So it was murder then

For once in my life, I’m not terribly pleased to be proven right. Is it still Officially Unpatriotic to criticise the police…?

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45 thoughts on “So it was murder then

  1. If you replace "proven right" with "lucky enough that my hunch, based on pure guesswork fuelled by anti-police cynicism, turned out to be vindicated by evidence that emerged much later", you might be on slightly more accurate ground…

  2. Hmmmm a bit harsh I think. Anti-police cynicism (particularly when the police statements are given with the kind of bombast and bollocks which characterised Sir Ian Blair’s presentation) is usually a much better bet than it is given credit for and it is very much to John’s credit that he remembered this fact a mere three days after the second set of bombings. Given that there are a lot more innocent people in London than guilty ones, the Bayesian estimate would almost certainly be that a shooting victim would be an innocent person rather than a guilty one unless you believed that the Met’s intelligence and processes were very good indeed, which John didn’t, so I don’t think this can be characterised as a wild guess either.

  3. Given the track record of armed police officers, cynicism was always well founded. So the hunch can be said to be informed by experience rather than luck.

  4. To the more substantive question of whether criticism of the police can be patriotic, self-evidently it can and is. If police procedures and conduct were such that an innocent man was brutally slain then we need to know why. The police would not have caught the bombing suspects without crucial support from the public – a couple of coppers told me as much the other day. They don’t want public confidence to be undermined, especially now. So by exposing muddle, incompetence and trigger-happy murderers one is both protecting the safety of oneself and one’s fellow citizens, and ensuring that the police are likely to be more, not less, successful in preventing further attacks.

    Ain’t life grand?

  5. Is it still Officially Unpatriotic to criticise the police…?

    Hey, what’s the worst they can do to you if it is? Oh… right.

  6. Is it still Officially Unpatriotic to criticise the police…?

    Probably, but who cares? It’s totally justified and absolutely necessary to criticise the police very severely in this instance, and if that makes me Officially Unpatriotic then I don’t give a rat’s arse.

    I’d like to see senior police heads roll on this one, but I guess there’s fat chance of that…

  7. he wasn’t even carrying a table leg????

    Michael the police lied from the start that much was obvious from the first statement and how touchy they were… people in my office were suspicious from the start… not just me this time… from the moment BBC 24 showed the distraught witness people could tell the police were lying

  8. Oh but you ARE pleased, or why else would you have posted it? BIG PAT ON THE BACK, BIIIIG PAT!!! Well done Shot by Both Sides for being the self congratulatory smug dickheads you were always going to be on this issue. Police lied from start? how about didnt say too much but the media circus kicked in pretty damn quick and whipped all you people up into a victim frenzy. The police were faced with a hideous situation in Stockwell that much is fact. Otherwise?? The facts arent all out but as ever the mentalists ‘who know best’ are quick to cry ‘murder’. With your benefit of hindsight and ability to work it all out so neatly. The nasty nasty officer concerned might just possibly have known that every action he took that day would be scrutinised regardless and made a call he knew would be controversial and in this case tragic. Hopefully this family man that acted under orders wont get done for ‘murder’ to appease you blood baying morons. Tragic? Yes. Murder? Fuck off.

  9. "The police were faced with a hideous situation in Stockwell that much is fact. "

    No it isn’t.
    Well, it wasn’t hideous before they made it so.

    "The facts arent all out "

    No, but "the CCTV cameras weren’t working" was a fact 3 days ago and suddenly isn’t.

    "Police lied from start? how about didnt say too much "

    but everything, every bloody thing, they said was a lie.

    At its best it means that plods on the ground are scared to tell their brass the truth. At its worst there’s a culture of lies from top to bottom.

  10. It is important, I think, to ‘hang fire’ and wait for an authoritative report on the affair. However, it has been clear for many years, in a variety of areas, that the so-called ‘officer corps’ of the police service is pretty second-rate. Given the ‘education’(?) standards of this country over recent years it is hardly surprising that the overall intelligence of the ‘other ranks’ in the police service are equally dim. Add to that, a vociferous and ideologically motivated, anti-police faction, plus, a series of terrorist atrocities, and you get the kind of febrile atmosphere evinced on this blog. These young ‘Trot-lotters’ are an excitable bunch at the best of times and are ever-eager to prove their right-on, radical credentials!

