‘The Met took my son’s life’

Protest in Tottenham against the police shooting of Mark Duggan in January 2014

‘JERMAINE was dead before he got into the car on 11th December 2016,’ Jermaine Baker’s mother Margaret Smith said yesterday,

She was speaking after an inquiry judge ruled that the Metropolitan Police had ‘lawfully’ shot and killed her 28-year-old son.

Baker was unarmed when he was shot dead by a Met officer during an attempt to free fellow members of the ‘Tottenham Turks’ from a prison van near Wood Green Crown Court in 2015.

Inquiry chairman Judge Clement Goldstone QC said there were ‘failings at almost every stage’ of the Met operation and described the Met as ‘institutionally defensive’.

The judge heard Met officers make the ludicrous claim that, despite having a bug in the group’s car and having obtained intelligence that the group had been unable to obtain a gun, this information had not been passed on to the firearms team.

In his ruling, Judge Goldstone claimed that he had ‘found no evidence to support a finding that race played any part in Mr Baker’s death’.

After the inquiry verdict in Fleet Street, central London yesterday morning, Margaret Smith said: ‘ Jermaine was dead before he got into the car on 11th December 2016. The judge has pointed out numerous really serious failings by the Met. He has charged them with institutional defensiveness. He has found that the Met did not take steps to minimise the risk to my son’s life.

‘The Met put my son’s life at risk and the Met took my son’s life. He has found that the whole operation was never going to have any significant impact on protecting the London public from the Tottenham Turks.

‘Running the risk that my son’s life could be taken was never justified. Jermaine’s life was taken for no good reason.

‘As I’ve always said Jermaine should have gone to prison like the rest of the men in the car. I cannot agree with the judge’s conclusion that Jermaine did not die as a result of these failures.

‘That is a conclusion that I cannot understand and the judge has not explained why he has drawn that conclusion. After seven years of waiting and two months of evidence we deserve more.

‘I have instructed my legal team to advise me regarding the option of challenging the aspect of the conclusion by way of Judicial Review. We know Jermaine was unarmed.

‘Jermaine complied with the instruction to put his hands up in the air. Jermaine’s hands were in the air. We know this from the forensic evidence. Jermaine was surrendering. Jermaine could not have done more to save his life.’