Hello Cruel World
Monday, August 01, 2005
de Menezes case: Shoot-to-kill without warning (Sunday Times, July 31st, 2005)
Shoot-to-kill without warning - Sunday Times - Times Online
The Sunday Times - Britain
July 31, 2005
jon Ungoed-Thomas and David Leppard
Additional reporting: Michael Smith, Andrew White
Shoot-to-kill without warning
...The killing of de Menezes was a terrible error that has devastated his family and threatens to sap police morale at a critical time in the war on terror. It now threatens to become a cause celebre among human rights activists ...
The Independent Police Complaints Commission is studying CCTV footage that caught de Menezes’s last moments. What is already clear is that the initial accounts of his death on July 22 were wrong ...
The man, according to the police, was suspect because of his “clothing and behaviour”. He had been followed from a house that had been under surveillance. When he was challenged at Stockwell, he ignored instructions and ran. He had vaulted over the ticket barrier and was wearing a dark bulky jacket that could disguise a bomb.
One witness had de Menezes as an Asian with a beard and wires coming out of his torso. The truth is more mundane. De Menezes, an electrician, was travelling to north London to fix a fire alarm.
He was not wearing what witnesses called a “black bomber jacket”, but a denim jacket. It was about 17C and his clothing would not have been out of the ordinary.
He did not vault a ticket barrier, as claimed. He used a travelcard to pass through the station in the normal way. His family believes that he may have started to run simply because he heard the train pulling in — something Londoners do every day. Indeed, a train was at the platform when he got there ...
Lee Ruston, 32, was at the bottom of the escalator that de Menezes ran down. He believes that he heard every word said by officers.
According to him, officers did not say the word “police” or offer de Menezes the prospect of arrest. “I heard a voice shouting ‘get on the floor, just get on the floor’. Another voice said the same, ‘get on the floor’. I then heard the crack of gunshots,” he said ...
De Menezes lived in a block of flats which was under surveillance because of its links to the terror attacks, but what was the evidence that he was a specific risk? ... was [he] killed because of ... the misfortune to live at an address linked to terrorism[?]
Blair said that the public should also appreciate the bravery of the officers, who surrounded a suspect they thought might blow himself up.
As one officer said yesterday: “They’ve done a good job for their country. But of course, they are very sad.
“They thought they were acting in the best interests of everybody and on the information they were given. It’s a very sad thing, isn’t it.”
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