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'Shoot-to-kill' suspension call

BBC | August 17 2005

The family of a man shot dead by police who mistakenly suspected him of being a suicide bomber are calling for the "shoot-to-kill" policy to be suspended.

It comes after leaked documents contradicted previous accounts of the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell Tube station on 22 July.

Investigation papers, leaked to ITV, suggest the Brazilian was restrained before being shot eight times.

His family say they want a full judicial inquiry to reveal the "truth".

Denim jacket

The documents, seemingly from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation into the shooting, contradict first reports which suggested Mr de Menezes did not hurdle the barrier at Stockwell tube station and was not wearing a padded jacket that could have concealed a bomb.

They also suggest Mr de Menezes had walked into Stockwell Tube station, picked up a free newspaper, walked through ticket barriers, had started to run when he saw a train arriving and was sitting down in a train when he was shot.

In the immediate aftermath of the incident - which happened a day after the 21 July failed bomb attacks in London - police said Mr de Menezes had been acting suspiciously and suggested he had vaulted the ticket barriers.

Police also said the 27-year-old electrician had worn a large winter-style coat - but the leaked version suggested he had in fact worn a denim jacket.

Mr de Menezes' cousin Allessandro Pereira said: "My family deserve the full truth about his murder. The truth cannot be hidden any longer. It has to be made public.

"Everything we have said has been proved to be true.

"Jean was an innocent man who was shot in cold blood. We now know that he wasn't wearing a bulky jacket, that he wasn't acting suspiciously or that he was told to stop by the police.

"He was being restrained when he was shot and killed."

He said the police should have stopped his cousin before he got to the bus stop after leaving home in Tulse Hill. "He would have helped the police," he said.

"They killed my cousin, they could kill anyone, any English person."

'Security high'

In a statement, the IPCC said it does not know where the documents came from and that its priority was to keep Mr de Menezes family informed.

It would not comment on the details of the leak, adding the family "will clearly be distressed that they have received information on television concerning his death".

Its statement added: "The IPCC made it clear that we would not speculate or release partial information about the investigation, and that others should not do so. That remains the case."

The commission said it operated a "very high degree of security" on all of its investigations.

Asad Rehman, spokesman for the Justice4Jean Family Campaign said: "The overwhelming majority of the people of London join us in believing that there can be no alternative but the immediate suspension of the shoot-to-kill policy before another innocent Londoner becomes its victim.

"The home secretary must now use his powers to order a full judicial inquiry into the killing.

"This is the minimum required if we are to have any faith in those responsible for our security and safety.

"We must show that nobody is above the law and that those responsible for the killing will be identified and brought to justice and that we will learn the lessons from this tragic death."

Meanwhile, speaking to London's Evening Standard before the disclosure of the leaked details, Home Secretary Charles Clarke said: "People should be very proud of the work the Metropolitan Police has done."

He said the force had operated "highly professionally" when faced with the threat of suicide bombers.

Information 'terrifying'

Harriet Wistrich, solicitor for the family of Mr de Menezes, said the information the leaked documents contained was "terrifying".

She also urged the government and police to review the shoot-to-kill policy.

"What sort of society are we living in where we can execute suspects?" she said.

"First of all it tells us that the information that was first put out, which was first reported in the news, is almost entirely wrong and misleading.

"There was no suggestion that this person was a suspect in any way, that he was running from the police".

She said it also suggested the information given to the pathologist who carried out the post-mortem examination on Mr de Menezes was incorrect.

Scotland Yard and the Home Office have so far said it would be inappropriate to comment


 

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