The Guardian 7 September, 2005

UK: Anger rises over shooting cover-up

Roger Bagley

The family of Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian electrician who was shot to death by British police on July 22 in the wake of two terrorist attacks here, have demanded an end to police "shoot to kill" tactics following revelations about the circumstances surrounding the killing.

Family members and friends have called for the policemen responsible to be jailed for life and for the laws sanctioning their actions to be repealed.

Lawyers representing the family also called for Metropolitan Police Chief Sir Ian Blair to resign, following accusations that he had promoted a campaign of "lies" over the killing.

The chief previously insisted that the incident, which took place in the Stockwell Tube Station of London’s subway system, was linked to the July 21 bombings.

Police shot Menezes in the head seven times at point-blank range, after hurriedly convincing themselves that he was a suicide bomber. But leaked evidence suggests that the events leading up to the killing were vastly different from police accounts.

Police claimed that Menezes, 27, who was wearing a "suspiciously bulky coat", was challenged by officers before fleeing into the underground.

But leaked documents reveal that closed circuit television footage shows him wearing a light denim jacket, walking casually into the station and using his travelcard, not fleeing officers and vaulting a ticket barrier as police had claimed.

Tapes even show that he stopped — in the last few moments of his life — to bend down and pick up a copy of a free newspaper in the station foyer. Menezes was seen to board the Tube train through the middle doors, before sitting down on a seat facing the platform.

A spokesman for the Menezes family’s campaign for justice, Asad Rehman, said, "The people of London have been told lies and half-truths about how Jean died.

"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 added.

"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."

Harriet Wistrich and Gareth Peirce, lawyers for the Menezes family, said that it is clear that the "entire body of information which had been placed in the public domain since his shooting was false".

From the beginning, the "most senior of police officers and government ministers, including the prime minister, claimed the death of Jean Charles to be an unfortunate accident, occurring in the context of an entirely legitimate, justifiable, lawful and necessary policy.

"Sir Ian Blair should resign. The lies that appear to have been put out are clearly wrong. And nobody has stepped in to correct the lies", Wistrich said.

Two top Brazilian officials met with London police on August 22 as part of their own investigation of the incident.

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