‘Police who shot Brazilian didn’t think he was a threat’
LONDON: Police who followed an innocent Brazilian shot dead on suspicion of being a suicide bomber did not believe he was an immediate threat, The Observer newspaper reported on Sunday.
Quoting senior police sources, it said three surveillance officers who followed Jean Charles de Menezes into a south London subway station where he died on July 22 did not feel he was armed or about to set off a bomb.
They wanted to detain the 27-year-old electrician, but were instructed to hand over the operation to a team of armed police who then shot him dead in a carriage full of horrified commuters, the newspaper said.
“There is no way those three (surveillance) guys would have been on the train carriage with him (De Menezes) if they believed he was carrying a bomb,” a police source was quoted as saying.
“Nothing he did give the surveillance team the impression that he was carrying a device.”
In a similar report, the Sunday Mirror newspaper said the surveillance officer who restrained De Menezes inside the carriage was “totally shocked when the suspect was repeatedly shot while he was holding him”.
The reports added to a furore over the death of De Menezes in the tense days after the July 7 bombings in the British capital in which 56 people were killed, including four apparent Islamist suicide bombers.
Home Secretary Charles Clarke said late Saturday he was “very happy” with Blair’s conduct, adding the Metropolitan Police had done “very well” in response to the worst terrorist attacks ever on British soil in terms of loss of life.
“I am very happy with the conduct, not only of Sir Ian Blair, but the whole Metropolitan Police in relation to this inquiry,” he told the BBC.
“From the public order events through to the investigation of the terrible atrocities on July 7 and 21 the Metropolitan Police have done very well.”
Mr Clarke added: “Obviously the death of Mr de Menezes is a terrible tragedy as everybody acknowledges, and it needs to be very properly and fully investigated, which is what the Independent – I emphasise the ‘independent’ – Police Complaints Commission is doing and will do.” afp