Jean Charles De Menezes
22nd July 2005

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In the weeks following the London tube suicide bombings, London remained on a state of high alert in fear of further attacks. As police frantically tried to unpick the events of that day, they began to follow other suspected plots. During one such operation they began watching flats where they believed a terror plotter was residing.

Jean Charles De Menezes - a Brazilian electrician of no connection to any terror plot - also lived at the address. On July 22nd 2005, he left his flat unknowingly shadowed by police. While the context and precise events of what happened next remain a matter of dispute, the end result is not: De Menezes was shot on board a tube train at Stockwell station, killed by no fewer than seven shots to the head.

After four years of legal action, the Metropolitan Police formally apologised to his family and paid damages believed to be around 100,000 - as well as paying substantial legal costs.

The The Metropolitan Police Commissioner offered:

"a further unreserved apology to the family for the tragic death of Jean Charles de Menezes and to reiterate that he was a totally innocent victim and in no way to blame for his untimely death."

It is believed that De Menezes was shot under the tactics defined by Operation Kratos. Under threat of perceived suicide bombing threats, police tactics premit the lethal shooting a suspect in the head to prevent detonation of any device.

The case was also notable for initial attempts to justify the killing. In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, the media were briefed that De Menezes had vaulted a pay-barrier and ran onto a train after being verbally warned by police officers. At the inquest into his death, these claims were dispelled and it was shown that police intelligence was faulty, proper procedures and chains of command broken down and De Menezes had been summarily executed with only a cursory warning.

To date, no-one has been prosecuted for his murder.

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Author: Ian Freud   |  Last updated: 23rd September 2014 | © Weird Island 2010-2021
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