Civil Liberties

Well, He Had Ignored the Unspoken Warning

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Last week a British inquest jury refused to exonerate the police who killed Jean Charles de Menezes, a 27-year-old Brazilian electrician mistaken for a terrorist, on a London subway train in 2005. Sir Michael Wright, the coroner overseeing the inquest, had instructed the jurors that the evidence did not support a finding that the shooting was unlawful, so the most they could do was issue an "open" verdict, meaning they could not reach a firm conclusion about the circumstances of De Menezes' death. But they rejected key elements of the government's case backing the police:

They concluded that one of the two officers who shot Mr. de Menezes had not shouted "armed police," as they testified, when they stormed the stationary subway car where Mr. de Menezes was sitting. A total of 17 civilian passengers on the train testified they heard no such warning before the officers fired.

The account of the two armed police officers, identified in court only by their code names, Charlie 2 and Charlie 12, was that the warning was ignored by Mr. de Menezes, who they said had stood up and walked toward them with his arms and hands in a position "consistent with someone who may be about to detonate a bomb hidden on their person or in a belt." They said his actions left them with no option, consistent with police procedures, but to shoot Mr. de Menezes in the head.

The jurors, in their answers to the judges' questions, said they had concluded that Mr. de Menezes had stood up, but that he had not moved toward the firearms officers, a finding that also tallied with the testimony of other passengers aboard the train.

Police shot De Menezes seven times in the head after following him as he left home for work in the morning, having mistaken him for a man suspected of trying to bomb a subway station. The jury faulted police for using fuzzy images to identify the suspect instead of the high-quality photographs in his immigration file and for failing to stop De Menezes before he entered the train.

Previous reason coverage of the case here, here, and here

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  1. Hmmmm . . . now I’m wonderin’ if they’ll try to charge em’ with murder or manslaughter.

  2. Wait. WTF is an “open” verdict?

  3. A private police force would save a lot of time, at least for the richest and most powerful.

  4. Nice to see its not just American cops that are corrupt and incompetent.

  5. My heart goes out to these LEOs.

  6. Wait. They shot him how many times in the head?! The guy was Brazilian, not a Terminator.

  7. Elemenope,

    It’s a “need to know” type situation. Skynet is funding Brazillian terrorists to further its goals. Their jiu jitsu is now in league with the machines.

  8. Oh my my, this is full of pissing off material.

    the warning was ignored by Mr. de Menezes, who they said had stood up and walked toward them

    If you run away, we have to shoot you.
    If you walk towards us, we have to shoot you.

    with his arms and hands in a position “consistent with someone who may be about to detonate a bomb hidden on their person or in a belt.”

    Whatever position he had is hands in, it’s obvious from this case that it’s also consistent with someone who doesn’t have a bomb. Maybe the Special Forces should publish a booklet detailing what arm and hand positions to avoid if you prefer not to be shot in the head by police.

  9. Elemenope,

    Also, 7 times? Clearly London LEO’s are crack shots. In the news here, it’s always “Police traded shots with perpetrators at point blank range. No one was injured.”

  10. It’s good to know that juries in Britain don’t let the cops get away with anything, unlike here.

    Wait. They shot him how many times in the head?! The guy was Brazilian, not a Terminator.

    Dude, the 888’s are pretty advanced. And we still don’t know what the hell Cameron is.

  11. I have a announcement, after years of practice I have given up trying to give myself head.

    I have now opted to have my lower ribs removed, this should allow me to finally please myself.

    This unfortunately will mean I will be far to busy to leave very many post.

  12. The insanity of this case is that, essentially, once this guy walked out the door of his apartment, he was doomed. There was literally nothing he could have done to avoid being shot in the head. All the after the fact justifications the Brits have come up with could have applied equally if de Menezes had done the opposite of everything he did.

    All I can say is, thank God I don’t look like an Arab. (no offense to Arabs, of course)

  13. Dude, the 888’s are pretty advanced. And we still don’t know what the hell Cameron is.

    Fucking A. That show is getting evenly better, which I sort of expected but it is still nice to see.

