Man shot in London not connected to bombing

When I first heard the news that someone – probably related to the recent bombings – had been shot to death on London after being held down I was a bit surprised. After all, after he was already down, it’d be way better to take him into custody and interrogate him.

Now the shocker: the man recently killed wasn’t connected to any bombing incident and wasn’t even under investigation. Plain clothes policemen followed him after he left a building that was under investigation; when policemen confronted him, he ran away. CNN is on the subject:

De Menezes on Friday left a south London apartment building that had been under surveillance as part of the investigation into the attempted bombings Thursday.

Officers followed him to the Stockwell Underground station. The man’s “clothing and suspicious behavior at the station added to their suspicions,” a police statement said.

He challenged police and refused to obey orders before he was shot and killed Friday morning, Blair said Friday.

A witness to the shooting, Mark Whitby, said he was sitting on the train when “I heard a lot of shouting.”

“I saw a chap run on to the train,” Whitby said. “He was running so fast he half sort of tripped. He was being pursued by three guys. One had a black handgun in his hand.”

“As he sort of went down, two of them sort of dropped on to him to hold him down, and the other one fired. I heard five shots.”

According to an eye witness report on Washing Post, he was already pinned down when shot.

“He looked like a cornered rabbit, a cornered fox, absolutely petrified,” said Mark Whitby, one of the witnesses. “They pushed him onto the floor, bundled on top of him and unloaded five shots into him. I saw it. He’s dead.”

Ken Livingstone, Mayor or London, said:

The police acted to do what they believed necessary to protect the lives of the public.

This tragedy has added another victim to the toll of deaths for which the terrorists bear responsibility.

Dude. He was shot by policemen. Five shots to his head. When he was already pinned to the floor. I’m not in a very good position to judge other countries’ police actions – you can find reports of police brutality virtually everyday on brazilian newspapers, and I don’t know the exact conditions of the incident anyways – but when police start shooting to kill people that are suspects because of their clothing when they are already held down and blaming it on terrorists, there’s something very, very wrong going on.

A brazilian newspaper (in brazilian portuguese) has a bit more info on him. Jean Charles de Menezes, the man killed, was 27 and worked as an electrician. He spoke good english and had been living in London for three years. On thursday – a day before the incident – he said to a coworker that he would probably buy a motorcycle soon, to avoid using public transport – he was afraid of more attacks. On friday, just before he was shot to death, he phoned this coworker two times to say he would be late because of delays on the bus and subway systems. He didn’t call again; calls to his phone weren’t answered. Then, on saturday, at 1 in the morning, the police called his coworker back, investigating the calls made to and from Jean’s phone.

It kind of shocks me to know he was Brazilian and for all purposes working legally on the country (and had the same age as me), but what really makes me sad (apart from the usual tragedy of someone’s death) is that incidents like this just increases the fear the population is feeling… and you know where that leads to, and who profits from that.

In related news, the new trailer for V for Vendetta is out.

Edit: Investigation shows that not only Scotlant Yard was resisting investigating the case, but new facts point to a new version of the whole case: Jean wasn’t running from police, he didn’t jump the gates (the policemen did though), he even picked up a free newspaper inside the station, and he only ran to get the train. He didn’t acknowledge being followed by police until he was sitting inside the train. He was then shot 8 times – 7 in the head, 1 in the shoulder – and 3 other shots missed their target. There are many discrepancies in reports done about the event, speciallyin face of new CCTV footage, but on all accounts, police actions seem too extreme from one point one view and too late from the other. And if you consider the new evidence, it just gets worse.

  • fredo

    I am of course against the police shooting to kill, but when you are dealing with potential suicide bombers the rules are changed.

    The police saw a guy leaving a house under investigation. This guy had a heavy coat on in the summer. He ran into a train station, jumped over the ticket barrier and on to a crowded train, after being told to stop. This is after 8 different explosions on trains. I imagine the police thought he was about to blow himeself up.

    Why didn’t the guy stop when the police asked him to?