  11. I think the idea that the Police were faced with a "hideous situation" in Stockwell is the lie we don’t believe anymore. It appears as of 21/7 there had been 7 other cases in which they had almost shot. But didn’t. Presumably these cases were based on even more flimsy evidence than the "mongolian-eyed man leaves poor area of London" that did for de Menezes.

  12. "Is HSASIACO really OP?"

    No,the style is completely different. And OP has it over HSASIACO in that she starts from a valid point. In a world full of shitty religions, Islam is a very shitty religion.

  13. Don’t insult me. At least I can write proper English. Unlike most people posting here.

  14. Benjamin, is this a joke?
    How can 11 bullets (three are reported to have missed) into a prone, restrained, unarmed victim, with seven going into his head, be anything but murder?

  15. Hell:

    Well, because the shoot to kill policy is technically legal (dubious but legal) and they shot the wrong bloke. They shot Menezes through error, neglect, incompetance, negligence etc., but they did not intend to shoot de Menezes the innocent man. They intended to shoot a suicide bomber, which would have been legal if the shoot to kill policy is legal.

    So that’s manslaughter not murder.

  16. Hell is Other People – you are quick to judge a situation and the police. What makes you this phenomenal expert on the situation and the thoughts and actions of those actually involved? And apologies OP you are right if that was aimed at me on the language level (not big not clever) but frankly i had had it with the holier than thou mob who jump onto the media circus to prove a point. I do feel bad for the officers involved at the moment. From what we glean from the ‘facts’ being circulated if indeed we have to speculate before the full report is out, it would appear the armed officers to arrest the guy, arrived after the surveillance team and it looks like they were confronted with a struggle on the tube where the surveillance officer was involved. Whatever they made in a few seconds a judgment for which ive no doubt they feel horrible. Sky news (sorry not the BBC..) reported from a former officer the day after it all happened that the officers would not have had to state they were police in the situation. Were mistakes made? Certainly. Will heads roll? Absolutely. Should officers seemingly playing by the rules of engagement in this instance and asked to make a decision – be charged with murder? No. And should the full facts come out and the police be criticised for the way they handled it – definitey. But without rubbing our hands with glee. Its a new situation they confronted and of course noone wants any innocents to die, lessons must be learned. David Duff certainly put it far more eloquently than i. They are far from perfect but they are family men doing their jobs by the rules set them.

  17. Hell:

    By the way, I still think the situation is bloody appalling and the police have an enormous amount to answer for. An innocent man is dead, and the police should be accountable, heads should roll, and court action should follow if appropriate. Justice should be done.

    But I was just giving an opinion as to the status, in legal terms, of this homicide.

  18. Also the fact that they used 7 bullets to the brain is possibly indicative of the state of mind of the officers. Over excited, reckless maybe, thinking they had cornered a suicide bomber and ridiculously making sure of the kill.

    And of course they had come to that final state of mind through of a series of erroneous steps that are fully the responsibility of the police.

  19. And I think you’re right – given the nature of situations like this, the actual gunman is almost certainly going to be indemnified against a charge of murder unless it could be proved that he personally was grossly negligent.

    But that in turn would involve demonstrating that it was entirely his decision to open fire, and that he was aware that he might be dealing with an innocent man.

    On the other hand, if he genuinely thought, on the basis of information supplied by someone with the necessary authority, that he was dealing with a suicide bomber, then it’s inconceivable that a murder charge would be justified, any more than the late Albert Pierrepoint would justify a murder charge for carrying out his job as the last official British hangman.

  20. Someone said earlier:

    The police were faced with a hideous situation in Stockwell that much is fact.

    But the "hideous situation" was entirely of the police’s manufacture. They should not have even been in the tube station with this guy, let alone shooting him dead on the train.

    It was a complete failure of intelligence and communication.

    Yes, I agree its not murder, but other forms of homicide can still be awful crimes, and the police are still responsible.

