested parties.

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