Police shooting - the discrepancies
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Police shooting - the discrepancies

BBC | August 17 2005

Leaked documents from the independent investigation into the shooting of a man whom police mistook for one of the London Tube bombers, suggest key differences between the original police and witness version of events and subsequent reports.

The documents reportedly form part of the probe by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is refusing to comment while its inquiry continues.

Here is a comparison of the details made public in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, on 22 July, at Stockwell Tube station in south London, with those that have emerged from the leaked documents.


Initial account
Sir Ian Blair said on the day of the shooting that it had been "directly linked to the ongoing and expanding anti-terrorist operation".

The man was under observation because he emerged from a block of flats in Scotia Road, Tulse Hill, where police believed a man connected with the four attempted bombings on the London Tube and bus network on 21 July was staying.

They followed him during his bus journey to Stockwell Tube station, where a Scotland Yard spokesman said his "clothing and behaviour" added to their suspicions.

Leaked evidence
Police staking out the flats, where Mr Menezes lived, decided he matched the description of one of the suspects they were seeking, according to the documents.

One officer reportedly said he "checked the photographs" and "thought it would be worth someone else having a look". However, he was unable to video the man for subsequent confirmation because he was "relieving" himself at the time.

By the time Mr Menezes reached Stockwell station, armed police received "positive identification" that the man they were following was one of the suspects.


Initial account
One eyewitness, Mark Whitby, said Mr Menezes was wearing a thick padded jacket, despite the warm weather, which could have been used to conceal something underneath.

Another witness said he had a black baseball cap and blue fleece.

Scotland Yard had said on the day that his clothing had added to suspicions but had not elaborated further.

Leaked evidence
Some of the leaked documents and accompanying CCTV footage suggest Mr Menezes was wearing a blue denim jacket.

This is also referred to by a member of the police surveillance team who observed him on board a Tube train.


Initial account
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair said after the shooting: "As I understand the situation the man was challenged and refused to obey police instructions."

One eyewitness said at the time that Mr Menezes had vaulted over the ticket barriers just inside the entrance to Stockwell station as he was being pursued.

Leaked evidence
CCTV footage is said to show the man walking at normal pace into the station, picking up a copy of a free newspaper and apparently passing through the barriers before descending the escalator to the platform and running to a train.

He boarded a Tube train, paused, looking left and right, and sat in a seat facing the platform.


Initial account
Although police would not give details of the incident because of the independent investigation, they did say shortly after it happened that officers had shot a man dead in Stockwell station.

The following day Scotland Yard admitted Mr Menezes had been shot by mistake and apologised to his family for the "tragedy".

Met chief Sir Ian Blair said his officers had tried to get Mr Menezes under control before shooting him.

A witness spoke of a man jumping on to the stationary train and grabbing a man sitting opposite. As the witness ran off the train he heard four "dull bangs", which he realised were shots.

Another said he saw Mr Menezes run on to the train, "hotly pursued" by what he took to be three plain-clothes police officers. He said they pushed him to the floor and shot him five times.

At the opening of the inquest into his death, police told the coroner Mr Menezes was shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder.

Leaked evidence
In one of the leaked documents, said to be a statement from one of the police surveillance team, the witness describes hearing shouting - including the word "police".

The statement says Mr Menezes stood up and advanced towards the witness and armed police.

He adds: "I grabbed the male in the denim jacket by wrapping both my arms around his torso, pinning his arms to his side."

He said he pushed the man back into his seat.

It was only after he had restrained him that he heard a gun shot.

The documents say that a post-mortem examination showed Mr Menezes had been shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder, but that three other bullets had missed him


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