The Killing of Jean Charles de Menezes
On July 22 on the Underground Tube in London, the Metropolitan Police, along with a special unit of Security Forces, shot dead an innocent man. Seven shots to the head and one to the shoulder. His name was Jean Charles de Menezes. He was a Brazilian electrician who had lived in London for five years.
Surveillance teams had been watching the apartment complex where Mr. de Menezes lived because they had found the address among the effects of one of the failed July 21st bombers. The targets of their surveillance were two men, one of whom was about de Menezes’ height, weight and build. But the suspect’s complexion was listed as C3: he was a dark complected Ethiopian, Hussein Osman. Mr. de Menezes was a light-complected Brazillian.
The surveillance team was stationed in the building across the street from the building where de Menezes lived. One of the team was not watching as de Menezes left the building, as he was busy “relieving himself.” The Sunday UK Times did a two page spread on the surveillance team. (This was a few months ago… don’t have it with me.) One guy on the team passed de Menezes to ID him. Then that guy was off the team. Another guy passed de Menezes looking at him face to face. He was off the team. I think there were three passes on the sidewalk in front of de Menezes apartment building. After three face-to-face passes they apparently made the determination that this was indeed the man they were looking for. But there was a problem. Right age group, right build and height. Wrong complexion. Wrong ethnic origin. He didn’t fit the profile. There was a shadow of a doubt.
Hussein Osman, 27 year old suspect
Apprehended September, 2005
The Cover Up
Police changed Menezes log
January 31, 2006
- De Menezes was shadowed by a Special Branch team as he headed to Stockwell. They believed they were following an attacker and radioed another officer with reports on what was happening. He kept a log. One of the team identified de Menezes as the terrorist suspect. This was noted, although the IPCC also found that elsewhere in the log there were “degrees of doubt” raised by the team.
The log was changed at a debriefing meeting at 8pm that night, about 10 hours after the shooting. Police were still saying de Menezes might have had terrorist links.
The log originally said there was a positive identification but the word “not” was then added. None of the radio traffic during the operation was recorded, which meant that blame for the events leading to de Menezes’s death could have fallen on the commanders and controllers rather than the team.
But the IPCC team is said to have been alerted by a whistleblower. A scientific technique for checking changes in documents showed the change that had been made. The team has denied changing the log.
Last week some of the results of a six-month Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation into the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes were published in the UK Sunday Times. The shoot-to-kill order could only have come from the Gold Shield Commander, and that is Cressida Dick. Commander Dick has told investigators that she ordered officers only to stop de Menezes from going down into the Stockwell tube station: Her message: “Stop the man.” She said she had only had two hours sleep the night before. (See: “Mixed Up Messages That Killed Menezes”; UK Sunday Times, January 15)
The surveillance team following de Menezes sent a message to security officers, “This is the man.” The firearm officers received the message, “This is the man. This is the suicide bomber.” They did not receive the message: “This is the man. This is the man we have been following.”
When Mr. de Menezes was shot, he was sitting in the subway train reading the Metro Newspaper. He had passed through the ticket gateway, picked up a free newspaper, and entered the train. He was dressed in jeans and a denim jacket that was open. Witnesses who described a man with a bulky jacket vaulting the ticket gateway were describing an armed security officer. Throughout the day following the killing of de Menezes the papers were filled with reports that the suspect had been wearing a bulky jacket and vaulted the ticket turnstile. Throughout the day the papers were full of rationalizations for the shoot-to-kill policy.
The officers who shot de Menezes understood that their orders were to stop him by deadly force. They understood that this shoot-to-kill policy had been authorized from the top. Did any one of them question whether they had the right man? Did any one of them question the sense of shooting a suspected terrorist rather than taking him in for questioning?
A full day passed until the news was released that the Metropolitan Police had killed an innocent man. Prime Minister Tony Blair and Chief of Metropolitan Police Ian Blair both made statements during that first day that they had used deadly force on a suicide bomber, even when they were aware that de Menezes was not a suspect. They both tried to prevent an investigation, and once underway, to impede its progress.
The public’s response: The day after the shooting, just 8 hours before it was announced that de Menezes was an innocent man, the front page of one UK paper read, “SHOOT ALL BOMBERS.” de Menezes was described as a terrorist. All that day officials in UK government and law enforcement put out statements to explain and justify a shoot-to-kill-on-suspicion policy, even as it was being revealed to them that they had killed an innocent man.
On the day that Menezes was killed execution-style Tony Blair and Chief of Metropolitan Police Ian Blair were searching for a way to make de Menezes look guilty after he had been executed, and looking for a way to make their shoot-to-kill policy look like the right one. And it was during that day, as the surveillance team, the armed officers, and Commander Dick found out they had killed an innocent man, that the police log was altered. They had rung in: This is the suspect. The altered log book read: This is NOT the suspect.The cover-up was in full swing.
Jean Charles de Menezes was executed in London before everyday people on their morning commute. Ordinary people have read and listened and watched their government struggling to find a justification for what the de Menezes family calls “an execution.” The family said Jean Charles had acted as “training” for the security forces. They said by shooting dead 27-year-old Jean Charles de Menezes the police had learned the wrong course of action and were now using stun guns instead. Thus, de Menezes has become part of the “learning curve” of the Metropolitan Police Force, and the Blair government.
More On The Cover Up
Police changed Menezes log
Australian, Australia – January 31, 2006
LONDON: Undercover detectives altered a surveillance log to avoid blame for the death of Jean Charles de Menezes in a bungled counter-terrorist operation
Cover up claims in de Menezes shooting
ITN, UK – January 31, 2006
Police `faked evidence’ on Tube shooting
Gulf Times, Qatar – January 31, 2006
… Asad Rehman, the family’s spokesman, said these latest reports reinforced their belief that there had been a deliberate cover-up over de Menezes death
MENEZES SHOOTING: THE COVER-UP
Free Market News Network, January 31, 2006
…had been attributed to one overzealous British cop, is now looking like a cover-up. … to shift the blame for the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes by British
Police cover-up claim in killing of de Menezes
Scotsman, United Kingdom – January 31, 2006
Officers launched a “blatant” cover-up in an attempt to conceal their fatal role in the shooting of the innocent Brazilian, Jean Charles de Menezes.