It has been a decade since the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan by a Met Police Officer. Marsha Farmer, (Mark’s cousin) speaks to us about how little has changed in society since his death.
The shooting of Mark Duggan continues to spark uncomfortable debates about Police use of force, stop and search, hard stop tactics and a list of issues that drive a wedge between the Metropolitan Police force and some black and minority ethnic communities.
The human story, and the aftermath for families left to deal with any sudden, violent death is often the story least told. 10 years on, we talk to a member of Mark Duggan’s family to find out how they are still coming to terms with what happened in 2011.
Marsha is Mark Duggan’s cousin, and she says she still feels raw about his death. Marsha begins by saying that the nature behind his death is the reason why it is still raw to this day.
“He didn’t die from an illness or an accident. He was murdered and that is such a violation of one’s soul”.– Marsha Farmer
Mark was only 29 years old when he was shot and killed by the police in Tottenham, on the 4th of August, 2011.
Following on from Mark’s death, the tension built up quickly and sparked riots all across the UK due to the outrage and anger over the nature of Mark’s death. When speaking about the riots, Martha referred to Martin Luther King and said: “riots are the language of the unheard”.
However, Marsha does not want to excuse the riots, but understands why many participated, she said: “I’m not condoning riots, but I understand the pain, anger and frustration people were feeling”. Marsha also added:
“Let’s not judge these youngsters too harshly and perhaps focus our attention on those sworn in to uphold the law, yet use their power to do immense harm”– Marsha Farmer
Marsha also said that her and her family were never informed by officials as to what happened to Mark, rather: “We were seeing and learning of the tragedy through the media’s eyes”.
Although the murder happened a decade ago, black people losing their lives to the police is still prevalent to this day, such as the murder of George Floyd in the U.S in 2020. Marsha believes it is also not just an American problem.
Despite that this unfair treatment of black communities is still happening, Marsha is not surprised by it. She believes in order for this to no longer be the case, there needs to be a major shift in society.
Marsha also commented that this is not the first time where the police have been let off the hook.
She said: “There is a history of this in this country and always the law seems to be on their side. Look how long it took for Doreen Lawrence to fight and get justice for Stephen”.
Like many, Marsha feels there has been little achieved in terms of changes to law, policing powers or legislation that have improved the situation for black people adding her final word, she stated:
“In order for this to change, laws like stop and search need to be re-evaluated or stopped because they are causing more harm to the black community”.– Marsha Farmer
She added: “Police officers need to be brought to trial and convicted of the crimes we know they committed”.
(This article was written and is owned by me, originally published on Powell and Barns Media).