Feature

United Kingdom: Unarmed doesn’t mean harmless

A British police officer shot and killed an unarmed black man and won’t be punished—nor should he be.

EditorialEvening Standard

A British police officer shot and killed an unarmed black man and won’t be punished—nor should he be, said the London Evening Standard. When Mark Duggan, a known gangster, was killed by police in 2011, his death sparked race riots across London, as some in the black community claimed that he was a victim of institutional racism. But an inquest last week concluded that even though Duggan was not holding his gun at the moment of his death, police were justified in viewing him as an imminent danger. At the time, Duggan had retrieved a gun and was apparently on his way to confront a man he believed had fatally stabbed his cousin. He was “a dangerous and violent convicted criminal, traveling armed,” so it is entirely appropriate that armed police were following him. Londoners can take heart in the knowledge that our police “are not trigger-happy.” Armed police were deployed in nearly 13,000 incidents in the city from 2010 to 2012, yet they fired their weapons on just four of those occasions. Would it have been “preferable” for Duggan to have been arrested rather than shot? Of course. But “nobody can be too surprised in such circumstances when criminals of this kind come to a sticky end.”

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