Watchdog barred from questioning police at Duggan shooting


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The Independent Online

The family of Mark Duggan were said to be distraught last night after watching new footage that appeared to show frantic attempts to save his life in the minutes after he was fatally shot by police.

The film, which appears to have been taken from a tall building close to the scene of the incident, showed the people carrier in which Mr Duggan been travelling surrounded by three unmarked cars used to stop it. The 29-year-old is lying on the ground as attempts were made to save his life. The shooting in Tottenham, north London, triggered nights of riots across British cities in August last year.

The new witness, who is said to have seen the shooting, is recording saying that Mr Duggan had jumped out of the car and the police shouted twice to "put it down", according to the BBC which obtained the footage.

Analysis of the recording indicates the witness, who has asked to remain anonymous, said: "They blocked him in, they blocked him in. He jumped out... And then he's taken out, shot him... because I heard them shout at him yeah, put it down, put it down."

Mr Duggan was killed by a single shot to the chest during an operation involving officers from Scotland Yard's Trident gun crime unit on 4 August last year. A gun was found close to the scene but had no traces of Mr Duggan's DNA, according a pre-inquest hearing earlier this year.

Mr Duggan's family watched the footage at home last night. Their solicitor said that they were "distraught" to see the images of the death of the father-of-four but pleased that they had come to light.

The footage also showed the air ambulance hovering at the scene and traffic continuing to go past the scene. It also showed police officers milling at the scene. The shooting is being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which confirmed last night that it had not been given the footage.

"We would just ask that witness to come forward and if the witness fells that they can't go to the IPCC, we would ask them to contact the coronor or even us," said Marcia Willis Stewart, the solicitor for the family.

She said they would go through the footage frame by frame to try to piece together what happened after the shooting.

The IPCC last night accused the BBC of potentially prejudicing its inquiry into Mr Duggan's death by broadcasting the footage and Commissior Racher Cerfontyne expressed disappointment that the corporation had refused to let investigators view the footage before showing it on national television.

She said: "The IPCC is conducting a sensitive investigation of considerable public interest. Given this, it is particularly disappointing that BBC News did not afford us the opportunity to view this footage in advance of broadcast, despite our repeated requests.

"Broadcasting this footage is likely to have caused considerable distress to Mr Duggan's family, friends and the local community in addition to potentially prejudicing our investigation and any legal process that may follow.

"We have asked the BBC to pass our contact details to the witness and would urge them to come forward. We fully expect BBC News to now pass us the unedited footage so we are able to fully assess its implications."

The IPCC has also spoken of its frustration that it has been unable to question any of the 31 officers present at the scene, prompting demands for an overhaul of the official body with the task of holding police to account. The IPCC said that the officers have submitted statements, but investigators have not been able to question them. David Lammy, the MP for Tottenham, said yesterday: "It is unacceptable that the police officers have not made themselves available for interview and it is unacceptable that the IPCC does not have the power to compel them to do so. As I have said for months now, there needs to be a complete overhaul in the powers afforded to the IPCC in order for it to be fit for purpose."

The deputy chairwoman of the IPCC, Deborah Glass, said that the body relied on the co-operation of the police, but "by and large" their lawyers advised them against being interviewed.

The inquiry into the shooting has suffered a series of setbacks and the IPCC report has been delayed until the autumn. The lead investigator on the case was forced to admit to a mistake after staff falsely said there had been a "shoot-out" before Mr Duggan's death.

The IPCC has also had to apologise to the family after admitting it let them down by failing to tell them of their son's death. The family learnt of it from television news reports. Scotland Yard also apologised for the failure.

The watchdog last month called for a change in the law when it emerged that material about police decision- making on the day Mark Duggan was shot could not be given to the coroner in charge of his inquest.