    Also, I found this little bit of reasoning to be interesting:

    “Do you know why human beings’ lives are valuable?”

    – Because so few of them are alive compared to the number that are dead?

  14. Sir Michael Wright, the coroner overseeing the inquest, had instructed the jurors that the evidence did not support a finding that the shooting was unlawful

    Want’s the point of having a jury if a coroner has already decided? It’s good to know you can shoot an unarmed innocent man in the head seven times and not break any laws in Britain.

  15. cunnivore,

    In the law enforcement scheme of things, white is the correct color.

  16. If they thought that he was a suicide bomber, then probably any action he made could be considered consistent with someone about to set off a bomb.

  17. Also, 7 times? Clearly London LEO’s are crack shots. In the news here, it’s always “Police traded shots with perpetrators at point blank range. No one was injured.”

    That was about my reaction. Either that seven is a very small number in a larger hail of bullets, or they need to export their target training program fucking pronto.

  18. SugarFree,

    It’s cuz he knows better than any “jury”.

  19. In the news here, it’s always “Police traded shots with perpetrators at point blank range. No one was injured.”

    Naga, did you ever see one of the gun battles on Police Squad? It turns out they weren’t so humorously off base after all.

    Because so few of them are alive compared to the number that are dead?

    This has to be some kind of foreshadowing of future Skynet logic when it decides to do everyone in. The surviving humans will be so much more valuable!

  20. Christ on a stick!!! No!!! Thugs with bad aim are better than thugs with good aim!

  21. Either that seven is a very small number in a larger hail of bullets, or they need to export their target training program fucking pronto.

    My guess is they are instructed to unload a full mag into the target’s head. Remember, this is their procedure for stopping someone who may be about to detonate a bomb. The person needs to be dead as fast as possible. Seven shots to the head pretty much guarantee that. One does not.

  22. They shot him how many times in the head?! The guy was Brazilian, not a Terminator.

    Maybe they thought he had a Gracie Black belt in Ju Jitsu. Never count those guys out. They could be trying to cuff him and stuff him and all of a sudden they’re in a triangle choke about to get put to sleep. So you can’t be too careful with those Brazilians.

  23. Episiarch,

    I don’t remember Police Squad itself but I do remember Norberg with that fucking cannon on the roof in “The Smell of Fear”.

    “Hector Savage: I want a car out front, something fun, a Porsche, then I want a plane ticket to Jamaica… And I want a nice hotel, no touristy place… Something really indicative of the people and their culture.

    Ed Hocken: Can’t do that, Savage! We’re calling your bluff. Now put your hands on top of your head and come out!”

  24. Isn’t the Brazilian martial art called Capoeria, or am I missing some powerfully obscure pop culture reference with all this Jiu-Jitsu fooferah?

  25. Given that the cops claim they thought he was a terrorist, I’m impressed that the jury had the balls to not go along with the cops.

  26. Isn’t the Brazilian martial art called Capoeria, or am I missing some powerfully obscure pop culture reference with all this Jiu-Jitsu fooferah?

    Oh, you’re missing something for sure. Let’s see…ah, here it is. Royce Gracie used it to win the first two Ultimate Fighter tournaments – before they had things like round, rules, and weight classes. And he was about a 175 pounder.

  27. Maybe the Special Forces should publish a booklet detailing what arm and hand positions to avoid if you prefer not to be shot in the head by police.

    It might look something like this

  28. Elemenope,

    Fooferah? You must have balls the size of watermelons to type that. Personally, I would be checking everywhere for the Brazillian mercenary who was hired to avenge the insult you just threw out.

    “Okay, first, we hire a midget.

    I’m listening.

    When the target starts his car, said midget,
    now in our employ, bursts out of the air bag and strangles him!”

  29. Yeah here’s my problem, other than the obvious.

    Seven times to the head. After one or two, he’s going to fall. They all shot in unison? Good shootin’ Brits.

    Also, after 7 shots, I doubt he had a head so much as a stump.

  30. It might look something like this

    Is that one of those goddamn $5 dollar foot-long Subway ads?

  31. SugarFree,

    Lunchtime?

