A peaceful demonstration over the police shooting of a 29-year-old man sparked widespread looting and violence.
|Image of Mark Duggan from the “RIP Mark Duggan” Facebook page with more than 17,000 followers|
A watchdog investigating the fatal shooting of a man by police, which sparked three days of rioting and looting across London and other British cities, said there was no evidence a handgun retrieved at the scene had been fired.
Reports initially suggested 29-year-old Mark Duggan had shot at police.
“At this stage there is no evidence that the handgun found at the scene was fired during the incident,” the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said in an update on last Thursday’s fatal shooting in Tottenham, north London.
Duggan’s family said they were “completely gutted” by the findings and called for “answers” from the police.
Duggan, a father of four was travelling in a taxi when the vehicle was stopped by police carrying out an arrest as part of a Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) operation against gun crime within the black community.
The IPCC said that two shots were fired by one firearms officer, and a post-mortem examination revealed that Duggan received a gunshot wound to the chest, which killed him, as well as a second gunshot wound to his right bicep.
A bullet was found lodged in one of the police officers’ radios and a non-police issue handgun was also recovered from the scene.
Ballistics tests have now revealed that the bullet lodged in the radio was police issue, “and, whilst it is still subject to DNA analysis, it is consistent with having been fired from” a Heckler and Koch MP5 gun used by the police.
The IPCC commissioned tests by the Forensic Science Service (FSS) who have so far confirmed that:
• The bullet lodged in the MPS radio is a “jacketed round”. This is a police issue bullet and, whilst it is still subject to DNA analysis, it is consistent with having been fired from an MPS Heckler and Koch MP5.
• The firearm found at the scene was a converted BBM ‘Bruni’ self loading pistol. This is not a replica; the scientist considers it to be a firearm for the purposes of the Firearms Act and a prohibited weapon and is therefore illegal.
• The handgun was found to have a “bulleted cartridge” in the magazine, which is being subject to further tests.
The handgun found at the scene was a converted BBM “Bruni” self-loading pistol, an illegal weapon, but it was not used in the incident, the tests also reveal. Further examination is being carried out.
“Someone must be made accountable for this,” Duggan’s family said in a statement issued to Sky News.
“We can’t believe that they can do this. In this day and age this is completely unacceptable. We are very, very angry and we want answers now from the police.”
The news confirms doubts about the killing of Duggan, which raised tensions in Tottenham, an ethnically mixed area with a long history of antagonism between local residents and the police.
A peaceful protest against his death on Saturday escalated into a riot in Tottenham, and copycat violence spread across other parts of London in subsequent days in the worst such unrest in the British capital for decades.
Scotland Yard said it welcomed the IPCC’s update.
“It is in the interest of everyone, the family of Mr Duggan, the public and the police, that the IPCC are able to establish to all the facts of the events of last Thursday so that there is a complete understanding of what happened,” a statement said.
“We appreciate that it is frustrating for people to have to wait for the outcome of the investigation but it is important that the investigation is full and thorough, and the MPS is doing everything possible to assist with that process.”
The police force revealed that the firearms officers involved in the incident in Tottenham were not currently being deployed, despite thousands of extra police officers being put on the streets of London on Tuesday to prevent further unrest.