August 18, 2005

Something to hide, perhaps?

Last month, police in London shot a young Brazilian man in a tube station, saying afterwards that Jean Charles de Menezes had acted suspiciously and fled from police. Almost immediately, there were accusations that the police had acted improperly in the shooting. And, almost immediately, police and government officials (including PM Tony Blair) attempted to squelch criticism, saying that protecting the public and fighting terrorism justified the actions of the London police.

This week, the official police story about de Menezes' shooting has been falling apart. The UK press has found out that, despite what police said at the time, de Menezes wasn't wearing a heavy padded jacket that was out of place in the warm weather, and which could have hidden explosives (he had on a denim jacket); he wasn't running from police (he didn't even know he was being followed); and he didn't jump a ticket barrier in an attempt to escape (he was in so little of a hurry that he stopped to pick up a free newspaper). [You can read more in this post at Magpie.]

Today, the UK Guardian reports that Scotland Yard head Sir Ian Blair attempted to stop an independent investigation of the shooting:

Sir Ian wrote to John Gieve, the permanent secretary at the Home Office, on July 22, the morning Jean Charles de Menezes was shot at short range on the London tube. The commissioner argued for an internal inquiry into the killing on the grounds that the ongoing anti-terrorist investigation took precedence over any independent look into his death.

According to senior police and Whitehall sources, Sir Ian was concerned that an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission could impact on national security and intelligence. He was also understood to be worried that an outside investigation would damage the morale of CO19, the elite firearms section working under enormous pressure....

Later that same day, after an exchange of opinions between Sir Ian, the Home Office and the IPCC, the commissioner was overruled. A Whitehall insider said: "We won that battle. There's no ambiguity in the legislation, they had to do it."

But a statement from the Met yesterday showed that despite the agreement to allow in independent investigators, the IPCC was kept away from Stockwell tube in south London, the scene of the shooting, for a further three days. This runs counter to usual practice, where the IPCC would expect to be at the scene within hours.

The continuing revelations of police misconduct during and after the shooting is not going over well — especially with de Menezes' family. The family's lawyer, Harriet Wistrich, has called for Sir Ian Blair to resign:

The lies that appear to have been put out, like the statement from Sir Ian Blair, for instance, are clearly wrong. And nobody has stepped in to correct the lies.

"From the beginning, the most senior of police officers and government ministers, including the prime minister, claimed the death of Jean Charles to be an unfortunate accident occurring in the context of an entirely legitimate, justifiable, lawful and necessary policy.

"In the context of the lies now revealed, that claim has become even less sustainable and even more alarming."

Via UK Guardian.

Posted by Magpie at August 18, 2005 08:38 AM | War on Terrorism | Technorati links |

"this post at Magpie" is pointing to the same URL as the next (Guardian) link . . .

Posted by: acm at August 19, 2005 02:09 PM

Was browsing through blogspot when I stumbled here

Posted by: young brazilian at October 8, 2005 06:14 PM