  • paulH

    well it’s certainly tragic but considering the immediate circumstances in which this happened it wouldn’t be unexpected for this sort of thing to occur (and this probably isn’t the last time). london is under attack by crazies, somebody described as “Asian” looking,running away from the police onto a train full of people, in what eye witnesses described as overly bulky clothing, it’s a wonder the cops bothered to tackle him at all (where i live the cops would have shot the heck out of him & probably many people on the train from a safe distance). for all the cops knew he was another suicide bomber. pinned to the floor or not, how could they take that kind of chance with a train full of people (not to mention themselves)?

    yes it was a tragic accident but i’m not sure anybody in the same circumstanes would have acted much differently.

  • bigbob

    Yep, Thats exactly why they didnt try to take him in. These people wear belts with explosives on them and just blow unwitting people’s bodies into seperated pieces, right out in public. Everybody on the whole of the bloody european continent knew what was going on, and normal people who speak good english dont just panic when approached by police. I’m around police officers in public all the time, if they stop me and want to talk to me, i wont just run for it.

  • zeh

    Opinions differ, but that’s the way it should be. Just one thing to remember: he wasn’t living a house under investigation, he was living a block OR a building under surveilance (reports differ). Big difference.

    Also, I think the thing to ask here is if this could have been done in a different way. Nevermind the fact that an innocent died. If he was so suspicious – suspicious enough for 20 plainclothes policemen to follow him from the moment he left his building, suspicious enough for them to tackle him down and kill him on point blank – shouldn’t they have stopped him before? Like, before he even got in a bus?

    If he was a terrorist, they would have been too late anyway.

  • Well, if a cop tells me to “stop” i’m reluctant to run, even more so when he has a pistol?

    why run?

    it was a calculated risk imho and the price (While severe it may be) was paid in full. What if their hunch was right? we’d be praising them heros instead of villians?

  • Kim Hansen

    The law of the wild west, shoot first ask later, now comes to Europe. It is a disgrace!

    Us Europeans have to understand that we are in war when we send soldiers to war and we have to accept the consequences of that.

    Nevertheless, we shouldn’t give up all our freedom, by accepting more surveillance, civil police that executes innocent people etc. It is an illusion to think that terrorism can be controlled/stopped by surveilling more and suspecting anybody looking Asian or Middle-East. This is all going in the wrong direction, instead of trying to get to the root of the problems and try and understand why terrorism in Europe is occuring.

    Investigation will show that terrorism is in 95 % of the cases a minority fighting against military occupation. So where is this military occupation happening – that is where the problem is and that is where you have to try and solve it.

  • pete

    I’m with the folk who question why he ran? The police acted under extreme circumstances and took a split second decision to protect the lives of hundreds of passengers on the tube train.

    If reports are correct then the victim spoke very good english. He must have known and under stood the cirumstances and environment Lodon is currently experiencing. He panicked, reacted and it’s cost him his life.

    It’s a tragic accident, but I dont blame the polic for acting in the way they did. I feel much safer knowing that they are taking this stance on pottential perportrators.

  • This story is also getting frequent high-visibility coverage in the commercial press this weekend, likely because of the persuasive subtext the story implies. On the TV today it’s placed above the Egyptian attacks, and lots of other important news items are never covered at all….

  • If a number of men in plainclothes with guns asked me to stop, you can bet I’d run too.

  • Despites of being brazilian as well, this kind of action deserves much more reflection than the superficial “first impressions” we had.

    The crazy thing about it is that police is so under pressure that anyone looking suspicious could be shot dead. Just like Kim said, the problem isnt homeland security, but is overseas in the middle-east. All the countries involved in this conflict in Iraq may suffer some kind of retaliation. Action and re-action.

    Terrorism isnt good anywhere. So those nations self-proclaimed democratics should act with humanity and bring peace to the world, not war!

    Just my 0,02

    Dedé

  • Denise

    I’m with the guy at the top. No way should they have shot him. They had him pinned down. He couldn’t do anything and now I hear they shot him eight times! No, maybe he shouldn’t have run. Who knows what was going on in his head, but once they had him pinned down there was no reason to shoot him. Zeh’s got a good point too.

