Brazilians due in London to investigate police shooting
Associated Press | AUGUST 22, 2005
LONDON Two senior Brazilian officials were sent to Britain Monday to meet with British government representatives and an independent watchdog agency investigating the police shooting of a Brazilian man mistaken for a suicide bomber.
Pressure is mounting on London's Metropolitan Police and its chief, Commissioner Sir Ian Blair, over allegations of serious failings in police actions in the lead-up to Jean Charles de Menezes' death.
Undercover police tailed Menezes to a subway car and shot him seven times in the head and once in the shoulder on July 22, the day after failed bomb attacks on London's transit system. Two weeks earlier, similar attacks killed 52 commuters and the four suspected suicide bombers.
New reports emerged last week that appeared to contradict initial assertions that Menezes had aroused suspicion by wearing a bulky jacket and running from police.
Blair has insisted that police have assumed full responsibility for the shooting and has vowed to remain in his job despite the increasing criticism. He won the backing Sunday of Prime Minister Tony Blair's office and Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, who is in charge while Blair is on vacation abroad.
Menezes' mother, Maria, told the British Broadcasting Corp. on Monday that she wants the police who shot her son to be punished.
''They ended not only my son's life but mine as well,'' she said from Brazil.
Supporters of the Menezes family planned to hold a vigil Monday outside Blair's Downing Street office.
Meanwhile, Wagner Goncalves, Brazil's deputy attorney general, and Marcio Pereira Pinto Garcia, a high-ranking Justice Ministry officer, were expected to arrive in Britain on Monday.
They are to hold talks Wednesday with members of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is investigating the shooting, the Brazilian Consulate said.
London's police chief told a British tabloid on Sunday that it was only 24 hours after Menezes was shot that he learned officers had killed an innocent man.
''I thought, 'that's dreadful, what are we going to do about that?''' Blair said, describing his reaction, according to Sunday's News of the World newspaper.