The case of Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian electrician working in London who was shot dead by police a year ago while minding his own business at Stockwell tube station, continues to boggle the mind.
This is a case where the police were so astonishingly incompetent that – due to one officer taking a pee, and others acting with a callous stupidity that is frankly rather difficult to comprehend even in an atmosphere of fear and suspicion following the earlier tube bombings – they identified completely the wrong man as a suspected suicide bomber. Well, after all, he did live in the same block of flats, so that makes him guilty, right?
Spot the difference
(Left: Menezes. Right: actual suspect Osman)
They then shot him dead. And then they lied about it. They deliberately painted an untrue picture of a man in suspiciously thick padded clothing, i.e. potentially concealing a bomb about his person, who had vaulted over the ticket barriers, run away from the police, refused to stop when challenged and then turned on the police when cornered in a tube train. All lies. And if there was no out-and-out manipulation of evidence (and I would eat my hat if there wasn’t) then there was at the very least a concerted effort to cover up this appalling, tragic, unmitigated cock-up.
And now, we hear that no charges are to be brought against any of the individual police officers for this appalling incompetence and dishonesty. Not the ones who shot Mr Menezes. Not the ones who wrongly identified him. Not the ones who should have made sure he was stopped and questioned before things got out of control. Not the ones who participated in the cover-up. Nobody.
However, it’s not all bad. The CPS are planning to charge the Met for breaches of Health and Safety legislation. Apparently the police as a body failed in their duty to protect Mr Menezes from risks to his health and safety. Who knew?
The family, unsurprisingly, are taking this as an insult. I would too.
What is yet more sickening is that the police continue to support the officers involved (despite looming disciplinary proceedings), evidently intend to defend the case and have in any event expressed their “concern” and “disappointment” at the decision to prosecute.