That's What You Get For Not Acting Suspiciously

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Remember that bulky jacket-wearing, fare-skipping young foreigner who taught the world that it's a bad idea to act suspiciously near public transportation after a terrorist attack? The UK's Observer investigates, and among other things finds:

Initial claims that de Menezes was targeted because he was wearing a bulky coat, refused to stop when challenged and then vaulted the ticket barriers have all turned out to be false. He was wearing a denim jacket, used a standard Oyster electronic card to get into the station and simply walked towards the platform unchallenged.

It has also been suggested that officers did not identify themselves properly before shooting de Menezes seven times in the head.

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  1. That’s okay; the cops’ job is to make sure TERRORISTS don’t kill innocent people. And since de Menezes wasn’t killed by a terrorist, I’d say that was a job well done! Hooray!

  2. Sounds like Mother England may be producing some potential first-rate DEA recruits…!

  3. Can’t say as I’m in the least bit surprised. But I will be surprised if anything actually changes for the better as a result.

  4. A couple inaccurate characterizations, some out of context quotes, and a handful of scare stories.

    Isn’t it clear that the police had to do something? We can trust the government.
    (no disrespect, joe, just trying to point out that one should NEVER give the state the benefit of the doubt)

    This is why no one, anywhere, can ever trust any government.

  5. What this report has failed to establish, however, is if Mr. de Menezes hated freedom or not.

  6. So if all of this is true, it sounds as if he did absolutely nothing suspicious at all. Why, then, was he targeted? (If the bobbies were just out to shoot a random person, why choose him?)

  7. I was once pulled over for driving a car with “old” New York plates within a week of the mandate that everybody have “new” New York plates. I had had two drinks in four hours, and when I told the officers how much I had had to drink, they told me, “Maybe that’s the problem – maybe you don’t drink enough,” apparently forgetting that they had pulled me over for a license plate rather than any suspicion of drunk driving.

    Then they proceeded to give me 5 field sobriety tests before I blew a whopping 0.01. I have to question the field sobriety tests now, considering that I failed four of the five with half a drink in my 200 pound system.

    one should NEVER give the state the benefit of the doubt

    I’ll drink to that.

  8. “It has also been suggested that officers did not identify themselves properly before shooting de Menezes seven times in the head.”

    Is there an investigation going on about the incident? Are they planning to prosecute anyone if they find the officers commited unjustified homicide (which seems likely given that they killed him and he seems to not have done anything)? Should I have clicked through the link provided before I posted asking these questions?

  9. For all the zillions of surveillance cameras that have been installed in London, there’s no videotape available of the shooting. Of course, if it turns out that de Menezes DID deserve to be shot, I’m sure the videotape would mysteriously surface the next day.

  10. there’s an analogy to be made here: with iraq and “overkill”

  11. All y’all Freedom?-h8’ers would be singing a different tune if he had been a terrist, and blew up the subway. So, what, you expect the cops to just sit there while thousands of people, any one of which could be a terrist, run willy-nilly about the city? If cops don’t have the right to pump eight high-powered rounds into innocent folks’ skulls, then the terrists will have won.

  12. “It has also been suggested that officers did not identify themselves properly before shooting de Menezes seven times in the head.”

    And what exactly is the proper way to identify oneself before shooting someone seven times in the head?

  13. linguist,

    “So if all of this is true, it sounds as if he did absolutely nothing suspicious at all. Why, then, was he targeted?”

    This is what I gathered from the article: He was targetted because he walked out of an apartment building that was being staked out in an anti-terror operation. He walked out of the building entrance, and the police decided he could be one of the people they were targetting.

    But instead of stopping him themselves, the British cops’ procedure was to call the special armed response team – most British cops don’t carry guns. But the team was late in getting there, and he had already gone into the station. By the time they apprehended him, he was already on the train.

    And, apparently, their training says that the way you handle a target who is on the train is to execute him so he can’t explode his bomb.

    Seems to me that, when dealing with someone who is merely considered to possibly be part of a group that might or might not be engaged in terrorism, you shouldn’t have to wait for the armed response team to stop the guy so you can question him. Also, even if the armed response team has to apprehend him, they should have a plan for people who aren’t known to be carrying a bomb – one that doesn’t involved executing them.

  14. As I suspected, “many of those who claim to have seen the incident have provided contradictory accounts of what happened.”

