The Hard Stop

George Amponsah

In the summer of 2011, a furious mob swept through London, leaving wreckage in its wake. The trigger was the death of Mark Duggan, a 29-year-old man from north London. He had been stopped and shot by the police, although he was unarmed. This documentary focuses on what went on before, the cause and the consequences of this tragic police action.

Mark Duggan grew up in the Broadwater Farm estate: a desolate concrete jungle in the impoverished Tottenham district of North London. The filmmaker uses photos, videos and stories from friends and family to reconstruct Mark’s childhood and life in a tough, underprivileged world where he was surrounded by prejudice and crime.

When his cousin is stabbed to death during a row in a discotheque, the police believe Mark will avenge his family member. When the police stop him, they are operating on the belief that he has a gun on him, so they fire. In retrospect, it turns out that he was unarmed. This event caused a flashfire in the black community of London, which had been living at odds with the police for years. A mob of people go out in the streets, pelt the cops with stones, set cars on fire and loot stores. The ensuing riots are the biggest in British history.

Marcus, one of Mark’s best friends, is fingered by the police as instigator of the riots and arrested. While the investigation into the case of Mark’s death continues, friends Marcus and Kurtis provide insight into the life of the black community in London, where discrimination and police violence are commonplace and chances at a better future are scarce.


George Amponsah
Joe Bini, Dionne Walker
Country of production
United Kingdom
85 minutes
Spoken language
Production company
Ga Films
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