On Friday 21st March, around 60 students attended a ‘Justice for Mark Duggan’ meeting at Kings College London, in which his aunt – Carol Duggan – spoke about the blatant lies of the corrupt police and the capitalist press. KCL Marxists report on the meeting and the Mark Duggan case, which has exposed the injustices of the bourgeois state.
On Friday 21st March, around 60 students attended a ‘Justice for Mark Duggan’ meeting at Kings College London, in which his aunt – Carol Duggan – spoke.
Alongside Carol, a supporter of the campaign – Fidel Santigi – also spoke. He has spent a lot of time investigating the strange irregularities of the police’s case and has come to the conclusion that, without doubt, this is another example of a police cover-up, involving collusion and misinformation.
Inconsistencies and lies
Santigi pointed out the ways in which the police’s story has changed considerably from the first information they gave out, which has since been exposed a lie. He and Carol both pointed out that before even informing Mark’s family of his death, an unknown person from the police put out a press release that a ‘gangster’ had been killed by police acting in self defence in Tottenham, thus shaping the way in which the media have reported the entire case since then, despite this story being false. He recounted in detail the inconsistencies and lies, which have been exposed one-by-one as they’ve come into contact with reality.
Carol Duggan gave an outstanding speech of determination and courage. She is well aware that it may take 20 years to fully clear Mark’s name, just as it did for the family of Stephen Lawrence, and she and Mark’s family are prepared to fight for that long. For that reason she represents a danger for the police and the British establishment, hence the disgusting smear campaign against her in newspapers like the Daily Mail. Richard Littlejohn, surely the vilest expression of petty-bourgeois reaction in the service of the ruling class, has revealed the racism and class hatred underpinning the justification of police violence in a disgustingly prejudiced article about Carol and Mark Duggan.
However, the vitriol of Littlejohn’s comments only express the fear of the establishment at Carol’s militancy, as she pointed out in the meeting. Fidel added that one never hears mention of Mark Duggan’s execution when the 2011 riots are spoken about, despite it being the cause of the latter. The ruling class are scared of the anger and militancy this revealed from both black and white working class youth and want to de-politicise the events as much as possible.
Corruption of the police; ties to the media
Carol pointed out many other details of the case which the public will not know about. The driver of the cab Mark was in when the ‘hard stop’ which led to his death was carried out, was by his own account treated as a criminal and deliberately prevented from witnessing the events. He was violently pulled out of the cab and thrown to the ground. A police officer sat on his back, handcuffed him and pushed his head to face away from the scene. A gun was held to his head and he was told not to turn around or they’d ‘fucking shoot him’. This cabbie did not know Mark and is in no way involved in the campaign – he is an impartial witness.
She also said that the police officer who shot Mark, ‘V53’, was shielded from the court as much as possible. However, when Mark’s family did manage to get to watch his cross-examination, V53’s account was so slick and so seemingly choreographed, included moments in which he shed tears in an excessively dramatic fashion, that she couldn’t help feeling that he was an actor and not the real murderer.
What is undeniable is that the police, as a key part in the state’s apparatus of coercion, have their own interests and are well versed in protecting themselves, closing ranks and using the media. The phone-hacking scandal has revealed their close and corrupt ties to the media, and we shouldn’t think they end at phone-hacking.
A supporter of Socialist Appeal in the audience commented that these facts, highlighting the way in which the media deliberately only showed the top-half of a photo of Mark – taken at his daughter’s memorial – to make him appear menacing when he was actually grieving. In combination with other recent accounts of media manipulation for reactionary ends – the Hillsborough disaster and Orgreave battle come to mind – these facts show how “freedom of speech” is the freedom of the rich and powerful to spin news the way they want it.
The law – in whose benefit?
The same speaker also made the point that the reason the jury, despite finding that the police lied that Mark had a gun on him when he was killed – and thus could not have been a threat to police as they claim – found the killing to be lawful, reflects nothing other than the way in which the law has been deliberately contrived to allow the police to get away with murder.
The law is written so that police murders are ‘lawful’ so long as they have acted in accordance with their beliefs – not with reality. Evidently, their beliefs do not have to be justified, because the same jury which found these ‘beliefs’ to be false – he did not have a gun and posed no threat – still found the killing lawful purely on the basis of the blatantly unjustified ‘belief’ that they were in mortal danger.
Carol reiterated this point, and she added that it is absurd to suggest Mark pulled a gun on what were over 30 armed policemen pointing their guns at him. To do so is a guaranteed way to get shot. The reality is, as the only independent witness testifies, that Mark had his hands up when he was shot.
Carol thinks he was killed because the police have a longstanding grudge against Broadwater Farm estate, where Mark was from. This is a highly politicised estate where the local community is known for resisting police oppression. But it is also the estate where in 1985 PC Keith Blakelock was killed in riots.
In Carol’s opinion Kevin Hutchinson-Foster, the drug dealer who apparently sold a gun to Mark just minutes before he died, in reality was used by the police to incriminate a popular local man from Broadwater Farm estate whom they wanted rid of. The police maintain contact with many underworld men, such as this, who sell guns to others. They are used by police to stitch up people they want to be rid of. She asked the question why, if Mark was wanted for possession of a gun, which they could only know about through Kevin Hutchinson-Foster, did they not go after this seller of the gun, who was also in possession of more guns, who was already a convicted criminal and whose whereabouts were known to police, instead of Mark?
Undermining the Establishment
The reality is that Mark Duggan was executed by police with an ingrained hatred of black men from Broadwater Farm estate. They went to arrest him and probably already had the desire to find some excuse to kill him.
The ongoing campaign to reveal the truth may take a long time; but we can be confident that eventually the real, scandalous truth will out, just as it has done with the Lawrences. And this truth will be another blow to what lingering illusions some working class people hold in the police and wider establishment of capitalist Britain. Ultimately, the struggle against police violence and injustice exposes the biased nature of the bourgeois state. It is the struggle for socialism.