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Mourners gather for funeral of London man whose death sparked riots

By the CNN Wire Staff
A burned building in the riot-hit London neighborhood of Tottenham on August 7, 2011.
A burned building in the riot-hit London neighborhood of Tottenham on August 7, 2011.
  • NEW: Hundreds of mourners attend the funeral in north London
  • NEW: The son of a woman whose death sparked a 1985 riot says people mistrust the police
  • Duggan died after an incident involving armed police in north London
  • A peaceful protest over his death two days later turned violent, sparking riots
  • London
  • Riots

London (CNN) -- A funeral took place in London Friday for Mark Duggan, the father of four whose death after his cab was stopped by armed police led to protests that expanded into four days of rioting.

A horse-drawn cortege processed through the streets from his parents' home in the north London neighborhood of Tottenham to the church in nearby Wood Green where the ceremony was held, with many mourners on hand.

Duggan, 29, died on August 4 from a gunshot to the chest after a police unit that deals with gun crime stopped the cab that was carrying him.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is still investigating the circumstances around his death and said Thursday that it "is far from reaching any conclusions."

A peaceful protest in Tottenham two days after his death turned violent and rioting spread to other parts of London and other English cities over the following days.

Michael Jarrett, 47, from Tottenham was among hundreds who turned out to pay their respects to Duggan and his family.

In 1985, Jarrett's mother, Cynthia, died after four police officers searched her home in Tottenham's Broadwater Farm housing project. Anger over her death sparked the Broadwater Farm riots, in which a policeman died. The area's reputation was tainted for years.

Speaking outside the church where Duggan's funeral was held, Jarrett told CNN little had changed in the decades since then. "The ethnic minorities are still being mistreated," he said. "I don't think a lot changed, the mood in the area is one of regret and sorrow. But there is still a lot of mistrust where the police are concerned."

He said politicians who blamed people who "just want to loot, steal and riot" for the unrest that broke out last month need to look at the underlying problems behind such behavior.

"I actually condemn the looting and the burning of buildings," he said, "but I understand the situation behind and the frustration and anger behind it. That I do understand. Fully."

Yvonne Collail, 47, from Tottenham told CNN she was concerned that the recent trouble in Tottenham had made everyone less safe and meant the police would have to carry guns, which is unusual in Britain.

London's Metropolitan Police said in a statement beforehand that a senior officer had "met with the parents and family of Mark Duggan and discussed the policing arrangements" for the funeral.

"In line with the family's wishes, the policing will reflect the family's desire for a local, peaceful and dignified funeral," the statement said.

Questions remain unanswered about the circumstances of Duggan's death. Prime Minister David Cameron said last month that Duggan had been shot by police but the IPCC has yet to reach a formal conclusion.

In a letter to the Times of London published Thursday, the IPCC said the newspaper's headline indicating that an officer had been cleared of shooting Duggan was incorrect and "irresponsible."

The IPCC said it is continuing to follow numerous leads as it investigates Duggan's death, including examining security camera footage, conducting forensic tests and talking to witnesses.

The commission acknowledged that "people want answers," but urged them "not to rush to judgment until they see and hear the evidence for themselves."

A Metropolitan Police statement Thursday said: "The firearms officer involved in the shooting of Mark Duggan is not about to return to operational firearms duties."

Initial reports that Duggan shot at police were ruled out by ballistic tests, which found that a bullet that lodged in one officer's radio was of a type issued to police. The IPCC also said there had been no exchange of fire.

A handgun that was not police issue was found at the scene, the IPCC said, but there was no evidence it had been fired during the incident.

CNN's France Costrel and Laura Smith-Spark contributed to this report.