Remember Juan Charles de Menezes? He’s the Brazilian electrician who was shot seven times in the head by the Metropolitan Police, after he ran from anti-terrorist officers who suspected him of being a suicide bomber, and who chased him after he had vaulted over a ticket barrier at Stockwell underground station.
Well, it now turns out that the whole thing was a pack of lies: apart, sadly, from the bit about him being shot seven times in the mouth from point-blank range. Leaked documents from the police investigation show that:
- Mr Menezes did not realise he was being followed.
- He didn’t run.
- He didn’t vault over the ticket barrier – he bought a ticket, picked up a free newspaper and boarded the train calmly.
- He wasn’t wearing a “padded jacket”: his denim jacket can clearly be seen in the above photograph, if you can bear to look that closely.
- He was already being held by one officer when he was shot while seated in the carriage: “I grabbed the male in the denim jacket by wrapping both my arms around his torso, pinning his arms to his side. I then pushed him back on to the seat where he had been previously sitting … I then heard a gun shot very close to my left ear and was dragged away on to the floor of the carriage” (police officer’s statement to the investigation).
It is also alleged that no video footage was taken of Mr de Menezes leaving his flat, because the police officer on surveillance was relieving himself at the time. Well, I’m sorry, but in the light of everything else, I simply don’t believe that. I suspect that’s another shoddy attempt to maintain a last fig-leaf of “innocent human error” to justify the police actions (the most charitable description of which would now appear to be criminal gross negligence, if not outright murder).
What really angers me is the propaganda that was pumped out by the authorities in order to “manage” the public response to this outrage. “He was running from the police”, “he jumped over the ticket barrier”, “he was an illegal immigrant”, all lies or irrelevant smears intended to defuse public anger by producing a response that could be summed up as, “Well, ghastly business, but I guess the police had no choice”.
And I’m angry with myself for falling for this sort of propaganda every time. I fell for it in 1991, I fell for it in 2003, and I fell for it this time.
But to return to the point, you might be wondering if it would be too much to expect the Home Secretary and the Metropolitan Police Commissioner to resign over this. Well, yes, I expect it would.
Update: The BBC has a side-by-side comparison of the initial reports versus the new evidence.