Investigative artists Forensic Architecture uncover new evidence in 2011 police killing of Mark Duggan

The Killing of Mark Duggan by Forensic Architecture © Forensic Architecture

A detailed technical report published for the first time yesterday by the Turner Prize-nominated art and research group Forensic Architecture into the shooting of 29-year-old Mark Duggan by police in Tottenham, north London in 2011 could prompt the official investigation to be reopened.

The shooting sparked some of the biggest riots in modern English history, resulting in five deaths and more than 3,000 arrests over the course of four days in August 2011.

Originally commissioned by the lawyers representing Duggans family, Forensic Architecture has spent the past year producing a video investigation and virtual reality environment using witness testimonies, videos and images, hand-drawn plans and expert reports to examine the moments surrounding Duggans killing.

Their findings, first reported in the Guardian newspaper, now cast doubt over the 2014 inquest, which returned a lawful killing verdict, as well as undermining the conclusions of the Independent Police Complains Commission (IPCC), which in 2015 found that Duggan had been holding a gun and had thrown it into the grass more than seven metres away as he was shot twice.

According to a letter sent on 5 June, the Independent Office for Police Conduct says it is currently assessing whether the new reports provide “compelling reasons” to reopen the investigation.

Forensic Architecture's 3D modelling of the moment Mark Duggan was shot and killed by police Forensic Architecture

“We feel the evidence is certainly compelling,” says Bob Trafford, a researcher for Forensic Architecture. He says that the worldwide protests following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of US police has made their research all the more urgent. “We were working on the final production parts of this film and we were hearing chants of Mark Duggan's name on the streets again during the Black Lives Matter protests. We wanted to support that,” he says.

Key to the new findings is a report by the biomechanics expert Jeremy Bauer, who estimates that, “in order for a gun of that weight to land seven metres away, it would have had to have been thrown at an angle of 31-40 degrees at around 6.7m per second”.

During the inquest, V53, the officer who shot Duggan, described in detail the gun in Duggans hand. However, he also said he did not see Duggan throwing the firearm. As the officer put it himself: “It would clear up a hell of a lot of stuff if I was able to say yes, I saw the gun fly through the air and it landed wherever. But I didnt see it.”

Is it possible, therefore, he could have missed the firearm being thrown? In a bid to find out, Forensic Architecture recreated the whole scene in VR, finding that “in each scenario, the required throwing motion would have been clearly visible to V53. In fact, it is unlikely that Duggan could have physically made such a motion”.

What is more, in his forensic pathology report commissioned by the IPCC, Derrick Pounder says: “I cannot conceive of how Duggan might have thrown the gun. It is unlikely that Duggan could have thrown the gun after he was shot in his arm.”

There are two remaining scenarios, according to Forensic Architectures report. The first is that Duggan threw the gun as soon as he got out of the minicab in which he was stopped; Forensic Architecture calculates that just 1.5 seconds elapsed between Duggan leaving the vehicle and being shot twice and killed. The secRead More – Source