‘THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING – WE HAVE TO CARRY ON FIGHTING’ – Carole Duggan tells vigil

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CAROLE DUGGAN and MARCIA RIGG lead the march through Tottenham on Monday night
CAROLE DUGGAN and MARCIA RIGG lead the march through Tottenham on Monday night

OVER 300, mainly youth, shouting No Justice! No Peace!, marched through Tottenham on Monday evening to Ferry Lane, the place where Mark Duggan was killed.

They demanded an end to the killings and that police be prosecuted for the murder of Duggan, and all the others who have been killed by British police over the years.

Led by the Duggan family and Sean Rigg’s sister, Marcia, the crowd shouted: ‘Dirty Babylon. What dem Name! Dirty Babylon. Who murdered Mark Duggan. Who murdered my brother! Police and P53 murdered my brother.’

Joining the Vigil were the families, of Joy Gardener, Cherry Groce, Cynthia Jarrett, Roger Sylvester, Christopher Alder, and others, along with representatives of Unite, PCS and RMT. Winston Silcott who was framed for the murder of PC Blakelock also spoke.

A minute’s silence was held on the spot where Mark was ‘executed’ on August 4th 2011.

Carole Duggan, Mark’s aunt, said: ‘We are here to remember all of those who have died at the hands of the police, the institutions, the psychiatric units, the prisons, the police cells everywhere our people are being murdered.

‘So this minute’s silence is for them. Marcia Rigg’s brother, Sean Rigg, was murdered in Brixton Police station in 2008. We also have Myrna Simpson the mother of Joy Gardner.

‘There was no uprising on the back of these deaths like there was over Mark’s, and if there had been no uprising for Mark, his death would have been swept under the carpet along with thousands of deaths in custody.

‘There have been over 9000 deaths in custody since 1969 and not one officer has ever been held account. We want P53’s uniform taken off him, we want him to stand in the dock in civilian clothes and be charged with murder, as we would be if we had murdered somebody on the street.

‘Azelle Rodney was executed in a “hard stop”, like Mark. Azelle Rodney was shot dead in 2005, eight times, five times in the head. Could that be accidental!

‘Mark was shot in the heart. Was that an accidental death! Six months after Mark was executed, Anthony Grainger was shot in Manchester with exactly the same injuries as Mark. Is that an accidental death!

‘We also have Kingsley Burrell’s family from Birmingham. Kingsley was also murdered in Birmingham. Was that an accidental death!

‘We also have Jordan Bentley, from Manchester. He was tazered to death in his own home with 101 bruises over his body and a black eye. Was that an accidental death!

‘The list goes on . . . Cynthia Jarrett, Joy Gardner, Cherry Groce, Roger Sylvester. All of these were “accidental deaths”. Too many, too often! They have been killing black people in this country for years. Now they kill them on the street and in broad daylight.

‘What do we do? Sit down and accept it?

‘Have the police ever accepted PC Blakelock’s murder? Why should we accept Mark’s murder and all of the other murders! Mark’s mother has asked for a moment’s silence for all of those sons, daughters, brothers and sisters.

‘The cover-up started the minute they murdered Mark. Mark was unarmed. Yet the inquest found it was a lawful killing.

‘Judge Cutler, the inquest coroner had eight concerns about Mark’s death. He was concerned because when Mark was murdered, the 10 o’clock news flashed that he was a gangster in a shoot-out, had shot the police and was then shot dead.

‘That was purposely done, in order to put the “fear of God” in any potential witnesses that may have seen Mark getting executed.

‘We are appealing again, please, for witnesses to help us get justice. If you don’t want to speak to the IPCC, who are not fit for purpose, we have a hotline to any member of the campaign.

‘The Coroner was also concerned about the “hard stop”. In the Azelle Rodney case the police said there was no filming, but as the family dug deeper, they discovered the films from this “hard stop”.

‘Is it not suspect that the police only started filming after Mark’s execution, from the point of CPR, and not from the beginning.

‘Another coroner’s concern was police collusion. All of the officers were allowed to sit in the same room for eight hours.

‘IPCC officer Colin Spurrow, who has been a cop for 30 years, was heading their investigation. With a mere verbal warning, “Do not collude”, and he left the eight in that room!

