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The 1990 Trust

Sorry is not good enough


LONDON'S POLICE chief expressed regret, the Prime Minister said sorry, but the brutal killing of Jean Charles de Menezes demands more than a few words.

Jean Charles Menezes
Jean Charles Menezes: today's Morning Star described his death as “an execution”

Menezes was shot dead by police last Friday at Stockwell underground station in an incident described by one newspaper today as “an execution.”

Witnesses describe Menezes has being pinned to the floor of a tube carriage by a plain-clothed officer as another unloaded five bullets into his head at close range.

Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Ian Blair later admitted Menezes was innocent and called the incident a “tragic mistake.”

Rob Neil of The 1990 Trust, speaking on BBC TV News 24 this afternoon said the shooting had damaged community relations with the police which were essential to fighting terrorism.

He said: “The police face a difficult task but they need a community-based strategy if they are to gather intelligence. To rely too heavily on armed policing ends up creating more tensions and a greater adversarial divide.”


Earlier today Karen Chouhan, chief executive of The 1990 Trust, told BBC radio 5Live she was very concerned by the Menezes shooting and it's impact on community confidence in the police.

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She added: “There has clearly been a failure of intelligence in this case with tragic results.

“The experience of stop and search is that when police have a relationship with the community they gain more intelligence which leads to better policing.

“When that doesn't happen more innocent people get stopped and police-community tensions increase. We need to look at a more intelligence-led approach to terrorism.”

It has now emerged that Menezes lived in a house of multiple occupation divided into at least five flats. There are several buttons on the door.


Police were led to the house through information gathered at the scene of a recent terrorist attack. Armed officers kept the house under survillence throughout the night and followed Menezes as he left the building at 9am.

 - quote - The police should not fire their guns willy-nilly. Only when they have intelligence the public are in danger.  - unquote -
Sadiq Khan MP

Menezes caught a bus in Tulse Hill and travelled three miles to Stockwell before being challenged by police.

Questions will inevitably be asked about why officers allowed him to catch a bus if they suspected he had a bomb.

Other questions being asked include whether police realised the Tulse Hill house contained several flats and Brazilian Menezes was assumed to be a terrorist because they mistook him for an Asian man.

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting Sir Ian told the media his officers had killed someone connected with their terror inquiry but later admitted this was not the case.

Menezes ran away from plain-clothed police when approached at Stockwell station. The investigation into his death will be expected to address whether he feared he was being mugged.


Another possibility is that he may have thought they were immigration officers. It is believed the electrician's visa had expired.

Initial reports that Menezes had “wires” sticking out of his black jacket have not been verified and may not be true. He was certainly not wearing a rucksack or carrying any package at any time during his journey.

Labour MP Sadiq Khan said today that Muslims were feeling anxiety and concern about the shoot to kill policy. It has emerged that former Met commissioner Lord John Stevens borrowed policies used by Israeli police to shoot suspected suicide bombers in the head to prevent them detonating a bomb.

Khan said: “It is important for us to inform the public that the police will not be firing their guns willy-nilly. They will only fire when they have intelligence that leads them to believe the public are in danger.

Menezes' cousin, Alex Pereira, who is based in London, said the police would “kill thousands of people” if they were not held accountable for what had happened.  He said: “They just kill the first person they see, that's what they did. They killed my cousin, they could kill anyone.”



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