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'We want justice for Mark'

KILLED: Mark Duggan

THE FAMILY of police shooting victim Mark Duggan have vowed to seek justice for his death.

Speaking at the emotionally-charged launch of the Tottenham Defence Campaign last week, the 29-year-old’s brother Sean Hall said: “Our family has been ripped apart. We want to stay strong, but it’s hard. We all miss Mark and his death is still so fresh. We will strive to get through this together but first we want justice."

Hall said that despite being initially let down by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) who is investigating his brother’s death, he was giving them a chance “to prove to that they are truly impartial and truly independent.”

Duggan, a father-of-four from Broadwater Farm, in Tottenham, was travelling in a taxi on August 4, 2011, when he was pulled over and shot dead by an officer from The Met Police’s specialist firearms unit.

Early reports from the IPCC claimed Duggan shot at police sparking a wave of media coverage about his connections to local gangs.

This was later proved to be false.


DEMAND FOR JUSTICE: Members of the newly launched Tottenham Defence Campaign at last week’s press conference. (standing from left to right) Semone Wilson, Rupert Sylvester, Patrick Jarrett, Floyd (seated from left to right) Sean Hall, Sheila Sylvester, Stafford Scott, Myrna Simpson, Michael Jarrett

“To this day we still don't know how many bullets were fired” Hall said. “My brother was a good man. He was no angel. I am no angel. What I do know is we are normal people. The fact that such incorrect things were published in the media so early on bewilders me. It's about time we got justice for these situations. To me, justice means something needs to change.”

He went on “We were told there was 31 police officers involved in the sting on my brother. I call it an assassination. What could Mark have ever done to deserve this, please tell me? He had no criminal record. As far as we know, he was not wanted by the police. Why did it happen? We were told this police officer was scared.

What was he scared of? Was this police officer adequately trained? If not, who's at fault for putting him out there? Are the police here to serve and protect? Or are they just the biggest gang on the road?”

Hall said the family were cooperating fully with IPCC but expressed concern that they were told the organisation’s officials only wanted to communicate with them in writing.


GRIEVING: Mark Duggan’s fiancé Semone sheds a tear while his brother Sean Hall looks on

Hall said: “I told my solicitor I want to see body language and I want to see facial expressions. On a weekly basis, we want to be reported to. We want this to be a turning point. We want this to set a judicial precedent. Let’s have the IPCC get this right and prove to this community, to this nation and internationally, that this is a civilised country and that we can come to the right conclusions.”

FAMILIES

Hall was representing one of the four families – all from Haringey –who have lost loved ones at the hands of the police.

They attended the meeting to renew their calls for justice on the 26th anniversary of the death of Cynthia Jarrett.
Jarrett suffered a heart attack after being pushed over in her Tottenham home by police officers looking for her son.

Her death sparked the 1985 Broadwater Farm riots triggering comparisons to Duggan’s death which has been cited as a cause of the August riots. They started outside Tottenham police station and spread across the UK.

Also on the panel was Myrna Simpson, the mother of Joy Gardner, a 40-year-old Jamaican over-stayer who died after she was bound and gagged by police during an arrest in 1993 and the parents of mental health patient Roger Sylvester who suffocated after being improperly restrained by Met Police officers in January 1999.

Community activist Stafford Scott, 51, said: “Stop and think. Where have you ever seen such a similar picture: four families living within a three-mile radius of each other who have all lost loved ones at the hands of the Metropolitan Police Service, three of whom have still not received justice. This is my community's pain. This is our reality.”

Scott played a key role in creating the Tottenham Defence Campaign which will provide legal advice to those involved in the riots, educate people on the proper procedures for things like stop and search and monitor the police.

Scott said: “We should not and, we will not, stand for it.”

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