Wednesday, August 17, 2005


In the wake of July's summary execution of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell station, London police attempted to justify their behaviour by claiming that he fit the profile of a suicide bomber, and that "his clothing and his behavior at the station added to their suspicions". According to police, he had been wearing a large, padded coat, had run from police when challenged, and even vaulted the barrier to enter the station.

It was all lies. According to documents leaked from the Independent Police Complaints Commission, Menezes

was wearing a denim jacket, used a standard Oyster electronic card to get into the station and simply walked towards the platform unchallenged.

It has also been suggested that officers did not identify themselves properly before shooting de Menezes seven times in the head.

The BBC version tells an even worse story - that

Mr de Menezes was being restrained by a community officer when he was shot by armed police.

So, he wasn't challenged, hadn't run from police, and there was no dramatic chase into the station. Instead, the police made a decision that Menezes was a suicide bomber based solely on his address and assumed ethnicity, followed him for twenty minutes, then executed him after he had been restrained. Then, having realised that they made a mistake, they systematically lied about it in an attempt to justify the unjustifiable and cover their own arses. I think the Met has more than earned every bit of suspicion it has had over this killing.

Meanwhile, CCTV footage of the station, the train, the bus, everything, is all "unavailable" as the cameras were "not working". How convenient...


Read the above. The statements released by police in the wake of the shooting - about clothing, about running from police after being challenged - bear little relation to the facts leaked from the Complaints Commission. Presumably they bothered to interview their own staff and have a look at the body before making public pronouncements on what had happened and why. And if they didn't, it doesn't actually make it any better for them.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 8/17/2005 01:37:00 PM

Sock Thief is one of those wingnuts that would deny there is anything wrong in Abu Ghraib, or anyone has ever lied about it.

Posted by Hans Versluys : 8/17/2005 03:34:00 PM

If the statements are right it is an appalling killing. However, given the mass of contradictory evidence we've heard since the incident, I'd prefer to wait for the official findings. Given that eyewitnesses reported seeing wires from a bomb protruding from underneath the man's coat, I think speculation about who saw what is pretty useless at present...

I also very much doubt the police have been systematically lying, and likewise will wait until something more than leaked heresay emerges from this.

Posted by Anonymous : 8/17/2005 03:50:00 PM

Yes, well hopefully the "official findings" process has improved since the days of the Guildford Six and Birmingham Four... oh yes, and Hutton inquiry, and...

Power looks after it's own interests, always has, and perhaps always will.

Posted by Anonymous : 8/17/2005 04:07:00 PM

I disagree that 'power looks after its own interests'. What exactly is this thing called 'power' that you speak of, Huskynut??

Posted by Anonymous : 8/17/2005 04:33:00 PM

The human mind is a wonderful thing, memory and perception are pretty easily tricked. People can be dead certain they saw something that wasn't in fact there, add together the adrenalin of watching police shoot a man and eyewitness accounts get pretty dodgy.

Posted by Muerk : 8/17/2005 06:01:00 PM

Sock Thief: The quote about clothing arousing suspicions above is directly from the police. But if you'd like more, try here:

According to the official version of de Menezes' death, police had been watching his apartment block as part of their search for Thursday's would-be bombers. When the man emerged, plain-clothes police followed him from Tulse Hill to the Stockwell station in south London.

Police said they ordered him to halt. Instead, he vaulted the turnstiles and ran onto a train, with police close behind.

The official report simply states: "He was then followed by surveillance officers to the underground station. His clothing and behavior added to their suspicions."

Or here:

Police said their suspicions were raised because Mr Menezes was wearing a padded jacket in warm weather, which could have been concealing a bomb belt.

Mr Menezes was followed from his flat in Tulse Hill to Stockwell Tube station. Police said Mr Menezes was ordered to stop but he fled into the underground, jumping over a ticket barrier.

Or here:

Mr de Menezes was shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder at 10am last Friday after being followed from Tulse Hill. Scotland Yard initially claimed he wore a bulky jacket and jumped the barrier when police identified themselves and ordered him to stop...

Or here:

We can confirm that at just after 10am this morning, Friday 22 July, armed officers from the Metropolitan Police entered Stockwell tube station in south London.A man was challenged by officers and was subsequently shot.

Or here (from Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair, no less):

The information I have available if that this shooting is directly linked to the ongoing and expanding anti-terrorist operation. Any death is deeply regrettable. I understand the man was challenged and refused to obey...

I think the Met have a few questions to answer about who was telling this bull to the media and why...

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 8/18/2005 01:45:00 AM

Oh for God's sake Neil, stop being so obtuse. Assuming the leaks are accurate, this clearly goes beyond the usual conflicting recollections of an incident.

The difference between a man on the run vaulting over turnstiles and a man walking up to a turnstile and using his travelpass is hardly a matter of nuance. Where did the initial account come from? Why was it given to media?

The most likely explanation: spin. It's quite popular in Britain.


Posted by Anonymous : 8/18/2005 09:40:00 AM

I am going to take a wee stab and suggest that it wasn't the Met police who did the shooting....but either the secret service or most probably : a soldier.

Posted by Anonymous : 8/18/2005 02:15:00 PM

Enzer: The leaked documents are quite clear that it was a Scotland Yard unit - not the military. However, there were some reports a couple of weeks ago about a newly formed military intelligence unit being involved in the passive surveillance - which may have led to both the gross assumption that de Menezes was a bomber, and the chain of miscommunication outlined in the Guardian article which led to his execution.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 8/18/2005 04:44:00 PM

Ghet: and likewise, they already had CCTV footage (mentioned in the IPCC report - yet the Observer report has the police saying the cameras were "not working" and that the footage is unavailable) showing that de Menezes hadn't jumped any turnstiles. They knew the claim was false within hours, and yet as the stories above show, their spokespeople kept repeating both "facts" to the media as gospel.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 8/18/2005 05:22:00 PM