Man Killed in London Not Linked to Blasts
PATRICK QUINN / AP 24jul2005
LONDON - Police identified the man who was chased down in a subway and shot to death by plainclothes officers as a Brazilian and said Saturday they no longer believed he was tied to the recent terror bombings.
Police guard a cul-de-sac on Scotia Road in Streatham, south London, Saturday July 23, 2005. Residents described Saturday how police raided a house in the street earlier in the afternoon. One neighbour, who only wanted to be named as Marcia, said several police vans had stormed into the area before armed officers rushed to the address and ordered residents to get inside their houses. She said: 'They had already sealed it off and then the officers with guns came along telling us: 'Get inside or you will be arrested.' (AP Photo/PA, Lindsey Parnaby)
An undated family picture shows Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes, the 27-year-old electrician who was shot dead by British police on July 22, 2005. Police admitted later that they had shot dead the wrong man as they combed London for four men after attempted bomb attacks on the city's transport system. REUTERS/Menezes family
Friday's shooting before horrified commuters prompted criticism of police for overreacting and expressions of fear that Asians and Muslims would be targeted by a "trigger-happy culture" after two well-coordinated attacks in two weeks.
Police expressed regret for the death of the man at the Stockwell subway station, identified Saturday as Jean Charles de Menezes, 27. Witnesses said he was wearing a heavy, padded coat when plainclothes police chased him into a subway car, pinned him to the ground and shot him about five times in the head and torso.
Hours after the shooting, Police Commissioner Ian Blair said the victim was "directly linked" to the investigations into attacks Thursday and July 7. In the latter, suicide bombings on trains and a bus killed 56 people, including four attackers.
Police initially said the victim attracted police attention because he left a house that was under surveillance after Thursday's bungled bombings, in which devices planted on three subway trains and a double-decker bus failed to detonate properly. Stockwell is near Oval station, one of those targeted.
"He was then followed by surveillance officers to the station. His clothing and his behavior at the station added to their suspicions," police said Friday.
But Saturday, a police official said on condition of anonymity that Menezes was "not believed to be connected in any way to any of the London bombings."
"For somebody to lose their life in such circumstances is a tragedy and one that the Metropolitan Police Service regrets," a spokesman said on condition of anonymity, which is police policy.
However, police did not explain what went wrong or say whether Menezes had done anything illegal.
In Brazil, the Foreign Ministry said it was "shocked and perplexed" by the death of Menezes, whom it did not name but described as "apparently the victim of a lamentable mistake."
The ministry said it expected British authorities to explain the circumstances of the shooting, and Foreign Minister Celso Amorim would try to arrange a meeting with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw during a visit to London.
Brazilian media reported that Menezes was an electrician who had been legally living and working in England for the past three years. He originally came from the small city of Gonzaga, some 500 miles northeast of Sao Paulo in the state of Minas Gerais.
"He spoke English very well, and had permission to study and work there," Menezes' cousin Maria Alves told the O Globo Online Web site from her home in Sao Paulo.
Menezes' family was Roman Catholic. When asked if he had become Muslim in Britain, Agostino Ferreira Rosa, a policeman in Gonzaga said: "According to his family, he had nothing to do with Muslims or Islamism. He was Catholic."
"There was no reason to think he was a terrorist," Menezes' grandmother, Zilda Ambrosia de Figueiredo, told the Globo TV late Saturday. "He was very easygoing and very communicative with everybody. It's terrible what they have done to him."
Mayor Ken Livingstone said the killing was a "human tragedy" that was a consequence of the attacks.
"The police acted to do what they believed necessary to protect the lives of the public," he said. "This tragedy has added another victim to the toll of deaths for which the terrorists bear responsibility."
Livingstone drew a hard line before the mistake became clear, declaring that anyone believed to be a suicide bomber faced a "shoot-to-kill policy."
The shooting was an indication of the nervousness and anxiety around the city of about 8 million people. A police watchdog organization, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, said it would investigate the shooting but make sure not to hinder the bombings probe.
Shami Chakrabarti, director of the civil rights group Liberty, said such an investigation was critical for reassuring the public.
"It's incredibly important that society remains united at such a tense time, it's very important that young Asian men don't feel that there is some kind of trigger-happy culture out there," Chakrabarti said.
The Islamic Human Rights Commission said "in the current climate of anti-Muslim hysteria, IHRC fears that innocent people may lose their lives due to the new shoot to kill policy."
Iqbal Sacranie, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said, "It's absolutely vital that the utmost care is taken to ensure that innocent people are not killed due to overzealousness."
Police have made two arrests in the Stockwell neighborhood following Thursday's attacks. The second arrest was made late Friday "in connection with our inquiries" into those attacks, Metropolitan Police said.
Police have not released many details of the arrests, including the identities of those in custody.
Thousands of officers fanned out in a huge manhunt amid hopes the publication of closed-circuit TV images of four suspected attackers would lead to their capture. Blair declined to say if the men in custody were among the four pictured.
Security alerts kept Londoners on edge, and fears of a new terrorist attack led Italian soccer powerhouse Inter Milan to cancel its English tour because of safety concerns, a decision criticized by England's Norwich City soccer team.
""For Inter Milan to refuse to travel because of the threat of terrorism is simply giving in to the terrorists," said the team's chief executive, Neil Doncaster.
