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Bad Met planning led to De Menezes shooting, court hears

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  • Bad Met planning led to De Menezes shooting, court hears

    Very sad case of the Brazilian electrician mistaken for a terrorist and killed by the Met in July 2005.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/menezes/st...181090,00.html

    Bad Met planning led to De Menezes shooting, court hears
    James Sturcke, Fred Attewill and agencies
    Monday October 1, 2007

    The Metropolitan police had "invited disaster" and needlessly put the public at risk by poorly planning the operation that led to the fatal shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, a court heard today.

    An Old Bailey jury was told that the 27-year-old, who had been mistaken for a suicide bomber, was gunned down by two police officers in a "shocking and catastrophic error" that could have been avoided.

    Jurors heard how the operation descended into chaos after De Menezes was shot, with armed police confronting an undercover officer and the fleeing driver of the tube train.

    It was also claimed that a surveillance officer went to the toilet when he was supposed to be videotaping De Menezes, and the trail was lost as a result.

    The Met denies health and safety failures leading up to the shooting of De Menezes on a tube train at Stockwell station in south London on July 22 2005. Clare Montgomery QC, prosecuting, told the opening day of the trial that the "disaster" of the innocent Brazilian electrician's death was "not the result of a fast-moving operation going suddenly and unpredictably awry".

    "It was the result of fundamental failures to carry out a planned operation in a safe and reasonable way," she said.

    The court heard how De Menezes was killed following a surveillance operation at his address at Scotia Road, south London. Police had linked the block of flats to the would-be July 21 bomber Hussain Osman.

    However, despite the surveillance having started more than four hours earlier, a firearms team had yet to arrive at the address by the time De Menezes left for work. They were two miles away getting petrol, Ms Montgomery said.

    De Menezes was followed by surveillance officers on to two buses and then on to the tube at Stockwell station. The officers asked their superiors more than once whether they should arrest him, but were told to wait, she said. CCTV images showed armed officers - who did not know whether De Menezes was the suspect - boarding the tube carriage. They were recognised by surveillance officers as armed colleagues. One of them pointed out the Brazilian, saying: "Here he is." "As the armed police entered the carriage, Jean Charles stood up," Ms Montgomery said. "He was grabbed by a surveillance officer and pushed back into his seat. "Two firearms officers leant over him and placed their Glock 9mm pistols against Jean Charles's head and fired. He was shot seven times in the head and died immediately."

    The public had been put at risk by the fact that police had allowed a suspected suicide bomber to board a packed bus and then a busy underground train, she told the court. "If Jean Charles had been a bomber, any bomb he was carrying would have been detonated well before the firearms officers entered his carriage." The failure to stop him in a "controlled and considered manner" above ground had also made it far more likely he would be shot when confronted. It was a "matter of luck" that others were not killed or injured, the court heard.

    The court was shown video of people leaving De Menezes's address at Scotia Road but heard there was no footage of him because "Frank", the officer supposed to have been filming him, was "relieving himself" at the time, Ms Montgomery said.

    He had given a description to colleagues of an unidentified white male with dark hair, beard and stubble and wearing a blue denim jacket, adding it would be "worth somebody else having a look".

    Another officer, "Ivor", then followed De Menezes on to a bus before aiming to cut him off at Stockwell station. This officer was "pacing up and down" outside the station and asked if he should make an arrest but was told to wait, Ms Montgomery said.

    Ivor followed De Menezes on to the train and sat down to his left with a few passengers between them. When he saw what were obviously armed police come on to the platform he walked to the open door and called out "He's here," pointing to De Menezes, Ms Montgomery said. "Ivor then heard shouting, including the word 'police', and he turned to face Jean Charles. Jean Charles stood up and moved towards Ivor and the firearms officers. "His hands were below his waist and slightly in front of him. Ivor thought he might be a terrorist and so he grabbed Jean Charles by wrapping his arms around his torso to pin his arms to his side and pushed him back into his seat.

    "Ivor then heard a gunshot very close to his head."

    Ivor was dragged along the floor of the carriage by a firearms officer and had a gun pointed at his chest. He protested that he was a police officer but raised his hands and backed away to the wall of the platform.

    "People were screaming and the situation was chaotic. He was later told Jean Charles was dead," Ms Montgomery said.

    Another officer, "Ken", described the "state of panic" as De Menezes was shot in the head and people ran from the carriage.

    Elsewhere, another member of the surveillance team saw an armed police officer pointing his gun at someone in the tube tunnel. It turned out to be train driver, who had fled "out of terror".

