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Hundreds gather for Mark Duggan's funeral

FUNERAL: Hundreds gathered today to pay their respect.

CARRYING FLOWERS, hundreds of people have packed into a North London church for the funeral of Mark Duggan, whose death at the hands of the police sparked recent riots across Britain.

The funeral, which was scheduled for 11.00 am this morning (September 9), comes just over a month after the father of four was shot dead by police in Tottenham on August 4.

Duggan's cortege left the family home in the north London borough and travelled through Broadwater Farm to the New Testament Church Of God, Arcadian Garden, Wood Green in north London.

Duggan’s chrome plated casket arrived in a horse drawn carriage.

At the church, those paying their respects jammed into the pews – several wearing all white - while a large crowd gathered outside.

SEND OFF: Horse drawn carriage carried Mark Duggan's coffin today.

UNITED IN GRIEF: The brothers of Mark Duggan, Shaun Hall (left) and Marlon Duggan (second left) lead his funeral cortege as it makes its way to the New Testament Church of God in Wood Green, north London.

SAY IT WITH FLOWERS: Floral tribute to Mark.

FRIENDS AND FAMILY: Mourners arrive at the church.

FAREWELL: Mourners comfort each other.

The order of service showed that there would also be tributes from Duggan’s sister-in-law, Michelle Palmer Scott, his partner Semone Wilson and his sister Karen Hall. His brother Shaun Hall is to read a scripture and his cousin Donna Martin will do the obituary.

There were also key words attributed to officiating senior clergyman, Bishop Barrington Burrell and supported by Duggan’s family, which called for answers over Duggan’s death and for a change in attitudes from both the police and the black community.

Burrell said: “According to a recent report, young black people in Tottenham are already six, seven, eight times more likely to be stopped and searched than their white counterparts. The rift between the police and black youth apparently continues to widen and the problems have escalated into what David Cameron recently called the slow motion moral collapse in society.

"The latest eruption of violence which swept the country and looting by opportunists, sparked off by the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan,…was unprecedented.

“Angry responses from genuine people may be understandable but this kind of negative reaction is unjustifiable. However at this particular point in time, the tragic circumstances under which Mark Duggan died is still a mystery. There are various conflicting media reports about the incident, which apparently further aggravate the situation.

Need for answers

“Mark’s parents and his family, community leaders and the public as a whole have raised grave questions which need pertinent answers. There needs to be a fair and independent inquiry that will hopefully produce the truth regarding what occurred on that lamentable day.”

He continued: “I cannot preempt the outcome of the IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) inquiry. Neither can I condone or condemn anyone because I do not have the relevant information to draw any calculated or intelligent conclusions. However, I do believe drastic remedial measures need to be taken as a matter of urgency in order to restore some degree of sanity to our society.

“The government should be absolutely aware that proposals to withdraw benefits from convicted rioters or their parents may only highlight the problem. The solution process involves strategic thinking and planning, listening, understanding and acting appropriately on the priorities already identified in one of the most deprived areas of London.”

Call for positive paradigm shift

He concluded: “It also requires a positive paradigm shift both on the part of the police and the community. On the one hand, the police respectively need to change their attitude towards the black community and the black community also need to change their attitude in response to the police. In either case, the value of human life must be paramount. Mutual respect is crucial to the peace, harmony and hope for a brighter tomorrow.”

Duggan will be buried at Wood Green Cemetery, Wolves Lane in a ceremony planned for 2.00 pm.

The 29-year-old, who was stopped by police while a passenger in a minicab, received two fatal bullet wounds in a pre-planned operation to arrest him.

It was initially claimed that Duggan had fired at police, but the IPCC, the police watchdog, later confirmed there was no evidence that the father-of-five opened fire on officers from the Met’s specialist firearms team, CO19.

Duggan’s death triggered the explosion of rage that later developed into the riots that first erupted in Tottenham on the night of August 6.

Anger erupted after the police were said to have mishandled how they informed Duggan’s family of his death and also reportedly ignored participants in an earlier peaceful protest, led by Duggan’s family members and others, that gathered outside the Tottenham Police station.

The riots later spread to neighbouring boroughs in London such as Enfield and Hackney.

They then grew rapidly into a free-for-all three-day melee of looting and property destruction that quickly spread from London to other cities across Britain.

SHOT DEAD: Mark Duggan

Public condemnation of the destruction, including appeals for calm from the Duggan family and other community leaders, heavy court sentences for looting and a heavy police street presence eventually helped end rioting and looting on August 9.

The police have since apologised for the way it handled Duggan’s family, who claimed it took a day and half for the Met to formally notify them of his death - and even longer to assign them with a family liaison officer.

In a statement last month, the Met said: “We are very sorry for the distress that has been caused to the family of Mark Duggan, especially because of the way in which his parents became aware of his death,” the statement read. “It is always challenging when the police service has to ensure that an investigation is totally independent of them in order to sustain public confidence, and on occasion errors then occur in the hand over.

“Although immediate members of his family were told of Mr Duggan's death, we accept that we did not inform his parents and it is clear that there are lessons that can be learned both by the MPS and the IPCC in this case,” the statement continued.

The IPPC is still investigating Duggan’s death. The full inquest into Duggan's death has been postponed until December 12.

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