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Mark Duggan's sister urges police: 'Come clean!'

APPEAL TO POLICE: Paulette Hall

TWO MONTHS ahead of the anniversary of Mark Duggans death, which sparked widespread riots across Britain, one of his sisters is making a dramatic plea for the police officers involved to be charged.

But the sister, Paulette Hall, believes this will not happen because the policemen in question will not “come clean” and according to her, tell the truth.

In an exclusive interview with The Voice, Hall, 37, demanded that the officers spill the truth so that justice may be served: “We want justice. We want them to come clean and tell us what happened. The police are human like us. If you kill someone, you should do the time, just like we would have to do,” she said “If one of the youth had shot Mark, they’d be locked up. So what is the difference, because you have a licence to be armed? The result is that an innocent man has died. What hurts is the more and more we go to the inquests and we hear everything that’s coming out, it’s like, you lot [the police] are not coming clean. And you are the people that youth and big people are supposed to put their trust in.”

Duggan, 29, was shot and killed by a Metropolitan Police marksman in Tottenham, north London on August 4, 2011. The death of Duggan last summer led to days of rioting in his hometown of Tottenham and around the country. The Independent Police Complaints Commission [IPCC] initially told the media that the slain father of four had shot at officers. They were forced to later apologise when it was revealed that Duggan had not fired at officers.

Inaccurate

Hall, who works with disadvantaged youngsters, also hit out at the mainstream media for their inaccurate portrayal of her brother as a gangster.

“The first time it happened to say that Mark shot after them. Everybody was like, yeah, he got what he deserved, he was a gangster, he got what he deserved. When it came back that it was the police officer’s gun that ricocheted and went back into his radio, they stopped talking,” she complained, adding “that’s what the police gave to the media. The media were feeding on it and calling him a gangster.”


BURNING: Tottenham during the riots

An obviously grieving Hall whose pain has been made worst by the negative portrayal of her brother as a gangster continued: “And now that it’s come out, like so much people can’t even look me in the eye, but before they were like, you live by the sword, you die by the sword. Now that you’re hearing that his sword was clean, you don’t know what to say. And this is how the youth feel. Just because something is being portrayed, it gets spread and it doesn’t help them. And no matter how they’re trying to plead their innocence, because they’ve already been painted with that red bush. So no matter where they’re seen, they stand out.”

Hall has taken part in a short documentary about the life of her brother, called The Real Story of Mark Duggan, which will be shown at the Portobello Road Film Festival in September. It provides what she describes as an accurate depiction of her brother that goes beyond the falsehoods.

She recalled the horrifying moment when she learned that her brother had died. “My younger brother went to the scene and the police were saying ‘he’s [Mark Duggan] from the other side. Like a gang member, they were acting like it was a gang war thing when my younger brother got there,” Hall stated. “Even then, it just felt like the world was spinning,” she remembered, noting that in such circumstances “you’re very unsure and then someone from the IPCC had wanted to ask us if Mark had any tattoos that they could identify him by. We looked at one another and we figured, okay, he’s got the kids faces tattooed on him, so we gave them the tattoos and then the guy went and came back. But just by the way he came back, we just knew….”

Desperate

Hall has joined forces with Roadworks Media in south London to provide opportunities for youngsters who feel they have been left behind in life. She argued that a large section of youths are in desperate need of help, but hide behind bravado, for fear of being seen as weak.

The horrifying experience however, has served to widen her perspective and insight on working with disadvantaged youths.

“Since Mark’s passed away, it’s been an eye opener. Even though I’ve always worked with the youth, they are talking, but they’re really not being heard. I suppose most of them don’t even know how to fill out an application form, but because of the way they portray themselves, like being bad guys, they’re not going to ask for help. It’s not just about saying, it’s actually about doing, so we need to get up and actually put things in progress to actually help them. We’ve started a couple of apprenticeships like journalism, photography, beauty and make up. We’ve applied them to the Jobcentres and a couple of people have taken them on.”

She continued: “We’re not going to be talking at the youth, that’s where a lot of programmes are wrong. They listen to them and then don’t hear them and then they talk at them. A lot of the youth left school at 12, 13 and went to a (pupil referral) unit. They went to these units because they don’t like being dictated to. If a lot of the youth have grown up without father figures, how can a man come and want to dictate to a child that’s never had a father figure? That doesn’t make sense."

“We won’t take anybody on that’s just going to be doing this for money. We’re not even been paid, we’re just putting things in progress for funding at the moment for wherever we can get help. We’ve gone into it because we know where we’re coming from and we know where we want to go, and if us as adults are screaming out for help and not being heard, imagine how they feel.”

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