Police tactics meant shooting of Azelle Rodney was 'almost inevitable'

 

The shooting of an unarmed man by a police officer was “almost inevitable” because of the tactics deployed by the Scotland Yard team, a public inquiry has been told.

Azelle Rodney, 24, was killed after being shot six times at point blank range by an elite firearms officer - only seconds after his car was rammed by three unmarked police cars in April 2005.

Two expert police witnesses, with 45 years of experience in firearms operations between them, today criticised several crucial parts of the police operation in their evidence to the public inquiry into Mr Rodney’s death.

Mr Rodney was the rear passenger of a VW Golf when he was shot by an officer known as E7 in Edgware, north London – seconds after the police pulled up beside him. Mr Rodney was part of a group under surveillance for a suspected drug heist, and officers wrongly believed that there were semi-automatic weapons in the front of the car.

Andrew Mawhinney and Philip Gracey from Northern Ireland said they would never have sanctioned the three-car “hard stop” which put E7 besides Mr Rodney because of the inevitable risks involved.  That tactic has not been used in Northern Ireland since the death of a man in 2003; no-one has been shot during a similar pre-planned car interception since two-vehicle stops were introduced.

Mr Gracey said: “If I had been offered a three car stop in this format I would not have accepted it as the Gold commander…. I would have been putting people into a set of circumstances that almost inevitably meant someone was going to get shot…I just would not have put my officers in that position. I have dealt with similar issues [cases] in the past”

He added: “My main aim would have been to catch a group of hardened criminals, but the protection of life is paramount.”

The two former senior officers also told the court that it would have been far safer for everyone to apprehend the men much earlier - as soon as there was evidence of a weapon in the VW when it was parked.

The experts also criticised the police for failing to identify themselves as police to the three suspects in the VW through the use blue lights or sirens, but accepted that it was for individual officers to judge whether remaining covert was justifiable.

Both experts agreed that it was “exceptional” that E7 has shot five people during his policing career.

Anne Studd QC, representing the Met, said the circumstances and resources available in Northern Ireland were not directly comparable to London.

Earlier Martin Rush, the Chief Inspector of the firearms command in 2005, said he stood by the decision to employ three cars which placed E7 within inches of Mr Rodney.

The inquiry continues.

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn