The Hard Stop: Mark Duggan's best friend says 'one day police will tell the world what actually happened'

Marcus Knox-Hooke features in new documentary that examines how a community lived through the riots and rebuilt their lives

Marta Portocarrero
Thursday 14 July 2016 12:30
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The Hard Stop on cinema on July 15

If Knox-Hooke ever had the chance to have a face-to-face conversation with the police officer who killed Mark Duggan on 4 August 2011, he would simply ask what made him shoot.

“I would say to him: what made you shoot? Did you feel threatened? He would give me his answer and I then I would just say: You need to apologise to the family”, he told The Independent.

Five years after the lawful killing verdict of an unarmed man, Knox-Hooke still hopes that police will tell the real story behind his best friend’s death:

“Look at the result of the Stephen Lawrence’s case or Hillsborough, these things tend to come out after a certain amount of years. So, hopefully, one day is sitting down and he thinks: ‘You know what? I need to tell the world what actually happened’”.

The Hard Stop, a new documentary on Mark Duggan, whose shooting by police triggered the wave of riots that swept the UK in 2011, is coming out in cinemas on July 15.

George’s Amponsah’s latest film follows the journey of Marcus Knox-Hooke and Kurtis Henville, two of Duggan’s childhood friends over 24 months until his lawful killing verdict in 2012.

In August 2011, after a peaceful protest in front of Tottenham Police station - where Duggan used to live - Knox-Hooke was filmed attacking a police car when the demonstration turned into the riots that spread across the country.

“When saying that I started the riots, obviously I did, but I always have to address that it wasn’t something that I was proud of because a lot of innocent lives were affected”, he said.

Five people died and more than £200m of damage was done to businesses and property during the riots. Knox-Hooke was later charged with inciting the violence and sentenced to over two years in prison.

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“I felt that I went to jail for a just cause in my heart, because you [police] killed my boy, he wasn’t willing to fight and this is your way of getting back at me, which is a coward move as far as I’m concerned”, Knox-Hooke said.

The film also follows the struggle of Duggan’s friend Kurt Henville to rebuild his life after the 29-year-old’s death.

Throughout the filming process, director George Amponsah learned that - regardless of their backgrounds - Marcus and Kurtis have an impressive courage and capacity to change. Although he stresses that he never wanted to do a “whitewash job” on the Broadwater Farm estate community.

“We never wanted to present them [Marcus and Kurtis] as two boys scouts. When you watch the film you can see the rough edges. They don’t try to hide it and I don’t think we’ve done that either in terms of editing decisions”, he said.

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