London riots: 4 key questions

Violent riots and looting across London resulted in burned-out buildings and hundreds of arrests. What were the origins of London’s conflagration?

What sparked the riots?

Lefteris Pitarakis/AP
British police officers stand guard as a car, set on fire by rioters, burns in Hackney, east London, Monday, Aug. 8.

The catalyst for the riots was the death of Mark Duggan, who was shot by police in Tottenham – a district in north London where race riots erupted in 1985.

Many of the details about why Mr. Duggan became involved in a clash with police and what happened are fuzzy, the Guardian reports. What is known is that Duggan grew up in Tottenham and was on his way home in a cab on Thursday night when police approached him. Initial reports suggested that Duggan shot first, hitting a police radio, but later reports said that the bullet lodged in the radio was a police-issued bullet.

Reports indicate that Duggan may have been linked to the local Star Gang and to other north London gangs, according to a Guardian profile. He was under investigation by a police unit that oversees gun crimes in the black community.

However, his relatives denied that Duggan – a father of three – was involved in gangs and said he was a family man who would not have shot at police.

1 of 4
of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.