Victim's family condemn riot
Sunday 07 August 2011
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The family of a man shot dead by police say they "are not condoning" the riots and looting that rocked their local area last night.
The trouble flared up in Tottenham, north London, two days after Mark Duggan, 29, was gunned down.
It followed a peaceful march by members of the local community demanding "justice" for Mr Duggan's relatives.
Mr Duggan's brother's Shaun Hall told Sky News: "We're not condoning any kind of actions like that at all.
"It seems to be the press who are generally saying that it is linked to my brother. OK some questions were supposed to have been answered, they weren't answered, therefore there was a domino effect from that, we don't condone that at all.
"I know people are frustrated, they're angry out there at the moment, but I would say please try and hold it down. Please don't make this about my brother's life, he was a good man."
He said that the family is "devastated" at his death.
"We're all devastated about the mishap, we don't actually know what has actually happened. I suppose that is what is the most grilling thing for us at the moment.
"Nobody's has actually come forward and told us 'this is what has taken place'. Whether we believe what they're saying or whether we don't, there should be somebody here putting my parents' minds at rest about whatever's going on.
"The whole family's devastated. We don't want Mark portrayed as some kind of gangster, he was a family man, as you'll see from the true pictures that you'll see of him now."
He dismissed as "utter rubbish" the allegations that he had shot at police
"My brother's not that sort of person. He's not stupid to shoot at the police, that's ridiculous."
Scotland Yard said 26 police officers were injured during the unrest and 48 people were arrested for offences including violent disorder, burglary and theft.
A major investigation has been launched, codenamed Operation Withern.
The riots were roundly condemned as the shocked community surveyed the devastation caused.
Community and political leaders were swift to criticise the rioting, looting and arson that swept through the area after the mood at the protest turned nasty after dark yesterday.
Buildings and vehicles including a double-decker bus and two police cars were engulfed in flames. Their burnt out shells remained in the High Road today.
Local residents were left destitute after being forced to flee their burning homes, and looters went on the rampage in Tottenham Hale Retail Park half a mile away, smashing shop windows and grabbing whatever they could.
Teenagers and adults were said to have turned up in cars and filled their boots with stolen items, unimpeded by police, while others stuffed shopping trolleys with electronic goods. Every single handset was stolen from a mobile phone shop.
Downing Street labelled the rioting "utterly unacceptable", while Home Secretary Theresa May said: "Such disregard for public safety and property will not be tolerated."
Local MP David Lammy said the community "had the heart ripped out of it" by "mindless people", many of whom had come from outside Tottenham to cause trouble.
Speaking from behind the police tape in the High Road today he said: "What happened here on Thursday night raised huge questions and we need answers.
"The response to that is not to loot and rob. There are homeless people standing back there.
"We have officers in hospital, some of whom are seriously injured. It's a disgrace. This must stop."
Cries of "the police want to see the place burn" greeted Mr Lammy's speech.
The sense of anger at what the rioters and looters had done was clear among the local community today.
Nadine Knight, 24, who works in administration at a planning and architecture firm, said: "I'm completely and utterly disgusted by what the community has managed to do here.
"They need to come together a bit more and help the community, not damage it. I'm so upset, I can't believe it."
Christian Macani, 22, who works in environmental sciences, asked a question that was on the lips of many in his neighbourhood this morning.
"What does this achieve?" he said. "They can't get away with this, can they? They've achieved absolutely nothing. It's a joke."
But others voiced the fury that had fuelled the disturbances.
An 18-year-old man, who did not want to give his name, voiced the sentiment he said was shared by many.
"Police know what they should have done, they should have come to speak to the community themselves," he said. "They don't care."
But the anger and frustration went beyond what had happened on Thursday night, he indicated.
"You don't get no opportunities around here," he went on. "The police stop you because you're black. They stop you because you're wearing a hood.
"Me, I've been stopped so many times in my whole life for no reason."
Commander Adrian Hanstock said a peaceful demonstration had been hijacked by a "small number of criminal elements", using it for their own gain.
Paul McKeever, Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, meanwhile paid tribute to the officers who had faced "extreme lawlessness and danger".
Firefighters attended 49 blazes in the Tottenham area and were threatened as they tried to put out fires.
Chairman Brian Coleman said: "It is simply unacceptable that fire crews were threatened when they were trying to help protect local people. This mindless violence against firefighters has to stop."
The air was still thick with acrid smoke today as firefighters continued to hose down smouldering buildings.
Broken glass and debris carpeted the road and plumes of smoke billowed into the sky.
Commander Hanstock said police had been monitoring social networking sites throughout the day and appealed to anyone with information about crimes last night to inform the force, adding that it was clear the community "absolutely resent the intrusion into their lives and damage to their livelihoods".
The crime scene was "enormous" and would take some time to work through, he said.
"It is clear that those who have committed these awful crimes do not represent the community," he added.
Asked about rumours that a 16-year-old girl had been hit by police during the troubles, Commander Hanstock said: "We are still looking into that. There are conflicting responses to what that incident was. We want to concentrate on the scene, getting the area back to normal."
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