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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Interesting feature on the radio this morning on the 10th anniversary of the riots.

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Unfortunately it was the usual indulgent nonsense you'd expect from Eddie Nester and the BBC. Trying to turn the whole thing into a civil rights moment. Mark Duggan was painted as some kind of martyr rather that an armed drug dealing felon. Rioters were painted as downtrodden victims of oppression rather than opportunistic rioters, looters and arsonists. Not much mention of all those responsible, law abiding young people who stayed away.

Thanks for the reminder Devon Williams. Though we will need to agree to differ about the radio programme.

Can I please mention that for people who may not know, 4th August 2011 was the date of the killing of Mark Duggan. The riot began on the evening of 6th August 2011, following a peaceful demonstration by Mr Duggan's  family and friends outside Tottenham Police station.

Also for people who may not be aware of it, there was an independent investigation by "Forensic Architecture" (FA) which describes itself as a:
"research agency, based at Goldsmiths, University of London, investigating human rights violations including violence committed by states, police forces, militaries, and corporations." 

There's a video on FA's website here.

I don't think it can or should be dismissed. Like FA's other investigations I see it as an honest attempt to reach further towards the truth.

Forensic Architecture's investigation was reported in The Guardian - which worked together with the London School of Economics (LSE) to carry out an extensive, wide-ranging and detailed investigations into the riots across England including extensive interviews.
I ought to know - but don't - how people can easily access this material online. It's vital they can. Zena Brabazon and I went to various events about the riot and bought and downloaded two of the LSE publications. (Unfortunately when she upgraded to a new PC the Digital Rights software made them unreadable.)

The list of investigations by Forensic Architecture is very lengthy. So where to begin? When in doubt I favour the maxim "Begin anywhere". My own random pick was:
"The Extrajudicial Execution Of Ahmad Erekat". It's another deeply disturbing example. But shows the careful, evidenced and detailed work of the Forensic Architecture team.

That video was commissioned by 'Lawyers for the Duggan family'. I'm not normally one to reference the daily mail but they're spot on here in their description of Mr Duggan et al. 

I wonder, have you looked at the video closely? Have you viewed any of the other Forensic Architecture (FA) investigations? Are you suggesting  that FA would have disregarded (or worse) any evidence which would have been unwelcome to the family's lawyers?  Had they done so don't you think their reputation would have been severely if not permanently damaged?

Just to be clear I am not down playing the rioting, arson and looting. Nor the fact that Mark Duggan appeared to have had a gun. Nor am I suggesting that he was a saint.

But we live in a society which still has the Rule of Law. And Courts which listen to the evidence before as fairly as possible deciding on the appropriate course of action. And without  considering which verdict the Daily Mail would prefer.

Shouldn't we try to hold fast onto that? 

There was an inquest which found there was no unlawful killing. No conspiracy, no execution, no racism, no perversion of justice, just the shooting of a drug dealer who was waving/throwing a gun around on his way to either conduct or facilitate the murder of another person.

That's what we should hold fast to. That, and the fact that we're lucky to live in a country where people like that are pursued legally by the police. It's a tragedy for his family but a tragedy thay was self created and much less of a tragedy than would have occured had his gun been used to kill an innocent person.

Yes, Mark Duggan was pursued legally by the police. Yes, I can understand they understood he was armed. But it does not seem that he emerged from the minicab "waving/throwing a gun around".

I don't seek to dismiss your view or change your mind. But I would ask you - and others - to consider that maybe there is a different and reasonable account of what happened.
Which Forensic Architecture has carefully put together and which can leave us better informed.

I understand where you're coming from Alan. However, I think this sort of thing suggests there was some kind of injustice. It fuels the narrative that Duggan, black people,  people from Tottenham are somehow deliberately held down by the 'establishment'. Its a divisive narrative. I have no doubts that a white gangster in Manchester for example would have been apprehended in the same way and had the same circumstances been present the outcome would have been the same.

Some young people in Tottenham now believe the police are out to get them. As a result they have a very confrontational posture and attitude when interacting with the police. Unfortunately some adults encourage this narrative. It becomes a self fulfilling prophesy. 

The majority of people in Tottenham are law abiding, responsible people who just get on with life and try to make the best of things regardless of their colour, resources or ethnicity. We have the same opportunities as others if we make the right choices.

If we in the 'community' put as much effort into being respectful and engaging with the police as they do with us then Tottenham would be even better for everyone. 

Devon Williams, I thought I used to know where I was coming from. But as I grow old either key facts change or important new facts emerge. So some of my views change too.

Not though on the question of pursuing justice.
"This sort of thing suggests there was some kind of injustice" ?

I was thinking of what I might feel if Mark Duggan had been a relative of mine. Someone say, alleged to be involved in drug dealing,  instead of being arrested when he got out of a vehicle "hard-stopped" by armed police surrounding him was, shortly after, shot and killed,  even though he was unarmed when he left the vehicle.

And suppose further that I and other family members had learned that all ten Inquest jurors agreed that he had a gun.
But that eight of the ten Inquiry jurors were sure the gun was not actually in my relative's hand when he was shot.

What was the eight jurors' explanation for the gun being found away from Mark Duggan and the vehicle?
"... He must have thrown it from the taxi before it was surrounded."

I don't find the viewpoint, "some kind of injustice"  entirely unreasonable. A view which seems to have been shared with many others.

This website
takes the facts from the Inquiry. There's a box with a link to the Inquiry Jury's key findings where anyone can read more.
You wrote and I agree that:
"The majority of people in Tottenham are law abiding, responsible people who just get on with life and try to make the best of things regardless of their colour, resources or ethnicity".

You added that:
" We have the same opportunities as others if we make the right choices."
I'm glad Devon Williams, if that describes your own life experiences. It's not mine or everyone's. But let's agree to differ on that point.

Apology for my silly error. Or as you knew (but not every reader here may), I was referring to the ten person INQUEST JURY. This was presided over by a judge and delivered its verdict in January 2014.

What are you suggesting Alan? That the police planted the gun after they shot Duggan? Think about the comspiracy that would require. Not one corrupt police officer but a whole unit, their colleagues and spouses? All getting their stories straight and not breaking during the IPCC investigation? That sort of thing might have happened years ago (and still happens is some countries) but not here and not at the time of Duggan's death.

I think what is more likely is that he was either waving the gun around or attempting to throw it away to hide the evidence when he was shot. Both actions would appear very threatening to an armed police officer worried that he, his colleagues or a member of the piblic could be about to be shot by Duggan. The shooting was noone's fault except Duggans. 

I think most people will save their sympathy for the victims of the drugs and violence that Duggan and his gang supplied. I'm guessing that the man who Duggan's gun was alleged to be intended to kill or intimidate is quite relieved as well.

Having a hard start in life is no excuse for serious criminality and extreme violence. To suggest otherwise is unfair on the majority of us who work hard and honestly to help ourselves and family out of poverty.

I do appreciate your posts Alan and like to read them to consider other viewpoints. They are intelligent, informative and well intentioned but in this case I can't agree. I worry that perpetuating the idea that Duggan's death was anyone's fault but his own is divisive and drives a wedge between young disadvantaged people in Tottenham and mainstream society. There are criminals and those with extreme political views that will seek to take advantage of that division and further imperil the life chances of those young people. Wr need to break that cycle Alan. We need to promote the numerous positive role models like the snall business owners, teachers, police officers, doctors, tradesmen and women, armed forces personnel, social workers who hail from disadvantaged backgrounds and not publicise the doings of Duggan and his ilk.

You speak a lot of sense Devon Williams. 



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