Armed police to wear cameras after verdict on fatal '11 London shooting
January 10, 2014, 12:17 am TWN
LONDON -- Armed police in London will wear video cameras to record their actions, the force said as it sought Thursday to calm tensions over the inquest into the fatal shooting of a man by firearms officers.
Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe was due to meet with community leaders to discuss Wednesday's inquest verdict that the 2011 killing of suspected gangster Mark Duggan was lawful.
Duggan's family reacted with fury to the verdict and vowed to continue fighting for justice for the father of six, whose death sparked nights of rioting across English cities.
Hogan-Howe welcomed the inquest jury's decision but acknowledged the shooting had led to a “significant reduction in trust between London's black communities” and police.
Efforts had been made to improve relations, he said, for example by reforming the use of stop and search so it no longer disproportionately targeted men from ethnic minorities.
“But we need to do more, much more, to improve our relationships with black Londoners,” he said.
He added: “We'll begin a trial this year in which firearms officers are issued with body-worn video cameras to record the actions of officers and those they are dealing with.
“We want to see if this is an effective way to record evidence and ensure public confidence.”
Police are braced for protests in Tottenham, the deprived area of north London where Duggan was shot, but a demonstration late Wednesday dispersed without any trouble.
Supporters had reacted angrily to the inquest verdict after the jury concluded Duggan had had a gun when police stopped the taxi he was traveling in but threw it out of the vehicle seconds before he was gunned down by a police marksman.
The coroner in the inquest accepted that the jury was faced with a “stark problem” because police officers' notes contradicted video evidence from the scene about the location of the gun.
Duggan's brother shouted obscenities at jurors as they left court while other supporters screamed “murderers.”
In highly charged scenes outside the court, Duggan's aunt, Carole, said he had been “executed” and vowed to fight the verdict, but on Thursday she called for calm.
“This has got to be dealt with the right way, through the courts,” she told BBC radio, saying the family wanted to see “no more demonstrations, no more violence.”
“We will have to fight this, go through the struggle peacefully, through the right channels, to get justice,” she said.
Police believe Duggan was a member of one of Europe's most dangerous gangs, but he had never been convicted of a major offence.