  • Christina

    I think what happened was tragic and certainly unjustified. The man a few days earlier had been mugged. These policeman were in plainclothes, so of course, when they were following him and yelled out to him to stop, the poor Brazilian man probably thought he was going to be mugged again so he ran. According to reports, the man was already pinned down, as well. And the amount of time he was shot at point blank is ridiculous! Wasn’t self-defense, sounded more like execution style adn then some. This is NOT the wild west. We don’t shoot first and then ask questions later. We have civil liberties and are protected by laws now. No matter what the situation it is not okay to just shoot a civilian based on a “maybe he’s a terrorist.” Otherwise, the terrorists have really won after all.

  • Christopher

    Don’t the Brits have other methods to restrain a suspect? I don’t know if anyone else here has been maced (pepper sprayed), but I can tell you it is pretty easy to take down a suspect if he can’t see, especially if there is more than one person trying to restrain a suspect. Held down and then shot? Wow that is ridiculous! I would think what supposedly makes us better than our enemies is that we are a nation of law and order and not summary executions of people who resist arrest from plain clothed police officers. If we go down that road we might as well give up the constitution (I’m American).

  • Amy

    Terrorist: characteristic of someone who employs terrorism – dictionary.com… if that man was in a state of TERROR, than who is the terrorist, REALLY? If the man was adequately subdued then hysteria and ignorance was responcible for his death… Hysteria is not excuse for every John Q. Law equipped w/ 1/2 of a brain cell, a badge and a gun to go around 1/2 cocked shooting at anything that runs away … HULLO, people run from people with guns – it is a RATIONAL reation – fight or flight… brain does it on auto pilot.

  • Cecil

    We ahve far too mnay illegals lke this in the UK, who pay no taxes yet use all our medical and welfare facilities. Maybe if we shot a few more of them like that we wouldn’t have such a problem. If you don’t like how the British police behave don’t come to the UK,don’t worry you won’t be missed.

  • Martin

    Well, theres a lot of misinformation being touted around, but from what i have read across a large selection of news sites (even from the time of the incident).

    1. He was wearing a denim jacket. Thats hardly ‘a heavy coat’
    2. The police didnt shout ‘stop police’ and then he ran away. He ran for his train, the police barged on shouted at him, then bundled him to the floor and shot him.
    3. The police were in plain clothes, i dont know about you but if i saw a group of guys running after me carrying guns who werent police, id get out of the way pretty damn quick. But this wasnt the case anyway.
    4. They already had him restrained on the floor. No real need to shoot him 8 times.

    I know this is repeating what some of you have said, but from the moment i heard about this i thought ‘What has britain come to’ Now the police are executing people in public. Its murder, straight up police done murder that man.
    I know they’ve shot people before (e.g. the man carrying a wooden table leg in a carrier bag) and that was bad, but this sets a new low.

    The real terrorists are the governments and media creating the reasons for people wanting and needing to commit extreme acts, and inciting extreme fear within the population. Keep us scared, keep us buying stuff we dont need, keep us supporting their illegal wars around the world. If millions of people die in a far off land, well, thats just the price of ‘democracy’. If a much smaller amount of people die in a mainly white country, well thats the worst thing thats ever happened.

    The real shame in all this is how a lot of us are complicit in the slaughter of humanity. Yeah saddam wasnt a nice bloke, but do all those people (troops included) have to die just for him?

    Would anyone in the UK be happy to die because Tony Blair is a war criminal and needs removing from power?

    i dont think so.

  • Kay

    Martin

    Thanks for clearing up some of the fud reported regarding this – the police gave out the wrong information and then informed his family of the actual facts 2 days later but not the public hence the misinformation floating around. There are questions which needed to be asked – they may have thought he was a suicide bomber as they were watching the flat he came from for one of the suspected attempted bombers *but* they should not have let it get to the point where they had to make that life or death decision – they should have confronted him before he entered the underground.

  • Living only one tube stop away from where this happened, I felt as upset as anyone that a man who wasn’t carrying a bomb and had nothing to do with the recent London bombings should be killed in this way. I’m also *very* disappointed with our police force that so much of the initial information given regarding the incident was misleading or simply wrong.

    All the same, here are some less fashionable thoughts:

    – It’s a tragic irony that if Jean Charles de Menezes hadn’t have been breaking British law himself (by overstaying his visa by over two years and working illegally) then he simply wouldn’t have been here for this to happen.

