Two and half years after Mark Duggan’s death at the hands of the Met Police Firearms Unit, and three days after the verdict in the inquest into his death that returned a verdict of lawful killing to widespread bafflement and anger, up to two thousand people, including family, friends, local people, union members, students, activists and many others came together to remember his life and to demonstrate their support and solidarity to those close to him. The atmosphere was respectful, yet quietly angry and defiant, and the vigil began with a minute’s silence for Mark. Carole Duggan, Mark’s aunt, made a point of thanking those witnesses who had come forward in the inquest, and mentioned those who wanted to waive anonymity, such was their desire to see justice for the family done.
Stafford Scott talked of the ‘different generations of pain’ created by police violence, and many of those who had been killed by the police over the past thirty years were represented today by family members. Rupert Sylvester spoke about the death of his son, Roger, who had been killed in Tottenham by police exactly 15 years ago today. Marcia Rigg spoke about the murder of her brother Sean in Brixton police station, Stephanie Lightfoot-Bennet (representing UFFC) talked about the murder of her twin brother Leon Patterson and the three inquests into his death – the first one having to be aborted because the wife of the custody sergeant was on the jury. Other people who spoke included Leon Briggs’ best friend, who died only a few months ago at the hands of Luton police, a campaigner from Hillsborough Justice for the 96, a member of the Kurdish Turkish community, friends of Mark Duggan’s family and the vicar, Rev Nims Obunge, who had buried both Mark and Mark’s father and spoke of the tragedy that a parent should ever have to bury their child. David Lammy MP was noticeably absent, but Diane Abbott MP spoke briefly at the end. John McDonnell MP had previously sent his support for the Duggan family. Unions represented included the NUT and the RMT.
At the end of the vigil, as the crowd sang ‘We Shall Overcome’, the family released several doves into the air: but as Stafford Scott reminded, without justice there can be no peace.
RIP Mark Duggan.
A Justice for Mark Duggan public meeting has been called for the 30 January, 7pm, at the Bruce Grove community house, Tottenham.