  21. eh? how did they manufacture the need to be staking out the bombers address – he did live there after all. Im refering to the general area not just the tube station. Im not too clear on all the facts leading up to how they ended up in the tube station so i couldnt say it was a failure of intell and comms yet. Trial by media? Neither can i account for why seven shots were fired. Ridiculously making sure of the kill – yep bet they threw their heads back and were laughing aswell.

  22. HSASIACO, I don’t pretend to be an expert on this, and if you go back to my first comment on this thread you’ll see that I’m not a knee-jerk cop-basher either. I do think it’s deeply unsatisfactory for all concerned for this to be played out in public before the investigation is complete, but we have the Met’s aggressive, and amateurish, news management strategy to thank for that.

    I also tend to the view that in the "hideous situation", probably it’s unrealistic to expect a pumped-up armed cop to do much else than find the target and start shooting. The real problem, on the basis of what we know, lies with the policy (which clearly needs reviewing), the chain of command (which gave the order to kill), and the mess the police, notably Sir Ian, have made of events since 22 July.

    Go to my blog if you want to check out how HIOP’s been covering this since it happened.

    Oh, and not so fast with the "smug" accusations either. John makes it clear in his post that vindication of initial suspicions is, in this case, the last thing he, or anyone here, wanted.

  23. how did they manufacture the need to be staking out the bombers address – he did live there after all

    I don’t think that this has been established.

  24. HSASIACO

    Yes, they were staking out an address, then they followed the wrong guy, didn’t identify him correctly, didn’t attempt to apprehend him before he got to a tube station, then shot him on a tube train. This is a police screw up, big time.

    What I mean by "manufacture" is that the police were in the station pursuing an innocent man entirely by their own mistakes. It was a delusion created by their own errors.

    For Menezes, it was a completely normal situation, he was simply going to work. He was utterly unaware anything was amiss until just about the moment of his death.

  25. "They intended to shoot a suicide bomber, which would have been legal if the shoot to kill policy is legal."

    You’re simplifying things. The question is whether a reasonable person would – given that facts as the accused honestly believed them to be – regard the force used as reasonable or excessive. The details are all online.

    http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/section5/chapter_d.html

    Frankly, the law is designed so as to give huge amounts of discression to the CPS. People commit crimes all the time and aren’t prosecuted, even though they could be, because there isn’t a "public interest in prosecuting" (i.e. it isn’t convienient to enforce the law).

  26. Much as we may sympathise with the police officer concerned, I am afraid the correct charge IS murder. He had the intent to kill, that’s clear. He killed, that’s also clear. He therefore meets both legal criteria (intent to cause grievous bodily harm would have been enough) and – in the absence of a legitimate defence – he is guilty.

    What could that defence be? Provocation? I don’t think so. Self-defence? The victim was being held down, helpless, by a colleague. Obviously he is innocent until proven guilty, but it looks bad. His orders are no defence to him. A split second appraisal of the situation would have made it clear that de Menezes posed no threat. He was carrying no bags and we have now all seen the pictures which show he was lightly dressed with no scope to conceal a bomb.

    Of course, the people who ordered the killing are guilty too. In the world of ordinary crime, it’s not just the "button man" but the boss who orders the hit who is guilty. In the absence of specific legislation, the government or police have no right to introduce the "shoot to kill" policy. To do so, they would have to introduce a new defence to a charge of murder. Both Blairs should be in the dock alongside the unfortunate officer and his commander.

    Had there been reasonable cause to suppose that de Menezes was a suicide bomber carrying a device, then the officer could have pleaded "self-defence" as he would have been protecting himself and others. However, just imagine what a jury would make of that defence in this case if any of us had killed de Menezes in the alleged belief that he was carrying a bomb.

  27. On the technical point concerning, if you like, the ‘over-kill’ implied in firing several rounds into the man, that is standard practice. The intention is to kill the brain as quickly as possible – at least, quicker than it takes for some-one to press the button on a mobile ‘phone! It sounds horrific because it is horrific, but it is also essential.

    Events seem to be moving apace which is good, and one hopes that the prints hound the story in order to get an official and detailed report out to the public as soon as possible. Most Chief Constables appear to be super-glued to their chairs so the chances of Commissioner Blair falling on his truncheon are probably remote. We shall see.

