ITV claims to show 'police blunders' in Brazilian's shooting
Wednesday 17 August 2005
According to ITV, a catalogue of police failures led to the death of Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, who was shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder by police on 22 July
Secret documents and photographs from the independent investigation into the shooting were obtained by the broadcaster, revealing how the Brazilian came to be mistaken for a suicide bomber.
They claim to show Mr de Menezes - an electrician whose only connection with the failed bombers was living in the same block of flats - "behaved normally" when he entered Stockwell Tube station - contradicting rumours that he had bolted from police officers.
According to ITV, the CCTV footage confirmed Mr de Menezes was not wearing a padded jacket, something that police had initially announced.
The documents suggest, Mr de Menezes walked calmly through the barriers at Stockwell station, using his Oyster card, and paused to pick up a free newspaper. The report, if corroborated, could add weight to the de Menezes family's legal fight against the police over the shooting and death of Jean.
The death caused embarrassment to police at the time, with Sir Ian Blair apologising to the family. .
Last night, the documents allegedly highlighted the catastrophic mistakes made in the surveillance operation. On the morning of 22 July, officers were in Scotia Road, Tulse Hill watching a flat they believed contained would-be bombers who had tried to blow up the Tube.
The investigation is believed to say that the firearms unit of the police had been told "unusual tactics" may be required and, if officers were deployed, they should intercept a subject and - if there was an opportunity - they should challenge him. But if the subject was non-compliant, "a critical shot may be taken".
One firearms officer is quoted by ITV as saying: "The strategy around the address was: No subject coming out of the address would be allowed to run and an interception should take place as soon as possible away from the address trying not to compromise it."
ITV also claims the report shows officers wrongly believed Mr de Menezes could have been one of two bombing suspects who they thought were in the building.
The report says: "De Menezes was observed walking to a bus stop and then boarded a bus, travelling to Stockwell Tube. During this, his description and demeanour was assessed and it was believed he matched the identity of one of the suspects ... the information was passed to the operations centre and Gold Command made the decision and gave appropriate instructions that he was to be prevented from entering the Tube system. At that stage, the operation moved to Code Red tactic, responsibility was handed over to SO19."
According to ITV, the firearms officers were given clearance to kill Mr de Menezes but he seemed completely unaware he was being tailed.
In contrast to a witness statement that said Mr de Menezes tripped as he was boarding the train, CCTV footage apparently shows he only started running when he got to the concourse, perhaps to catch a train. He entered the carriage and sat in an available seat.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission is assessing the contradictory evidence. Last night, Scotland Yard said it was unable to make a comment because of the investigation.
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