  32. I don’t remember Police Squad itself but I do remember Norberg with that fucking cannon on the roof in “The Smell of Fear”.

    Just picture Drebin firing at a suspect, who is firing back, and they are about 3 feet away from each other behind trash cans.

  33. Epi,

    Right. It’s coming back to me now.

  34. Naga,

    I’ve already ate, thanks.

  35. UFC never got any better than when the Gracie clan ruled. sucks now.

  36. Epi,
    “My guess is they are instructed to unload a full mag into the target’s head. Remember, this is their procedure for stopping someone who may be about to detonate a bomb. The person needs to be dead as fast as possible. Seven shots to the head pretty much guarantee that. One does not.”

    I agree, which is why I can’t fault them any more for the seventh shot than I can for the first.

    Which is a lot, by the way.

  37. SugarFree,

    I was thinking of myself and realized your time difference. Here it’s only 1:30.

  38. up yours central time!

  39. Yo, fuck central time.

  40. Wait a minute. I’m trying to get this straight.

    The cops had identified this guy as a suicide bomber? (erroneously, but we’ll ignore that for the nonce).

    They started at his apartment and followed him through the streets to the Tube station?

    They let him go into the Tube station?

    And they let him get on a subway train?

    And then they shot him?

    They let someone they thought was a suicide bomber get on a subway train?

    Not someone they thought was acting suspiciously in the Tube station but someone they had been following through the streets from the front door of his apartment because they thought he was a suicide bomber.

    OK. Do I have that about right now?

  41. Oh, and residents of London are supposed to feel safe?

  42. Yo, fuck central time.

    Yeah, what the hell is with this “central” time bullshit anyway? There’s only one time: Eastern Time. Right, all you Dallas lovers? Who shot JR now, bitches?

  43. Who shot JR now, bitches?

    This reminds me of an old Polack joke.
    The puchline: “Yeah, but didn’t think he’d jump again.”
    Work backwards from there.

  44. P Brooks, I think thats a blonde joke, not a polish joke. Works better as one, anywho.

  45. Isaac,

    My understanding is that they had his place under surveillance, but the officer surveiling went to the bathroom and came back to discover de Menezes had left his apartment. He notified local police, who had two *unarmed* cops track him down to the bus. They didn’t want to confront him there because they obviously had no way of stopping him from detonating.

    The armed police (ie Special Forces) first entered the scene at the tube station. The original claim was that they shouted for him to stop at the entrance to the tube station but he jumped the turnstyle and ran onto the platform and onto a train, and the SF caught up to him there.

    of course, it came out a few days later that his fare card had been deducted at that station just before the shooting, which is kind of hard to do if you jump the turnstyle. One reason I’m curious to see how the SFs reconcile their clearly fabricated original explanation with what really happened.

  46. Oh, and the security cameras at the tube station and on the train all had technical difficulties that day, in case you’re wondering.

  47. Episiarch,

    Whoa! Some people here hate day light savings and what not. What’s so great about CT time anyway, huh?

  48. Connecticut time? Now you’re just being silly, silly like a Connecticunt.

  49. Actually, it gets worse:

    I read the testimony of one of the officers. He claimed that he had grabbed Menezes, and had thrown him down on a subway seat and was getting ready to grab and handcuff the Menezes’ hands when he heard the gunshots by his ear. His testimony indicated that he was surprised by the fire.

    It wasn’t manslaughter. This was murder.

  50. The BBC had a nice walkthrough of the official story of events based on the results of the inquest.

    The whole sequence of events from the time they started tracking him leaving the apartment was a terrible, confusing mess.

  51. “””It might look something like this””””

    That’s funny.

    The problem is one would have to already be in that position at the time. Raising your hands to get there is a motion consistant with detonating a bomb. As someone else was pointing out, it’s all in the eyes of the beholder and if the beholder works for government security forces, a free pass is implied.

  52. Again, like I said before, if they would do like I did and have there lower ribs removed so they could blow themselves this problem would go away.

    Since I have started sucking myself off, and given my mom so much more free time, I have been on the whole much happier.

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