    Ms Montgomery said: "The fact that the police ended up pointing a gun at another policeman and mistaking a terrorised train driver for a terrorist gives you a clue as to just how far wrong the operation had gone."

    The prosecution alleges that a series of "grave and serious" failures by officers at all levels combined to put the public, including De Menezes, at risk. The risks occurred because of a failure to follow the strategy put in place earlier that morning by Commander John McDowell, who launched the surveillance, it is alleged.

    "There was fundamental confusion about what the operation involved and what the police were supposed to be doing," Ms Montgomery said. Everyone who came out of the block of flats should have been stopped and questioned away from the address, but no one was, she said. "If he [De Menezes] had been a suicide bomber emerging with a backpack and a murderous intent, no one had any established plan that could have dealt with him because the firearms officers had not arrived," she said.

    Ms Montgomery said the police operations room had been "noisy and chaotic" and crowded with officers from other departments who "had no real business being there".

    "The officers who were involved in the operation had to shout to make themselves heard above the noise," she said.

    "The officer who was supposed to monitor the surveillance commentary had great difficulty in hearing the radio transmissions of the surveillance officers. There were repeated requests for non-essential staff to leave the room."

    The jury was told that the trial - expected to last six weeks - would focus on the decisions made by senior officers controlling the operation during the lead-up to the Brazilian's death.

    Ms Montgomery said witnesses would prove the crown's case that the operation on July 22 "invited the disaster which occurred".

    "We say that the police planned and carried out an operation that day so badly that the public were needlessly put at risk, and Jean Charles de Menezes was actually killed as a result ... the shooting of Jean Charles was a shocking and catastrophic error.

    "His death could have been avoided if the defendant had fulfilled the duty owed to all members of the public to avoid exposing them to unnecessary risks to their health and safety."

    The trial continues.
    All your ACG posts are belong to us!

  • #2
    When I saw the headline "Bad Met" I presumed it was about the disastorous plumment of the New York baseball team.
    "If you are right, then you are right even if everyone says you are wrong. If you are wrong then you are wrong even if everyone says you are right." William Penn.

    Comment


    • #3
      The whole operation was a farce from start to finish. If a shoot to kill policy is necessary, and given the current security climate, there will be times where it is then you cannot have operations like this. The aftermath was marked by misinformation, lies and attempts to mount a coverup and to add insult to injury the police commander in charge was later promoted.

      While I do nt think you can judge the policemen who actually shot Jean Charles de Menezes too harshly everyone else involved comes out of it looking appallingly bad.
      Last edited by Sergio; 01 Oct 07, 21:45.
      "Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it"
      G.B Shaw

      "They promised us homes fit for heroes, they give us heroes fit for homes."
      Grandad, Only Fools and Horses

      Comment


      • #4
        That's what TERRORISM is all about - Our fingers on triggers get a little itchy!

        Chit happens!


        KEN
        DO NO HARM
        1st ID, 1/28th '67/'68 Phouc Vinh & Quan Loi
        Skirmishes Bu Dop Dec-67, An My, Thu Duc Feb-68
        Plt. Ldr - CIB, Purple Hearts, Silver Star
        What we write can be considered to be a reflection of our SOUL providing others to know our CHARACTER.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by KEN JENSEN View Post
          That's what TERRORISM is all about - Our fingers on triggers get a little itchy!

          Chit happens!


          KEN
          DO NO HARM
          Maybe so. However are you suggesting that thats what the response to terrorism is all about - badly planned, supervised and carried out operations? I am not sure how much you know about this case but it does not bode well for anti-terrorism operations if your attitude of oh well it happens is the prevalent one.

          Since there seems to be little sympathy for the innocent guy who was just going to work and who got blown away consider this - with the utter lack of professionalism on display here what makes you think they would be successful at finding and stopping the real terrorists? Mistakes can always happen but if a shoot to kill policy is in place and with suicide bombers it has to be then as citizens we have a right to demand the highest level of professionalism. "Chit" as you put it should not just be allowed to happen.
          "Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it"
          G.B Shaw

          "They promised us homes fit for heroes, they give us heroes fit for homes."
          Grandad, Only Fools and Horses

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Sergio View Post
            Maybe so. However are you suggesting that thats what the response to terrorism is all about - badly planned, supervised and carried out operations? I am not sure how much you know about this case but it does not bode well for anti-terrorism operations if your attitude of oh well it happens is the prevalent one.

