Well, naturally, if a group of men in casual dress get aboard a train and shoot someone in broad daylight, you would think there was something criminal going down
. Let us summarise: initially, we were told that Menezes was shot after behaving suspiciously, dressing suspiciously, vaulting over ticket barriers, ignoring warnings and running at top speed, only to be wrestled to the floor and then shot; then we were told that he didn't actually dress conspicuously, run at top speed or vault the turnstiles, but at any rate, he fitted the profile (Mongolian eyes) and that officers acted under the genuine impression that this man was the terrorist known as Hussein Osman; then we heard that, actually, surveillance officers had never properly identified the man (so they couldn't really have been under a genuine impression that Menezes was Hussein Osman), but anyway the victim was a rapist (that charge was later refuted by DNA evidence); today, witnesses told the inquest that the police at no point identified themselves or gave a warning to Menezes, and nor did he make any move toward them. Not only that, but several other officers testify
that they did not hear the officer who fired first issue a warning, as he claimed to have done. It also looks as if the officer may have lied
about receiving confirmation that Menezes was Hussein Osman.
Every signal that is emerging is that the killing was pre-meditated. The officers who pulled the trigger may have believed it likely that Menezes was a bomber. They may even have thought that he was right at that moment preparing to kill, although frankly this idea makes excessive demands on one's credulity. However that may be, what is clear is that they didn't try to establish anything, despite having no good grounds for believing what they claim to have believed. Rather than making, as has been repeatedly claimed, a split-second decision, they followed a clearly signposted procedure. Without hesitation, they destroyed the brain - but not exactly 'instantly, utterly'. In order to destroy the brain, officer C2 had to reload his weapon manually
, because it jammed. He explained to the court that he calculated that he hadn't properly destroyed the brain stem yet and therefore had to discharge more bullets. (Menezes' mother has remarked that officer C2 appeared to be a rather cold man. This strikes me as a colossal understatement). As soon as armed CO19 officers were sent in there, Menezes was dead. And the fact that he was just an average working class man living, working and travelling in London, who had not behaved suspiciously at all or given any reason for anyone to shoot him seven times in the head, suggests that it could happen to anyone.
Labels: CO19, Jean Charles De Menezes, metropolitian police, murder, SO19