Serious concerns – many of them still unaddressed – were raised about the events leading up to those fateful few moments. Why, for instance, was the officer who fired the fatal shot the only witness who says he saw Mark Duggan holding a gun? What led the jury to conclude that the police could and should have gathered more intelligence before stopping the car Duggan was travelling in? Why was that car – a crucial piece of evidence – moved by police officers in the hours after the shooting? Why was there no officer in charge of the crime scene for more than 48 hours?
So now the family is expected to put its faith in the IPCC. But few people in Tottenham, black or white, have any faith in this organisation’s ability to be thorough, fair and impartial. The IPCC has faced much criticism during the inquest and the family believe that this criticism has been well-earned. During the inquest the IPCC’s mishandling of the crime scene was revealed, including the fact that it gave permission for the mini-cab to be removed before investigating officers had even looked at it or had it forensically searched for evidence. It further transpired that the IPCC failed to respond to crucial independent witnesses, even those who tried to respond to their own urgent witness appeals. The IPCC has chosen not to explore the possibility that the gun was planted at the spot it was found, even though it was 7m from his body and two independent witness gave the IPCC statements – and later testified – that they had seen an officer remove a gun from the mini-cab some minutes after Duggan had been killed. But the most crucial reason why the family and local community will have no faith in the IPCC’s investigation is that its lead investigator, Colin Sparrow, revealed to the inquest that he knew Duggan had not fired any gun long before the IPCC began briefing the media that he had shot at police first. It is one thing for the IPCC to have made the mistake, but it still took three weeks to correct a “fact” it knew to be false; and in those intervening days Tottenham, and many other areas, burned.
I’m sure the delay of more than two years in completing the inquest had nothing to do with the circumstances of Duggan’s death.