Hundreds of people also gathered Saturday to mourn Anthony Fatayi-Williams, a 26-year-old oil executive among those killed July 7.
"The cathedral is full. I can see Nigerians, people from different backgrounds, white and black, I can see people of all ages gathered here representing the different races of humankind," said his uncle, Tom Ikimi, a former Nigerian foreign affairs minister.
Associated Press reporters Catherine McAloon and Cassandra Vinograd in London, and Harold Olmos in Rio de Janeiro, contributed to this report.
source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050724/ap_on_re_eu/britain_underground;_ylt=Aos0ubxXBDUYvs25aiLhZFOs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA2Z2szazkxBHNlYwN0bQ-- 23jul2005
Police Admit 'Tragic' Error
Man We Shot on the Tube
Was No Terrorist
ANDREW ALDERSON, CHARLOTTE EDWARDES & DAVID HARRISON / The Telegraph (UK) 24jul2005
Scotland Yard was facing a severe crisis last night after it admitted that the man shot dead at Stockwell Tube station on Friday morning had no links to terrorist attacks on the capital.
The victim, a Brazilian, was shot five times in the head as he ran on to an Underground train pursued by armed officers, including members of SO19, Scotland Yard's specialist firearms unit.
The Metropolitan police named him as Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, an electrician from Minas Gerais who was living in Scotia Road, Stockwell, with three cousins. He is an innocent victim of a new "shoot to kill" policy under which officers have been told to shoot at the head if they believe they are confronting a suicide bomber.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said last night that there would be an inquiry. "We are satisfied the victim of the Stockwell Tube shooting is not linked to our terrorist inquiry. For somebody to lose their life in such circumstances is a tragedy and one the Metropolitan police regrets.
"The man emerged from a block of flats in the Stockwell area that were under police surveillance as part of the investigation into the incidents on Thursday, July 21. He was followed by surveillance officers to the Underground station. His clothing and behaviour added to their suspicions. The circumstances that led to the man's death are being investigated."
Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said on Friday that the man was "challenged and refused to obey police instructions". The shooting was "directly linked" to anti-terror operations.
Last night, however, Sir Ian, 52, faced the biggest crisis of his career six months after succeeding Sir John Stevens as commissioner.
Mr de Menezes was shot less than 24 hours after four suspected suicide bombers failed to set off explosives on three Tube trains and a bus in London on Thursday lunchtime. The next day Scotland Yard released CCTV footage of the men they believed were responsible for the incidents.
It is believed that Mr de Menezes, who is thought to have spoken good English, may have been working illegally in Britain for up to four years. He is thought to have panicked when confronted by armed men as he was about to buy a Tube ticket at about 10am. Witnesses said that he hurdled the ticket barrier, ran down the escalator and stumbled into a carriage.
Three armed officers who pounced on him, might have thought his padded jacket contained explosives. One of them shot five bullets from a handgun into his head in front of horrified passengers.
The man, who was wearing a padded jacket that officers might have thought contained explosives, was pounced on by three officers, one of whom shot five low-velocity bullets from a handgun into his head in front of horrified passengers.
One senior source said last night: "We were led to an address in Stockwell by documents found in the abandoned rucksacks and by our intelligence. This house, which now appears to be a multi-occupancy address, was put under surveillance."
Senior sources disclosed that the address, in Scotia Road, is believed to have been visited by the suspected bomber who abandoned his rucksack at Oval Tube station, south London last Thursday. He was seen on CCTV wearing a jacket with "New York" across the chest.
Last night Muslim leaders called for a review of police guidelines. They insisted, however, that the "shoot to kill" policy was justified if the lives of innocent people were deemed by highly trained officers to be at risk. Khalid Mahmood, the Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Bar, said: "This is a terrible tragedy and we have to feel sympathy for the dead man, his family and the police. But the basic principles remain. As long as the police have robust procedures in place then, if a suspect ignores a command to stop and is deemed to be jeopardising the lives of others shooting to kill is justified."
Police officials denied reports that one would-be suicide bomber was arrested late on Friday. Officers did, however, carry out an armed raid in Scotia Road late yesterday afternoon.
Scotland Yard is working on intelligence gathered in the past 48 hours showing that some of Thursday's attackers went on a trip to a whitewater rafting centre in Wales that was visited by Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer, two of the July 7 suicide bombers. They were at the centre near Bala weeks before taking part in the attacks that killed 52 rush-hour travellers in London.
A package found in Wormwood Scrubs, west London, yesterday, could be linked to Thursday's attacks, police said. An official did not deny that it could be a fifth bomb.
Yesterday's disclosure by police that the man shot was not a terrorist Mr will add to the pressure on Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary. However, Mr Clarke, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal, plans to go abroad on a family holiday this week.
He astonished colleagues by insisting that he will take his long-planned holiday at such a delicate stage of the investigation. He is understood to have been told by police chiefs that his day-to-day presence is "not necessary" as they have the situation, as far as possible, under control.
"I just can't understand Charles's decision," a senior minister said last night.
Gary Streeter, a Tory member of the home affairs select committee and a former minister, said: "It is unwise at this time for Mr Clarke to leave his desk. The man in charge of our policing and security should see this one through."
Mr Clarke has arranged for Hazel Blears, the policing and security minister, to stand in at Whitehall meetings.
source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/07/24/nshot24.xml&sSheet=/portal/2005/07/24/ixportaltop.html 23jul2005