Thickly Padded Stories

Jean Charles de Menezes – a Brazilian born electrician – was shot 7 times in the head without warning by police in London on the 22nd of July 2005

Where did the false stories about Jean Charles de Menezes come from?

Why did the head of the Metropolitan Police tell us police challenged him when before shooting when they didn’t ?

Why are they refusing to release CCTV footage taken at Stockwell underground station on the day they killed Jean?

Leaked police documents and still photographs from Stockwell underground station in London , along with evidence from relatives has shown that the initial account of his death was largely false.

On the day police killed De Menzes the head of the Metropolitan Police Sir Ian Blair told the media “as I understand situation the man was challenged and refused to obey police instructions”. We now know that no warning was given. One plain clothes officer pinned De Menezes to the ground, another fired 7 shots into his head with an automatic pistol .

Nor did De Menezes run from police. De Menezes had stopped and allowed uniformed police to search him on many previous occasions.

He didn’t jump over the ticket barrier – he used his travel card as usual. The man seen jumping the barrier was one of the plain clothes armed police officers.

He wasn’t wearing a ‘heavy jacket’ or a ‘thickly padded’ one – just a denim jacket .

He didn’t run from police – because they didn’t even tell him to stop – he ran to catch a train. Some plain clothes police followed him onto the train – others were already waiting on it – they killed him.

The basis for identifying him as a suicide bomber was amazingly weak.

The block of flats Jean lived in (not the address he stayed at) had been ‘linked’ (by unspecified evidence) to the July 21st bus and underground bombing attempts.

Only one police officer was keeping this block of flats under surveillance. He was ‘relieving himself’ when Jean left the building so apparently didn’t get a clear view of Jean – but passed on to his superiors that he thought Jean looked a bit like he might be one of the men involved in the July 21st bombing plot.

Why was only one officer carrying out this surveillance if there was a genuine belief that suicide bombers might be staying in this block of flats?

Who made the decision that someone maybe looking like a suspect to an officer who didn’t even get a clear view of them was sufficient grounds to order that they should be shot without any warning?

Why if Jean was considered to be a suicide bomber was he allowed to get on a bus and even onto an underground train before being stopped?

The police claim there is no CCTV camera film of Stockwell Underground Station from the 22nd of July – the day they shot Jean Charles de Menezes. Their latest explanation for this is that they had removed the film from the cameras to study footage of the attempted bombing suspects from the day before. So we are meant to believe that they left all the CCTV cameras at this station empty without putting new tapes or film into them. So in the middle of a state of high alert the day after an attempted terrorist attack they left cameras at an underground station empty. If this were true it would show amazing negligence and incompetence worth some resignations or sackings on its own by leaving London underground vulnerable to another terrorist attack– but it’s just not believable.

It also conflicts with a BBC report that accounts of CCTV footage of de Menezes inside Stockwell station have already been leaked to the IPCC investigation.

The Independent newspaper quoted Scotland Yard sources (i.e London Metropolitan Police force as saying de Menezes had been stopped by police as he got off a number 2 bus outside Stockwell underground station.If this had been true why was he shot on board a train in that station ?

There is no answer to any of these questions so far.

Whether it’s the police , ‘eye witnesses’ or other (strangely unidentified sources) they can’t get their story straight. .

What we can be fairly sure of is that we have been lied to and are still being lied to. .

Who provided the stories about the heavy jacket, about De Menezes jumping the ticket barrier and running down the escalator, about him ignoring warnings from police to stop? .

Was it Metropolitan police officers or their press officers or Sir Ian? .

Who are the eyewitnesses who have given all the various , conflicting and false accounts of the shooting ?

Commuter Mark Whitby interviewed on the BBC claimed De Menezes was wearing “a baseball cap on and quite a sort of thickish coat - it was a coat you'd wear in winter, sort of like a padded jacket. He might have had something concealed under there, I don't know. But it looked sort of out of place with the sort of weather we've been having, the sort of hot humid weather.”

The photograph below - leaked to ITN news from the Independent Police Complaints Commission into the shooting - shows that Jean was wearing jeans and a denim jacket. Many people are now wondering what led Mr Whitby to describe this as ‘padded’ or ‘a coat you’d wear in winter’. Was he just seeing what he expected to see? Shouldn’t we be told a bit more about who Mr Whitby and the other eyewitnesses are and what their jobs are so that any possible bias in their testimony can be accounted for?

Another of the eyewitnesses interviewed on the day was Anthony Larkin who said “I saw these police officers in uniform and out of uniform shouting 'get down, get down', and I saw this guy who appeared to have a bomb belt and wires coming out.”

Jean had no wires coming out of his coat and not thick belt on. He’d left his electricians belt at home that day.

Now this could just be a co-incidence . I’m sure there’s more than one Tony Larkin in London – but it would be helpful if the media could tell us whether speculation that this Anthony Larkin was Tony Larkin – a Metropolitan Police forensic scientist is accurate or not.

The three eyewitness accounts reported by the BBC also conflict with the accounts of other eyewitnesses like Lee Ruston who say the police gave Jean no verbal warning.

Who made the decision that a wildly uncertain identification that Menezes ‘might’ be a suspect was sufficient grounds for killing him without giving him any chance to surrender ?

On the day of the shooting the BBC’s Home Affairs correspondent Margaret Gilmore also reported that after the shooting de Menezes the police “…brought in the air ambulance. They did everything they can to revive him. He died at the scene.”

Given that we know from the post-mortem that they had shot Jean 8 times in the head and once in the shoulder any claim by the police that they ‘did everything they can to revive him’ couldn’t be anything but a lie. No-one shot 8 times in the head could possibly be ‘revived’. This casts further doubt on the trustworthiness of the police’s claims.

We need the answers to all these questions and then we need those responsible to be sacked or resign before facing criminal charges of manslaughter or else none of us will be able to feel that we can trust the police again. They will become just another threat to face rather than the defence standing between us and terrorism. And they won’t get the information they need to prevent further terrorist attacks because no-one will trust them enough to give it to them.

If Sir Ian Blair lied he should resign or be sacked. If he was lied to be other officers they should be sacked and face criminal charges.

The only person held to account for anything so far is the one person who has released the actual evidence to counter the misinformation that’s been disseminated – a secretary for the IPCC investigation suspended for leaking documents and photographs to the press.

Above all the shoot to kill policy must be ended now. It has failed and by reducing trust in the police it reduces the amount of information they get and their chances of preventing more terrorist attacks. .

If you want to support Jean’s family’s campaign email

copyright©Duncan McFarlane 2005




Duncan McFarlane

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