“Gangster salute for a fallen soldier.” That was the Daily Mail’s headline over its report of Mark Duggan’s funeral of last week. The police shot Mark in Tottenham in August, sparking nationwide riots.
The Mail ran a picture of mourners with outstretched arms in what it called a “gangland” salute.
The Daily Express suggested the fact that the fact people were “dressed in black”—at a funeral—showed they were gangsters. But the whole tale was a complete fabrication.
The mourners raised their hands when the bishop leading the funeral asked people to “stretch our hands towards the casket and thank God for Mark’s life as he begins his heavenly journey.”
More than 1,000 people attended the funeral. Wreaths on the horse drawn hearse read “grandson”, “son” and “dad”.
Twenty cars followed the hearse to the church from the Broadwater Farm estate. As they left people came out of their flats to pay their respects.
The Mail’s report continues, “there was no escaping the murky past of Mark Duggan—the suspected gangster”.
But this accusation centres on a gun police say they found in the taxi where they shot Mark. His relatives say the Independent Police Complaints Commission has told them that his fingerprints were not on the gun.
Smears have been directed at those who have faced trial so far over involvement in the riots.
Home secretary Theresa May said, “I’m absolutely clear that what underlay it was criminality. Three-quarters of those arrested have criminal records.” But this figure is only for over 18s—not the hundreds of children arrested.
And it is because the police have been using DNA evidence—getting matches from people who are already on their database, even for minor crimes.
Defence campaign activists in Tottenham are continuing to distribute legal advice on the estates.