At 10:03am on 22nd July 2005 Jean Charles de Menezes was killed by the Metropolitan Police, the day after an attempted second wave of suicide bombings on the London Underground. He was mistaken for a suicide bomber he didn’t even resemble, was never challenged, never questioned, never had the chance to identify himself, yet upon sitting in his seat on his tube train into work, he was attacked by multiple members of a Met kill team who simply held him down and shot seven bullets into his head. Later in the day Sir Ian Blair reported that he had been wearing clothing resembling a suicide bomber, had run into the station upon being challenged, thus justifying what was still an erroneous killing. None of that was remotely true.
De Menezes was the first victim of the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Kratos – a shoot-to-kill policy to be used against suicide bombers, borrowing from Israel’s example of killing first and asking questions later. Yet instead of apologising or explaining, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair instead tried to block the initial inquiry:
Sir Ian Blair personally ordered that independent investigators be denied access to the scene where an innocent man had been shot dead by police after being mistaken for a suicide bomber, it emerged yesterday.
The commissioner of the Metropolitan police wrote to the Home Office to block an independent investigation into the death of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell tube station on July 22. By law the Independent Police Complaints Commission should have been called in by the Met to investigate the case.
During the later health and safety prosecution against the Met, they doctored photos of Jean to suggest there were similarities between him and Osman, said there were traces of cocaine found in his body (irrelevant if true) and that he had overstayed his visa illegally. It was an entire drip-fed campaign of character assassination, no doubt designed as a last gasp attempt to justify the killing in the public’s mind.
The Met was found guilty in said trial, and the Stockwell One Inquiry by the IPCC listed numerous fundamental failings by the force, including the still-unexplained four hours it took for the firearms team to arrive, and the oddly contradictory orders of then Commander Cressida Dick. Surveillance logs were even altered, yet none of the officers involved in his killing has had disciplinary action taken against them, despite the guilty verdict against the Met. The inquiry also criticised:
(then Commander Cressida) Dick for failing to make it clear that her instruction to “stop” De Menezes did not mean that she wanted him shot. It was revealed that she missed part of a briefing because she was sent to the wrong room and she had been unaware how far out of position a firearms team vital to the operation had been.
De Menezes was followed from a south London address police believed was used by a terrorist suspect. He was supposed to be stopped by elite armed officers, but despite being ordered to get to the scene at 5am, they took more than four hours and were out of position and unable to stop De Menezes until he entered the underground station.
A bunch of armed and incompetent, trigger happy Met thugs then murdered Jean Charles de Menezes in cold blood:
The report says “it may be of significance” none of the 17 passengers heard any police warning, adding: “There is significant doubt as to whether they shouted this in the carriage.” All eight police in the carriage claimed the warning was given.
Incompetence, murder and corruption. We can only hope that the upcoming inquest will provide even a meagre measure of justice for him and his family. The photos are mine, and are of the third anniversary memorial of his death, at events both at Stockwell tube station and the Houses of Parliament. The folder can be accessed separately here.