The Metropolitan Police attempted to shift the blame to Jean Charles de Menezes for his death at Stockwell tube station in front of horrified and traumatized onlookers. The police were found guilty of endangering the public but they didn’t come clean and went down fighting, as the solicitor acting for the family said “into the gutter”.
I said at the time of the shooting “Shoot first ask questions afterwards”. It appears there are many more questions to answer and while the family of Jean Charles are grateful for a successful prosecution no one person is held responsible. Above all Sir Ian Blair remains in post. For how long?
“Harriet Wistrich, solicitor for the family, said the police “descended to the gutter” during the case by trying to “smear” De Menezes to shift blame away from the force.
Ms Wistrich claimed the defence had cynically manipulated photographs of De Menezes and a terrorist suspect they were hunting to make the men appear more similar than they were.
‘Any attempt to salvage the image of the Metropolitan police by those in senior positions publicly apologising for their errors has been undermined by the defence put forward,’ said Ms Wistrich.
Sir Ian Blair is getting support from the Government and even the Mayor of London. Understandable since the public needs confidence in the police, but how justified is this? Just as the De Menezes case is discussed comes more revelations bringing back memories of Forest Gate – another case when the unjustifiable was given unconditional support. With more allegations of racist behaviour by police post-Lawrence I find these cases deeply, deeply disturbing.
She said many questions remained unanswered. ‘In particular no evidence was heard from the officers responsible for shooting Jean Charles or from any of the civilian passengers who witnessed the shooting.’
Ms Wistrich continued: ‘And what of the shoot to kill policy itself? Questions must be asked of a firearms strategy that effectively became an unstoppable machine intent on extinguishing the life of an unarmed suspect.’
After the verdict Asad Rehman, the De Menezes family campaign spokesman, called for further consideration over whether manslaughter charges could be brought.” Source Guardian 2/1//2007
“Troubles to come
IPCC Report by Independent Police Complaints Commission into errors leading to shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes expected to be published on Thursday
MPA Metropolitan Police Authority watchdog is to hold an emergency meeting at which a vote of no confidence could be staged
Inquest Expected early next year at which De Menezes’s family say they hope to find further answers
Private prosecution Family may issue civil proceedings based on claim of misconduct in public office.” (Source: Guardian 3.11.2007)
The argument to justify all this, of course is “terrorism” and “fear of terrorism” which means the police and official powers have carte blanche. George Bush’s evocation of Armageddon may be a right wing nightmare but it has power to bring people into line as herded cattle. So it is a little disappointing to see Ken Livingstone participating in ways we know New Labour capitulated long since.
Even more worrying for Sir Ian must be the publication of those in the line up for succession!
Should Blair go? Yes.
Should Blair Go? No.