‘The cab that Mark was in was silver, but these officers said it was gold. Is that not collusion! Three high court judges believe us and showed “concern” about police collusion. So now all they say is “It shouldn’t happen”.’

She continued: ‘This is only the beginning. We have to carry on fighting. We really need these witnesses to come forward. Please do not be afraid. We are not the gangster family the media portrayed.

‘We are an ordinary working class family, and if the police can do this to Mark they can do this to anybody’s son, daughter, mother or father. They have been doing this for years. They are not going to stop until we stop them.

‘If you think Mark’s death was harrowing, let me introduce you to others.’

Marcia Rigg, whose brother, Sean Rigg, was murdered in Brixton police station, gave her condolences and said: ‘I completely share your pain. It must be so hard to lose your son. I have lost my brother.

‘But Mark’s death is not in vain. We will continue this long journey. The community and Mark’s friends are here and that will give us strength. The trick is never to give up.

‘If Stephen Lawrence’s family hadn’t fought all those years, those two wouldn’t be in prison now. My lovely brother died on the 21st of August 2008 – six years since they murdered him. Sean was arrested by police in 2008 who responded to 999 calls by the hospital staff where Sean lived because he suffered from mental illness. The system had put him in there 20 years prior, and he couldn’t come out of that system.

‘When he came out into the street that day, he was actively psychotic, evidence from everybody was that he was extremely unwell.

‘He left the hostel at 7pm and at 7.40 he was arrested by four Brixton Police officers. He was restrained for a period of at least eight minutes, in a prone position, face pinned down into the grass. You tell me if you can breathe if somebody does that to you.

‘Someone in a top flat took two pictures which showed officers holding his neck, clearly he is being searched, his shoes have been removed and his passport is on him. They arrested him for theft of his own passport, even though it was cancelled. They alleged they didn’t know who he was.

‘In the back of a police van the officers claimed that Sean was on his back, but the jury found that he was in a V position which compromised his breathing.

‘They sped to Brixton police station, not a hospital, and had him in the police yard for 11 minutes. CCTV footage showed officers going back and forth and looking in the van. Sergeant White claimed he did a risk assessment giving details of how Sean was sitting up on the chair, that he had looked Sean directly in the eye.

‘Eventually they removed Sean out of the van, in a collapsed state, heavily assisted by two police officers. He wasn’t dead but he was dying. They said Sean just wanted to sleep.’

‘They claimed they didn’t recognise he had a mental illness, they said they thought that he was mute, it’s absolutely ridiculous!

‘Eventually, the jury showed them up with a damaging narrative verdict that the police actions contributed to his death. They were not allowed to return a verdict of “Unlawful Killing” by the coroner.’

Janet Alder, down from Yorkshire, spoke, saying: ‘It’s good to see so many families here, because it is a long hard struggle. Many people here will remember Christopher Alder, who was left to die like a dog on the floor of the police cell with his trousers and shorts down to his knees.

‘I had always believed the system was going to do the right thing, and then I came up against the Crown Prosecution and the police. What a shock I got!

‘I met up with many others whose families have been killed by the police, and this is murder, it’s not a case of people dying for no reason, the police are brutally killing people, shooting people because they have got impunity!

‘None of them have been held accountable. Well, we need to hold them accountable. We will stand and fight!’

Winston Silcott said: ‘We have to stand firm and stand together and make sure that the system doesn’t get away with it.

‘Because they have a way of drawing out things and they think people will just go away and the struggle willdie a death.

‘So people here today, let’s don’t make this a one off thing, a march and vigil. We have to continue this fight. And make sure the system doesn’t get away with it.

‘Make your voice be heard. The Home Office or whatever bodies, they need to hear your voice. Because at the end of the day if you are silent they think they have won.

‘Trust me, I went through the battle myself, and basically I thought it was just me and my family. But within them four walls I had pen and paper. I wrote to everybody. I wrote to Gorbachev and it did bear fruit.

‘Because some people have their own axes to grind, have their little beefs, and back in those days Russia was the enemy.

‘And one day I was looking in a newspaper and I saw my name come up where Gorbachev had used my case as an example to show that the British Justice system was violating human rights So this is not in vain and don’t give up the fight.