  15. Russ R,

    I think Emily Post edited out the chapter on “pre-snuff etiquette”

  16. Jennifer, I gotta say, that’s pretty fricking suspcious that the multiple cameras in that one station didn’t work, when the cameras in other stations all got multiple shots of the four “succesful” bombers.

  17. Why, then, was he targeted?

    Just a guess, but maybe he had the misfortune of living in an apartment building with dark-skinned people.

    zillions of surveillance cameras

    I believe the article states that the station had “dozens” that weren’t working (at least that particular day). Maybe the camera system was Windows-based.

  18. Yes, it is suspicious. Why, it’s almost as if everyone who thought that this smelled like a bad shooting from the get-go was exactly correct about the circumstances.

  19. At least their standard of marksmanship is much higher than the LAPD’s and NYPD’s.

  20. I’ve said this before: if cops are going to put cameras all over the public sphere, then ANY time there’s a civilian/cop altercation and the video can’t be found, the civilian shouldbe found innocent and blameless; otherwise it’s too easy for the government to “lose” any film which makes it look bad.

    And the fact that the bobbies lied about this from the get-go shows that they knew right away they’d fucked up bigtime.

    Number of terrorist attacks prevented by shoot-to-kill policy: 0
    Number of innocent people killed by shoot-to-kill policy: 1

    I wonder how bad the statistics have to get before those who initially supported it consider that maybe they were wrong.

  21. “I wonder how bad the statistics have to get before those who initially supported it consider that maybe they were wrong.”

    You mean the Israelis?

    In actuality, the numbers are much better than 0-1.

  22. ” apparently, their training says that the way you handle a target who is on the train”

    My money says that pages 23 and 24 of their procedure manual were stuck together; leading them directly from “suspect on train” to “go for the head shot”…

  23. I wonder how bad the statistics have to get before those who initially supported it consider that maybe they were wrong.

    Probably like 0:1,000, and that still wouldn’t change the thinking of all of them. 1:1,000 would probably serve to justify the practice in their minds. People are idiots.

  24. What can you say, procedures manuals can get pretty exciting.

  25. In actuality, the numbers are much better than 0-1.

    Not in the UK. Which is, you know, the place we’re actually talking about.

  26. And since the lethality of exploding bombs and the tactic of using suicide bombers are particular to Israel, that argument makes perfect sense, Phil.

  27. Point is, Joe, these new laws were supposed to make Britons safer. Hasn’t done so yet. And one innocent man has been killed, and the cops lied about it after the fact. “Oooh–bulky jacket–jumping the turnstile–how were we to know–“

  28. Christ, what a cock-up.

    The original story presented a scenario where a shooting was at least understandable, even if its justification was debatable.

    This story, though, describes a level of police ineptitude so extraordinary that it makes this Dallas resident think of the Dallas police department.

    At least when a Dallas cops busts a cap in your head, you can be pretty sure he’s doing it for money. Sounds like these clowns just . . . did it.

  29. I think if a Dallas cop shoots you in the head, it means he missed, right?

  30. Jennifer, that’s a perfectly valid point. But there are a couple of different issues.

    If your city is under terrorist attack, like Tel Aviv, having cops walking around with these sorts of rules of engagement makes sense. Even if, heaven forbid, they should get the wrong guy once in a while. Two weeks ago, it looked like London might be it that situation.

    But there’s the broad outlines of the policy, and then there’s the actual implementation of those ideas. This is starting to look like a huge failure at the policy level. The policy seems to have been to call the special armed units when a person of interest goes into the subway, and for the armed units to treat all persons of interests as ticking bombs.

  31. I don’t know if it’s been brought up, but why would jumping the turnstile be considered a reason to suspect a terror attack anyway? It seems to me that would draw attention prematurely, which is something a terrorist would avoid.

    Why would a suicide bomber care about the cost of subway fare?

  32. I’m glad to see that Welch never passes on an opportunity to smear the thin blue line between us and them. Good for you. Too bad that cops and soldiers don’t have spell check and editors and a known deadline. Perhaps if they just stopped at a starbucks, ordered a half-caf mocha soy latte and stroked their goat-tees, all of the bad stuff at abu, gitmo and the London subway would never have happened.

    I’m just glad that folks like you are not employed in areas that require real-time decision making.

