Mark Duggan’s family, relatives of other black men killed in custody, and one of the UK’s most senior black lawyers have called for a public inquiry into policing in Britain.
Duggan was shot twice on 4 August 2011 in Tottenham, north London, after 11 specialist firearms officers stopped the minicab he was in on suspicion that he had an illegal firearm. While no gun was found on him, a handgun in a sock was discovered on grassland about four metres (14ft) from his body.
Campaigners are calling for an investigation after it was reported that the man who passed a gun to Duggan before he was killed by police in Tottenham was not arrested weeks earlier, despite evidence he was known to officers and had used the same weapon in another attack.
Following a three-and-a-half-year investigation into the killing of Duggan, 29, the the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) cleared armed officers of any wrongdoing, saying it was likely that he was in the process of throwing away a handgun when he was shot.
In its 500-page report released in March, the IPCC called for urgent improvements in the accountability of undercover firearms operations after finding that a lack of audio or video material “made it difficult, and on occasions impossible, to know with absolute certainty what happened”.
Campaigners say there are deep problems with Operation Trident, which investigates gun crime in London’s black communities. Carole Duggan, Duggan’s aunt, said her family had “ample evidence” that police had misled an inquest into his death.
“A public inquiry is the only way to find out whether or not senior officers from Operation Trident have been colluding with armourers, that they provide protection to, to put guns on to the streets of London, so that they could then arrest those receiving the weapons,” she said on Sunday.
She said her nephew was the victim of a sting operation that went tragically wrong. “Mark was not a gangster,” she said. “He was not one of the 48 most dangerous men in Europe. He was just an ordinary working-class family man, coming from an ordinary working class family. We have to speak for him as Mark has no voice, because he was executed.”
Courtenay Griffiths QC called for a broader inquiry into policing in Britain. He said it needed to cover six points: the use of undercover officers; the use and protection of informants; the use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to allow for surveillance; deaths in custody; the use of lethal force by police; and the supervision of police operations that might affect minority communities.
He said: “For the first time in my historical memory we have a Tory home secretary in Theresa May who is not afraid to take on the police and in particular the Police Federation.