            Since there seems to be little sympathy for the innocent guy who was just going to work and who got blown away consider this - with the utter lack of professionalism on display here what makes you think they would be successful at finding and stopping the real terrorists? Mistakes can always happen but if a shoot to kill policy is in place and with suicide bombers it has to be then as citizens we have a right to demand the highest level of professionalism. "Chit" as you put it should not just be allowed to happen.
            I'm suggesting that TERRORISM creates itchy fingers.

            Govt organizations such as police and/or army are required to protect their citizens. Sometimes these folks are placed into a position of a "rock and a hard spot" and must make on-the-spot decisions that require on-the-spot action. They are damned if they do and damned if they don't!

            I'm sure the intent is not to shoot first and ask questions later. However; bottom line, that is what takes place sometimes. CHIT HAPPENS!

            KEN
            DO NO HARM
            1st ID, 1/28th '67/'68 Phouc Vinh & Quan Loi
            Skirmishes Bu Dop Dec-67, An My, Thu Duc Feb-68
            Plt. Ldr - CIB, Purple Hearts, Silver Star
            What we write can be considered to be a reflection of our SOUL providing others to know our CHARACTER.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by KEN JENSEN View Post
              I'm suggesting that TERRORISM creates itchy fingers.

              Govt organizations such as police and/or army are required to protect their citizens. Sometimes these folks are placed into a position of a "rock and a hard spot" and must make on-the-spot decisions that require on-the-spot action. They are damned if they do and damned if they don't!

              I'm sure the intent is not to shoot first and ask questions later. However; bottom line, that is what takes place sometimes. CHIT HAPPENS!

              KEN
              DO NO HARM
              I am not sure how much you know about this particular case, and get the impression that you are misunderstanding what I am trying to say. They are not, especially from my point of view, damned if they do and damned if they don't. What this is about is a series of major mistakes and blunders made at higher levels throughout the operation which led to the shooting of a totally innocent man.

              I am not having a go at the police who fired the shots, the real blame for this fiasco lays at different points. And a read through the basic facts of this specific case should give pause for thought - if in the aftermath of a suicide bombing a surveillance operation such as this could go so badly wrong that should shake the confidence we are meant to have in their ability to track real terrorists.

              Just a thought what if he had been a bomber? He could have detonated a bomb at many points before he was shot. What if there had been a cell of suicide bombers in that building - while they were busy gunning down a bloke on his way to work they would have been off getting ready to set of their bombs.

              The point here is that that "rock and a hard place" you mentioned should never have been allowed to develop. And unless the people who allowed that to develop and then tried to cover it up with misinformation are held accountable and changes made there will be more and more screw ups like this.

              And it might do some good to remember that De Menezes was an entirely innocent man who was doing nothing more than going about his daily business. And this takes place against the backdrop of several other police operations have been found to be majorly flawed - it is not about bashing policemen who have to make split second decisions.
              "Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it"
              G.B Shaw

              "They promised us homes fit for heroes, they give us heroes fit for homes."
              Grandad, Only Fools and Horses

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Sergio View Post
                I am not sure how much you know about this particular case, and get the impression that you are misunderstanding what I am trying to say.
                My knowledge of this case is limited. Did hear of the story when it first broke here in the states. The only other information I have is what was originally posted above. And that information appeared to be only 1/2 the story as written by newspaper personnel and appeared to be one sided. Think that's what the court is trying to decide.

                I do agree that it is a sad tragedy that should not have happened. Situations as tense as these can get confusing and mis-handled. I'm not so sure how gross the mis-handling was tho.

                I did get your point that you reserved your blame for management personnel and/or policy; not the other poor individual(s) that I know is feeling very bad about shooting a presumed innocent person (in hindsight).

                Just a thought what if he had been a bomber? He could have detonated a bomb at many points before he was shot. What if there had been a cell of suicide bombers in that building - while they were busy gunning down a bloke on his way to work they would have been off getting ready to set of their bombs.
                In every situation there will always be a lot of would of's and should of's.

                I'm sure the court's final ruling will provide some direction as to what should possibly be adjusted to reduce the chances of something like this happening again. Whatever is the resolution(s), I don't believe they will be full proof.


                KEN
                DO NO HARM
                1st ID, 1/28th '67/'68 Phouc Vinh & Quan Loi
                Skirmishes Bu Dop Dec-67, An My, Thu Duc Feb-68
                Plt. Ldr - CIB, Purple Hearts, Silver Star
                What we write can be considered to be a reflection of our SOUL providing others to know our CHARACTER.

                Comment

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