THE police account of the events that led to their unlawful killing of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell underground station in London on July 22 never seemed convincing. There were too many unanswered questions about the way in which they had acted. Yesterday's leak of evidence given to the Independent Police Complains Commission (IPCC), which is looking into the shoot-to-kill tactics that resulted in Sr Meneses' death, suggests that the information given to the public by the Metropolitan Police at the time was at best “economical with the truth” or at worst untrue. When I wrote on this subject soon after the killing I quoted the words of John Stalker, the former deputy chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, who once conducted an inquiry into the shoot-to-kill policy in Northern Ireland. Mr Stalker said: “A policeman in that situation is only as good as the information coming through his earpiece.” It appears from yesterday's leak that “gold command” had identified Mr Menezes as a suspect in the London bombings and instructed the surveillance team that he should be prevented from entering the underground system. CCTV video shows Menezes walking into Stockwell station in a normal way (not running and vaulting the ticket barrier, as the police alleged, nor wearing the padded jacket which led the police to think that he was a suicide bomber), entering a train and taking a seat. Thereafter confusion reigned and there is new and conflicting evidence, especially from a surveillance officer who sat next to Menezes and restrained him when someone shouted “police”. All that we know for certain is that Mr Menezes, the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time, finished up dead. The sooner the IPCC's report is published the better. It is understandable, and acceptable, that the Home Office, the police and the IPCC itself refuse to comment on the contents of the leak; it is only part of the story and the final judgement can only be made on the full report. But the knowledge that the leaked evidence exists will result in the public reading the report very carefully indeed to ensure that it is entirely free of whitewash.


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