De Menezes family: Police 'have got away with murder'

Daily Mail
May. 13, 2007

The family of Jean Charles de Menezes reacted with fury as it was announced eleven officers involved in his death will not face disciplinary action.

They said they were "gravely disappointed" that the Independent Police Complaints Commission had exonerated them and accused the Metropolitan police of "getting away with murder".

The IPCC said just one surveillance officer out of the eleven will be given "management advice" over action he took after the shooting.

The cleared officers include the two from Scotland Yard's elite firearms unit CO19 who shot the young Brazilian seven times in the head at Stockwell tube station after he was mistaken for a suicide bomber.

The fate of police chief Cressida Dick, who authorised the shoot-to-kill policy, and three other senior officers is yet to be decided.

Mr de Menezes' family believe criminal charges for manslaughter through gross negligence can still be brought against the four senior officers and said yesterday's announcement could prejudice the case.

A spokeswoman said: "We can see no advantage in making this early announcement, other than to provide relief to the officers facing potential disciplinary charges.

"Whilst the officers are spared that ongoing anxiety, the family are given no relief to their own agony, grief and anxiety caused by their lack of access to all the evidence surrounding the shooting of their loved one.

"We hope ultimately that all the officers about whom evidence emerges of wrongdoing that led to this wrongful death are ultimately rendered fully accountable.

The innocent 27-year-old electrician was killed a day after failed London bombings on July 21 2005.

His death came in the wake of the 7/7 bombings in London in which 52 people were murdered and nearly 1,000 injured.

Police believed that Mr Menezes was Ethiopian Hussain Osman, one of the alleged July 21 bombers currently on trial, and followed him from his flat in South West London to the station.

He was killed as he boarded a train.

A statement agreed by Met Commissioner Sir Ian Blair and two assistant commissioners issued shortly afterwards backed media reports suggesting Mr de Menezes had vaulted a ticket barrier and bolted down an escalator and that he had been wearing a bulky jacket.

But leaked documents later showed that Mr de Menezes had walked calmly into the station, even pausing to pick up a free newspaper, and that he had done little to arouse any suspicion before being shot.

A second IPCC investigation - codenamed Stockwell 2 - looked into complaints about comments made by Sir Ian and colleagues following the shooting.

Sir Ian has already been notified that he will face criticism for the Met's handling of the aftermath of the shooting, as will 20 other senior officers or police officials.

The report is expected to be released next month.

The Metropolitan Police faces prosecution under health and safety laws for organisational failings connected to the shooting.

The IPCC said no decision about Oxford-educated Miss Dick, who has been promoted to rank of deputy assistant commissioner since the shooting, and four senior officers will be made until after the trial which is due to begin in October.
But Mr de Menezes' family said the IPCC announcement could prejudice the court case.

Their legal team said it was "highly unusual" for the disciplinary decision to be made prior to the conclusion of criminal proceedings.

Patricia da Silva Armani, Mr de Menezes' cousin who lived with him at the time of his death, said: "It is disgraceful the IPCC can make such a decision - they are letting the police get away with murder.

"First officials killed my cousin, then they lied about it and now the officers are walking away without any punishment.

"It is a travesty of justice and another slap in the face for our family.

"The police officers lives go on as normal while we exist in turmoil, fighting to get the answers and justice we deserve."

A Metropolitan Police welcomed the IPCC's recommendation. A spokesman said: "The shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes is a matter of very deep regret to the Metropolitan Police Service and our continued thoughts are with his family.

"We have apologised publicly and in private to them and we would again like to take this opportunity to say sorry for this tragedy."

One of the two marksmen who shot Mr de Menezes shot dead a suspected armed robber in Kent in November 2006, three months after being given back his gun following the Stockwell shooting.

He was taken off duty again following the Kent incident and returned to firearms duties last month.

Any officer who injuries or kills someone is automatically taken off duty and returns to work when they are considered fit and able to do so.

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