Before we knew many of the details that emerged just days after Brazilian electrician Charles De Menezes was killed by multiple gunshot wounds to the head by London police , I started out a July 23 column about the shooting of the man in a London Subway station with these words: If the guy was guilty, I had no problem with his death.
And I ended a July 26 piece on the same matter with these words: [T]he London Metropolitan policemen as individuals don’t seem to be heard, but don’t jump to conclusions. We’ve seen how that turns out.
Earlier this week we start to see just how this did turn out and if it was an ugly situation before, we’re staring at the face of Satan now.
In the week that followed the shooting, details emerged quickly from the police that described a man in a big jacket running from police, after leaving a building that officers had staked out. And that De Menezes tripped and fell on the Underground platform – and was quickly tackled and then shot in the head, eight times (first reported as seven).
Unfortunately all indications quickly pointed to the fact that the man, now dead, was completely guilty of only trying to get to work.
As hard as it is to say, it gets worse.
It turns out much of the factual record was somehow embellished with the non-factual record. In other words, we’re in a negative-fact scenario.
Back then, I had praised the Metropolitian police for their straightforward manner, while still feeling that they were being stopped from telling their side by the PR machine (Powers of Restraint) that ultimately, often, allows only one side of a situation to come to light. (See the two links above.)
Most of the talk then centered around how De Menezes must have been a retarded troll for running from the police – and just why, the question was asked, was he wearing a big jacket, anyway.
Now, this week, a lot of information, including leaked internal investigation documents, intimate that there’s something seriously wrong with the historical record to date. From Bloomberg News:
De Menezes family representatives yesterday called for the police commissioner’s resignation after leaked documents and photos called into dispute initial statements from the police that Menezes had fled armed officers into the Stockwell station in south London and aroused suspicion at his behavior and clothing such as a padded jacket that could conceal a bomb.
The reports showed that Menezes wore a denim jacket and walked into the station in a “normal” way, stopping to pick up a newspaper moments before officers shot him dead. It also cited surveillance officers who said they hadn’t positively identified him as a suspect.
Commissioner [Ian] Blair will have to act “aggressively” against his own subordinates if they lied to him, said Bob Ayres, a security expert with Chatham House and lecturer at the Ministry of Defence Intelligence and Security School.
“It’s a tough choice,” said Ayres. “If he acts against the Met, which is apparently what he’ll have to do, he’ll distance himself from his own officers. If he doesn’t act against them, he needs to be looking for part-time employment as a security official.”
Yet Police Commissioner BLair says there is no cover up from him.
And you know what, I’m going to believe him here. But there was some type of cover-up.
Stll, the free flow of information seems to run fast in England these days. On certain matters, anyway. So I’m going to suspend judgment and demonstrate patience.
From the BBC:
[Independent Police Complaints Commission] deputy chairman John Wadham said: “The Metropolitan Police Service initially resisted us taking on the investigation – but we overcame that.
Mr Wadham said the IPCC would now “search for the truth”.
“We are confident that at the conclusion of this inquiry, we will be able to tell the family exactly what happened.”
He added: “We are looking forward to meeting the family to answer their obvious questions and concerns directly.
“It is our policy to update families on a regular basis during investigations.”
We shall see and observe. Much of the world is watching.