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'We will not give up until we get justice'

PROTEST: Mark Duggan family calls for justice at anniversary march

ANGER, GRIEF and a stubborn determination to find justice defined the peaceful solidarity march to mark the third anniversary of the death of Mark Duggan who was fatally shot by a police marksman.

The Duggan family was joined by friends, supporters and other families whose loved ones died while in police custody, at the protest yesterday (August 4).

Mark’s aunt Carole Duggan kicked off the demonstration at his birthplace – the Broadwater Farm estate - with an emotional speech in which she accused the Metropolitan police of "harbouring criminals”.

She said: "The police cannot keep getting away with murdering our community members. They have been killing black people in this country for many many years. They have not stopped. They are doing it more blatantly, on the streets.”

The march, she said, was about setting the record straight about who Mark really was. The father-of-six, she insisted, was a "peace-loving, family man".

"Today," she added, “We are going to remember Mark for who he really was, not who the police, the judicial system and the media portray him to be.”

The demonstration grew in strength and number as it moved through the streets of Tottenham. Mark’s mother Pamela, driven in a car in the midst of the chanting procession, was in tears.

“No justice, no peace! Who are the murderers? The police are the murderers! Who covers them up? The IPCC [Independent Police Complaints Commission]! Who lets them off! CPS [Crown Prosecution Service]!”, the crowds chanted.

The roar drew out curious residents as police officers ahead and alongside the march cleared a path towards the spot in Ferry Lane, where the 29-year-old was shot.

There was a minute of silence for Mark at the site of the incident, followed by speeches from other families who are fighting for justice.

Marcia Rigg, whose brother Sean Rigg died in Brixton police station on August 21, 2008, after being held face-down by officers, said: “We will stand firm with this family. I know how hard it is, but the trick is to never give up.”

Rigg, whose relentless battle for justice resulted in an independent review of her brother’s case, which found that the IPCC’s initial investigation was flawed and led to the reopening of the case, said she praised the decision to charge the police officer involved in the shooting of Azelle Rodney.

She added: “This is because his mother for nine years would not give up.” She warned: “That is the first one and the rest of us are coming right behind. It is going to be a domino effect.”

Kadisha Burrell-Brown, sister of Kingsley Burrell who died after being detained under the Mental Health Act in March 2011, spoke out against his delayed inquest.

She said: "Three years on and we are still waiting for the inquest. This fight isn’t easy, but when you know a loved one has gone through what they have gone through you have to do it."

Burrell-Brown added: “There is an almighty God and I will not stop the fight for justice.”

Myrna Simpson, mother of Joy Gardner, who died in July 1993, after officers forced her face down, sat on her body, bound her hands to her side with a leather belt and manacles, strapped her legs together and wound yards of surgical tape round her head, gave a tearful description of what happened to her daughter.

“Joy was not a criminal. They had her for five days in the hospital stinking, my daughter was stinking in Whittington Hospital…wrapped in foil to fake that she was breathing, but when I saw her I knew she wasn’t alive.”

She added: “It is so painful to know that I have been fighting for 21 years for justice for Joy, but I will fight until I die.”

Janet Alder, sister of Christopher Alder, a trainee computer programmer and decorated war veteran who is thought to have died in horrific circumstances in a police cell at Queen's Gardens Police Station, in April 1998, also spoke about her ordeal.

She said: “This is a long hard struggle, but the only thing they got against you is time, and when you lose somebody the way we have lost people, time is of no essence.”

Amidst the tributes, Carole Duggan made a heartfelt appeal for witnesses to come forward.

She said: “We believe Mark was executed and we are appealing for witnesses to get in touch. If you don’t want to speak to the IPCC, who we know are not fit for purpose, we have a hotline number where you can speak to any member of the campaign.”

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