  28. hmm must have misread the rather smug headline then.

    Trial by media AGAIN – in other comments – how do we know he was held down and shot? Intent on using the media to see this cop get banged up then -why is Jean Charles pictured lying on the floor face down, no shoes and with his Oyster card (looks like) by his hand. Struggle maybe? I dont know. THINK THE FACTS NEED TO BE CLEAR BEFORE THERE IS ANY PUBLIC HANGING. Is that so wrong? Dont think it is right to rush to judge a situation with the power of hindsight.

    Looks like this mess will take years to clear up. Wouldnt think the cops would be charged with either manslaughter or murder though. Unlawful killing perhaps. But how is it ‘unlawful’ if he is following government/police orders?

    And interesting to see joe public still in favour of the shoot to kill policy in spite of the story on ITV poll.

  29. hmm must have misread the rather smug headline then.

    Trial by media AGAIN – in other comments – how do we know he was held down and shot? Intent on using the media to see this cop get banged up then – ok so why is Jean Charles pictured lying on the floor face down, no shoes and with his Oyster card (looks like) by his hand. WHO KNOWS?! THINK THE FACTS NEED TO BE CLEAR BEFORE THERE IS ANY PUBLIC HANGING. Is that so wrong? Dont think it is right to rush to judge a situation with the power of hindsight and sensationalist press clippings.

    Looks like this mess will take years to clear up. Wouldnt think the cops would be charged with either manslaughter or murder though. Unlawful killing perhaps.

    And interesting to see joe public still in favour of the shoot to kill policy in spite of the story on ITV poll.

  30. Suppose that the leaks are true and – less likely – have no serious omissions. The surveillance chaps on the train identify the victim-to-be to the gun guys. The latter shout. Our victim gets up and walks towards them. One of the surveillance chaps is very brave and bear-hugs him, presumably to stop him setting off his bomb. (They have been instructed to assume that he has a bomb, I presume?) One of the gun guys sees the pair wrestling, presumably fears the bomb going off and, as instructed (or, at least, permitted) shoots the victim in the head. Have I got this right?

    What a bloody tale of error and misunderstanding, but what my morning paper doesn’t make clear is who – if anyone – issued the instruction that the victim was to be treated as a bomber and who promulgated the procedure that lead to that decision. Responsibility surely lies much higher up the chain of command than the policemen on the train. Just one more thought: anyone who succumbs to the irrationality of complaining about the number of shots fired is in a particularly poor position to criticise the police’s decision-making.

  31. One more one more: ‘But the "hideous situation" was entirely of the police’s manufacture. They should not have even been in the tube station with this guy, let alone shooting him dead on the train.’ This is just logically confused. You need to distinguish the moral, decision-making, knowledge-bearing agents – individuals – not rope everyone together into a bogus collective noun "the police". Thus you say the police manufactured the situation, the police were in the station, the police shot him dead. But these were different policeman and you’ll never think clearly about the case if you lump them together.

  32. Just to be clear: this week’s revelations come from police statements submitted to the IPCC investigators, so presumably are kosher – more kosher than Ian Blair’s statements to the press, although possibly misleading in isolation so will make more sense in the context of the IPCC report to the Crown Prosecution Service.

    The order to proceed on the basis that Menezes was indeed a suicide bomber, as has been reported, came from the Gold Commander, who has the unenviable task of giving or withholding the order to shoot in these cases. The officer in question is one Cressida Dick, previously the Met’s diversity chief. Money’s got to be on her "retiring on health grounds" before Sir Ian, I would have thought?

  33. Tom Paine

    You can have intent to kill, and kill, and it still NOT be murder in the legal sense. You can have intent to kill, and it can still be manslaughter.

  34. HIOP: It’s not actually established that Cressida Dick did give the order to shoot; at least one newspaper this morning was claiming she gave exactly the opposite order to "detain".

  35. Looks like my faith that the police officers concerned were acting justifiably to prevent a terrorist bombing was more than a little misplaced. Even I’ve got to say WTF were these officers thinking?

    This tells me that the police have no fucking plan to deal with a potential suicide bombing at all. No fucking plan and no fucking clue.

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