Dugan – villain or victim?

Mark Duggan

Mark Duggan

TV news has carried some powerful images after a jury found Mark Duggan was lawfully killed by the police.  His family and supporters were clearly furious and, it seems, unprepared for the verdict although very organised in terms of making their protest. The senior policeman who tried to make a statement was howled down by a mob shouting “murderer”.  I think he showed poor judgement in even attempting to speak in that situation. He would have been damned if he spoke and damned if he remained silent.

There are questions the TV news did not answer.

Was Mark Duggan:

*     A kind family man and father who loved his six children, supported his wife, worked hard and paid his taxes? Or

*     A hardened criminal, a member of a vicious street gang and a gun runner?

The police clearly think the latter and there was a time when I would have accepted the police line without hesitation. However, I am afraid the police have demonstrated a tendency to close ranks and to conspire to protect their own.  That makes it harder to fathom the truth here.  I heard ex-commissioner Ian Blair say that Duggan was a member of a feared Tottenham gang.  No-one seems to have countered this so I think I have to accept it.  It also seems that Duggan was carrying a gun and it went missing, a few feet from the scene of the shooting, before he was shot by the policeman. In my book, someone who carries a gun and who has known criminal connections is a threat to society and runs the risk of dying by the gun.

That brings me to the community in which Duggan lived.  Broadwater Farm gave us the riots of 1985 after a police suspect’s mother died during a police raid on his home. During the riots, PC Keith Blacklock was hacked to death with a machette and a colleague PC was badly injured by a mob.

The shooting of Mark Duggan set off a terrible round of riots and destruction to community and private property.

I suppose we are all holding our breath to see what follows the recent judgment on the shooting.

What is clear to me is that the Broadwater Farm estate is a breeding ground for drugs, guns, gangs and hatred of the police and of lawful authority.  It is not the only such location by any means but it is a focal point. I doubt if anything can be done to dissipate its impact on law abiding people so I think it has to be erased and its occupants relocated to where they can do less harm.

About Keith R Mitchell CBE

Qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1967. Pursued a successful career in financial training and publishing until selling his interests in 1990. Elected a County Councillor for the Bloxham Division in 1989. Leader of Oxfordshire County Council 5 November 2001 to 15 May 2012. Chairman of the South East England Regional Planning Committee July 2002 to July 2005. Chairman of the South East England Regional Assembly July 2005 to July 2008. In HM the Queen’s 2007 Birthday Honours, appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in recognition of services to local government.
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4 Responses to Dugan – villain or victim?

  1. Ian Reissmann says:

    Keith asks the question:
    Was Mark Duggan:
    * A kind family man and father who loved his six children, supported his wife, worked hard and paid his taxes? Or
    * A hardened criminal, a member of a vicious street gang and a gun runner?

    Unless we have adopted a policy of summary execution (as opposed to a fair trial) of those the police have identified as the latter I think this rather misses the point. The point is: did the police officer shoot because he was genuinely in fear of his life (as he claims), or was this simply an execution (as the family and others fear). Keith is right to be concerned that it is becoming increasingly difficult to accept police evidence as truthful. Cases such as Ian Tomlinson and Andrew Mitchell both (in their very different way) show that police officers seem to be able act improperly with impunity. While I believe these cases are rare and that the police generally act responsibly and in the public interest, there are exceptions which must be fully prosecuted in order to avoid the problem Keith highlights.
    This is a key part of a solution to the mistrust of the police and a return to policing by consent – as opposed to the Keith’s poorly thought through and simplistic solution to what he sees as the problem.

  2. It is good to hear, briefly, from people like Ian Reissmann. When people ask me if I miss being Leader of the Council or a County Councillor and I remember people like Reissmann who were fully paid-up members of the awkward squad, I can honestly say “not in the least”.

  3. Ian Reissmann says:

    Thank you Keith for your thoughtful response to the points I raised in my posting. It’s always good when politicians consider the issues rather than descending into name calling and ad hominem attacks which I’m sure you find as unhelpful and distasteful as I do.

  4. Hi, maybe i’m being a off topic here, but I was browsing your site and it looks exceptional. I’m writing a blog and trying to make it look neat, but everytime I touch it I mess something up. Did you design the blog yourself? Could someone with little experience do it, and add updates without messing it up? Anyways, good information on here, very informative.

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