Mark Duggan
Assistant police commissioner Mark Rowley was nearly drowned out by the cries of angry protesters following the jury's decisionReuters

Police were faced with a furious backlash outside the High Court after a jury ruled Mark Duggan was lawfully shot by police in August 2011 despite being unarmed.

Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Mark Rowley's attempts to make a statement was met with cries of "murderer" and nearly drowned out by shouting from the crowd following the conclusion to the inquest into Duggan's killing.

One protestor was seen approaching the police spokesperson on the steps of the court to shout "who killed Mark Duggan?" at Rowley directly.

A jury ruled that Duggan, whose death triggered the August 2011 riots in Britain, was lawfully killed by police but did not have a gun in his hand at the time he was shot. They ruled it was more than likely he threw it from the vehicle before he was shot.

The officer who shot Duggan twice claimed he saw him holding a pistol in his right hand as he stepped out of a minicab after been pulled over by police and was ready to fire.

Speaking outside the court, Rowley said: "No officer sets out at the start of the day to run an operation that results in someone dying. So our sympathy today is with Mark Duggan's family. They have lost a loved one.

"But the task our officers face in making split-second decisions when confronting armed criminals means there is a risk - a very small risk - that this will happen.

"Armed criminals have shot dead more than 50 people in London in the last three and a half years. We send out well-trained, professional armed officers thousands of times a year to combat this threat, only firing shots once or twice. These careful tactics have significantly reduced gun crime.

"It is significant, then, that a jury of Londoners, who have seen and heard all the evidence, have concluded that not only was the operation to stop Mark Duggan in the taxi conducted in a way which minimised to the greatest extent possible recourse to lethal force, but that Mark Duggan had a gun, and also that our officer had an honest and reasonable belief that Mark Duggan still had the gun when he shot him.

"We know the trust is not shared by everyone. I will be offering to meet Mark Duggan's family to express our sorrow. And we will continue working with local leaders to strengthen relationships. We know it will take time."

Mark Duggan
Pamela Duggan, Mark's mother, wipes a tear after a jury concludes her son was lawfully shot by policeReuters

Tottenham MP David Lammy was one of those who criticised the "perplexing and seemingly contradictory" verdict.

He wrote on his website: "My thoughts are with the family of Mark Duggan this evening. This inquest has been an exhausting and emotional process for all involved and the family will tonight feel that they are no closer to achieving justice for Mark.

"This was a ten-person jury that heard over three months of evidence, testimonies and expert accounts and took seven days to reach a decision.

"The issues have been thoroughly discussed and debated, and the jury's findings should be respected.

"Despite this verdict, the reputation of the Metropolitan Police has not emerged unscathed. The jury found that a number of key errors were made by Operation Trident and SOCA officers in the hours leading up to the shooting. There are fundamental and lingering issues that the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation - now re-opened - must attempt to clarify."

Carole Duggan, Duggan's aunt, told reporters that he was "executed" by police.

"We're going to fight until we have no breath in our body for justice for Mark," she added.