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Brazilian's family claim police altered their story

London Times | July 28, 2005

THE family of the Brazilian man shot dead by marksmen who mistook him for a suicide bomber revealed last night how police have changed their account of the incident.

As the body of Jean Charles de Menezes was flown home to Brazil for his funeral later today, his cousin said that senior officers at Scotland Yard have retracted claims that the 27-year-old electrician was acting suspiciously, so officers had no option but to open fire.

Vivien Figueiredo, 22, said police told her that he was wearing a lightweight denim jacket and not some bulky coat that could have hidden an explosive belt underneath. Detectives also claimed immediately after the shooting that Mr Menezes had refused to heed shouted warnings by armed police and vaulted the ticket barriers at Stockwell Tube station.

Now police say that he used his travelcard to gain access to the station. Ms Figueiredo said: “They are saying he did absolutely nothing wrong when he was killed, so why don’t they say all this publicly.”

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Police shot the electrician seven times in the head and once in the shoulder at point-blank range.

The family claim that Mr Menezes’s death forced Scotland Yard to change its shoot-to-kill orders. In yesterday’s arrest in Birmingham, the family point out that police used a Taser stun gun. They want to know why a similar weapon was not used last Friday.

Ms Figueiredo also expressed anger at reports that one of the officers involved in the fatal shooting had gone on holiday with his family, paid for by the Metropolitan Police.

She said: “It is not right that this person should now be enjoying his holiday when we are suffering.”

Alex Pereira, 27, another cousin accompanying the coffin on the flight home, said: “The officer must be brought back and show the world he did something wrong”. Senior officers emphasised that the independent investigation into the incident was continuing.

A vigil marking one week since Mr Menezes’s death will take place at 5.30pm on Friday in Parliament Square. A service will be held at Westminster Cathedral at the same time as his funeral in Brazil.

 

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