Where There Were No Doors

Follow your bliss and doors will open where there were no doors before - Joseph Campbell

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The blogs are alive with the sound of outrage

A week ago I wrote a piece, though never published it, about the violent death of Jean Charles de Menezes at the hands of the police. It expressed outrage all right, but the article is filled with equivocation and "mitigating circumstances".

After all, the guy did vault the ticket barriers after the police had challenged him and told him to stop moving. And he ran through Stockwell station and onto the tube. And he was wearing a fairly bulky jacket on a warm day. And he'd been positively identified (mistakenly, but that - sadly - can happen) as one of the suicide bombers that had failed to blow up trains the previous day.

My article of course is out-of-date. If we're to believe the leaks... none of the above is true.

Jean Charles de Menezes was shot eight times (seven in the head), after being restrained, by police who had only that moment identified themselves. He had not been identified as one of the bombers (merely someone who should be checked out), he was wearing a light denim jacket, had taken a bus to the tube station, stopped to pick up a newspaper, used his season ticket to get through the barriers (did, admittedly, run the last few yards to the platform as every Londoner does when they hear a train pull in) and made no attempt to disobey anything shouted at him by his pursuers... who he was completely unaware of up until a handful of seconds prior to being leapt on and executed.

So how did my original article get it so wrong? Sadly I made the mistake of basing it on "the facts" as announced by Sir Ian Blair (no relation), the boss of all our police. Either the top policeman in the city failed to ascertain himself of the facts prior to making a public statement on television and issuing a press release, or he just plain told lies.

This makes the man's position untenable. There is now, and will continue to be - so long as Blair is the boss - a serious question mark over any "facts" as officially released by the Metropolitan Police. It's really not acceptable to have a demonstrably untrustworthy police force. Not at any time, but especially not during times of like these.

For more, I suggest you read the statement from Harriet Wistrich and Gareth Peirce, lawyers for the family of Jean Charles de Menezes.

And then read how Sir Ian Blair actively tried to prevent an independent investigation of the shooting on the grounds that it "could impact on national security and intelligence".

And then read Larry's piece which is worth reading in itself and also provides a handy round-up of other blogs covering it.


Blogger L said...

I guess people should try to look as non-foreign as possible if they want to survive, eh? I could see this sort of thing happening here... in fact, I'm surprised it didn't happen here first

19/8/05 03:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

... and always allow an extra quarter of an hour to get anywhere so you *never* have to run for the train.


19/8/05 13:01  
Blogger merrick said...

The discrepancies seem to be being noted in the inquiry. Those responsible may be held to account.

Then again, they may just sacrifice one of the coppers with guns so that Ian Blair can keep his job. Who's to say?

28/9/05 18:30  

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