  33. Horst, that sort of chest-thumping might fly if anything the cops had said was borne out. Nothing was, and it doesn’t.

  34. So all we’re left with is your standard daily slaughter-by-cop, then?

    The only oddity in the story is the fact that the victim looked like some random British office worker, not a plausible Arab or poor person or other deadly threat to order and commerce.

    And of course joe is back to remind us that the police only gun down proles at random because they don’t have us under the constant threat and surveillance that is “community policing,” so, y’know, like, it’s scary, people roaming the streets all free and anonymous like that, they can’t trust us, they have to hose us down with lead. Original Sin and all that. Always a pleasure to see a half-honest leftist.

    Ooh–and we got us an us-and-them bully cop, too!

    All these living stereotypes are so reassuring. Thank you, Reason family.

  35. Horst Wessel, more like.

  36. Also, the security cameras mysteriously quit working on the bus that got asploded on 7/7 … didn’t work all day, despite having a thorough “check up” that week.

  37. Russ axed:
    And what exactly is the proper way to identify oneself before shooting someone seven times in the head?

    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides
    By the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.
    Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will,
    Shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness,
    For he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children.
    And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger
    Those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers.
    And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you.

    Duh.

  38. All y’all Freedom? H8r’s would be singing a different tune if that guy had been a terrist, and had blown up the subway.

    What are the cops supposed to do? Don’t you know, as Joe pointed out, since there were several terrist attacks in London, they have no choice but to empty 8 high powered rounds into some innocent civilian’s skull. What else could they do? Just let people walk around the city willy-nilly? I mean, any one of the could be a terrist—we can’t afford to wait until the do something, we need to just, um, shoot everyone who might be a terrist. Which, I suppose, is a suspect pool limited to, um, everyone? Uh oh.

    I especially like Joe’s “it’s a failure on the policy level” beauro-speak.

  39. Damnit, damnit, damnit! I can’t believe my stupid self. I posted that same message hours ago, and it didn’t go through. I got all sorts of error messages, some problem with moveable type, according to Cavanaugh. So, I figured it never went through, and posted it again. Well, don’t I look like a fool…perhaps I should read the thread first next time?

  40. And since the lethality of exploding bombs and the tactic of using suicide bombers are particular to Israel, that argument makes perfect sense, Phil.

    When you find someone making that argument, joe, you go right ahead and argue your city-planning little heart out with him. I’ll even cheer you on. In the meantime, stuff it.

    It might be noted that Israelis look a lot more like Palestinians than Britons look like either of them or like Brazilians, which removes a level of complication, particularly since the British police have a great deal of . . . what’s the delicate way to put it? . . . racial baggage that they’ve yet to overcome.

  41. Don’t worry, Evan. It bore repeating.

  42. And, you know, if I had stepped on my dick the way you did in defending the police not only in the broad outlines of this event, but in every single particular, I’d like to think I’d be a lot more gracious to the people who were actually correct.

  43. It’s sort of funny how, after a long post about what I think went wrong, so many of you tools decided to make snarky accusations about how I think this was right.

    Grow the fuck up, people.

  44. Don’t make us look up the other thread, joe. And don’t blame us because you fucked up. Grow up yourself, you big baby.

  45. In fact, this:Also, even if the armed response team has to apprehend him, they should have a plan for people who aren’t known to be carrying a bomb – one that doesn’t involved executing them. Is COMPLETELY THE OPPOSITE of what you said on the other thread, which came down to, “They can’t afford to take that chance.”

  46. Beating your head against a wall may seem silly but at least it feels good when you stop. Joe is a wall. Give it up.

  47. stroked their goat-tees

    Such as this one?

  48. In joe’s defense (I don’t think I’ve ever said that before), back when this first happened, we were working with a totally different set of facts. Sure, there was reason to doubt them, but it was still the best set of facts we had. Obviously, knowing what we know now, there’s no way to defend the limey cops. But knowing what we knowed then, you could defend them a little.

    Now, if joe was still insisting the cops’actions were justified, then you’d have something to pick on him about.

  49. Yep he lived on the same floor as several terrorists and he just happened to have a fake leave to remain stamp in his passport. Wonderful chap that one…

  50. Yep he lived on the same floor as several terrorists

    U r a idiot.

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