    – For those claiming that once a suspected suicide bomber is restrained, there is no need to shoot him, I’d love to know where you get your information from regarding the capabilities of a ‘restrained’ bomber. You seem very sure that laying on top of him or even restraining his arms renders him no longer a threat. What if he has a palm switch? What if he struggles free? What if the struggling itself sets off the bomb? People who make claims such as these do so not becuase they understand or have *any* knowledge of such situations. They simply reel off any comment that supports their general views on the subject. I wonder if any of you making such comments has ever tried to restrain a panicking, violent or determined adult male? If you have, you’ll know that all close quarter combat is touch and go. Anything can happen. The person you are struggling with generally only completely ceases to be a threat when he is unconscious or dead. Just ask any policeman, body-guard, soldier, night club doorman, etc.

    – For those people making glib comments about how British police in the days and weeks following following eight (yes, *eight*) actual and attempted terrorist attacks in the space of a couple of weeks, I wonder how police in *your* city would behave in similar extreme circumstances. Clearly you believe that they will simply footsweep their suspects, apply some foolproof arm-lock, and then read the now immobilized suspect his (or her) rights in a calm, civilized fashion. If you believe that this is how it works, you should try physical combat in a *real* situation one day. I think you’ll be in for a profound shock when you realise just how difficult it can be for one individual to physically dominate and control another. Forget the physical size, training, or experience of those involved, if you have no experience of *real* situations (e.g. you’ve only ever played sport, or sat at a desk programming a computer), you really have nothing to say on the matter that’s of any value. Such situations are always highly unpredictable and difficult to control. In fact, they are generally the most difficult and demanding situations you’ll ever encounter.

  • Andrew Milner

    Stockwell shooting: How to avoid being murdered by British police. Don’t go anywhere near the UK. No great hardship there, London ranked equal 44th with Hong Kong (currently under Chinese administration) in ex-pat desirability stakes.
    Blame the victim is standard operating procedure and so many people are falling for it: Let’s look at what’s been tried to date:
    – Started out with “he was a Muslim, Asian, bomber” (police and media character assassination)
    – He lived in an apartment block under surveillance (if you still believe anything the police say)
    – He looked like bomber suspect Osam Hussein (perhaps, if you’re colour blind)
    – He was wearing a heavy jacket on a hot day (police lie)
    – He was carrying a rucksack (police lie)
    – He ran from the police/refused to obey a police order (police lie)
    – He jumped the ticket barrier (police lie)
    – He was on an expired visa (allegedly and irrelevant)
    – He didn’t speak English fluently (untrue, subjective, irrelevant. Even listening comprehension which was the skill he needed wouldn’t have saved him)
    – If he wasn’t in UK he wouldn’t have been shot, at least not by British police (true if Britain were a war zone, scraping the bottom of the barrel)
    – If he’d never been born …

    Now let’s turn it around and blame the police
    – Police guilty of poor planning, logistics, co-ordination, communication (not much doubt about this)
    – Confusion between the surveillance team and the armed response team (not much doubt about this)
    – Police teams poorly led (not much doubt about this)
    – Autopsy report “fixed” (strong evidence)
    – Surveillance evidence conveniently disappears
    – Suspect not given opportunity to surrender (no doubt about this)
    – Training of armed response team revealed immaturity and inappropriate attitude (see SAS trainers’ report, “in short, a bunch of gung-ho cowboys”)
    – Excessive number of shots fired (11) putting public at increased risk (not much doubt about this)
    – Secret “shoot to kill” policy places ultimate “buck stops here” responsibility on the Toytown gang: “Mr. Plod”, “Big Ears” and “Noddy”. This could happen again.
    – Police cover up made a bad situation far worse (unquestionably)
    – Police issued instructions to media to blacken victim’s name (see “Talking Points for Man Shot Dead”, Yahoo)
    – Police intimidated and impeded IPCC (not much doubt about this)
    – Police tried to buy off victim’s family (no question)

    You shake your head in disbelief to realise that the only person arrested in this sorry affair was an IPCC whistleblower with a conscience, while the shooter was sent on an all-expenses paid holiday.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Another useful idiot.