Socialist Worker

Mark Duggan inquest - officers testify that Mark couldn't have thrown gun

by Annette Mackin
Issue No. 2377

A police firearms officer told the inquest into the death of Mark Duggan that he did not see Mark throw a weapon police allege he was carrying.

A gun was found on grass ten to 20 feet away from the cab Mark was travelling in when it was stopped at gunpoint by plainclothes officers on 4 August 2011.

On Thursday of last week, Leslie Thomas, barrister for the Duggan family, asked the firearms officer only known as W42, “Did you see anything being thrown from the cab?”

“No sir I didn’t,” W42 said.

W42 was the first officer to get out of the unmarked cars to rush to detain Mark.

Thomas then said, “I’m trying to ascertain how the gun got where it did onto the grass patch.

“If we take your evidence as the truth, you say: ‘There is no way Mark Duggan could have thrown the gun from the minicab and me not see it.’ Is that your evidence?”

W42 replied, “It is, yes, because he would have had to have done it as the cab was in motion.”

Giving evidence earlier in the inquest, the officer who shot Mark claimed he shot in self defence after he saw a weapon. 

W42, who was hit by a bullet which had passed through Mark and which lodged in his police radio, claims that he shouted “show me your hands” at Mark, who emerged from the cab with his hand in his jacket. 

Hands

When Mark didn’t show his hands, W42 said he shouted “he’s reaching, he’s reaching”, as a warning that Mark was going for a gun.

Leslie Thomas pointed out that W42 did not put this in his initial statement. 

W42 said, “I didn’t believe it had to be included in the initial note.” 

Then asked by Thomas why he did not shoot when he was so close to Mark, W42 replied: “I cannot see a gun”.

The senior officer in charge of the firearms operation also gave evidence that he did not hear police telling Mark to put down a weapon. 

The officer known as V53 who shot Mark, said after the second shot that he did not see Mark’s arm go into the air. 

V53 agreed that Mark made no “jerking movement” that could have thrown the gun ten to 20 feet where it was later found.

 Ashley Underwood QC, Counsel to the Inquiry,  asked V53 why he and other officers had made “mistakes” in their statements made three days after Mark’s death.

He asked whether the mistakes were because they were then briefed by their team leader known as V59. 

The cab Mark had been travelling in was silver. V53 said it was gold and other  officers said it was bronze.

In the briefing by team leader V59 flip charts were used that described the cab as gold.

The inquest continues.


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