It seems to me that the cop, or cops, who shot and killed Jean Charles de Menezes on a Tube train last Friday probably saw himself as carrying out an execution. It has emerged at the inquest into Mr de Menezes’ death that he was shot eight times — seven times in the head and once in the shoulder.
Eye witnesses described Mr de Menezes as being ‘pinned down’ to the floor of the train. Why on earth would you need to shoot someone at all, let alone in the head, if you already had him pinned to the floor? I can just about understand that, in a very confused and desperate situation, you might shoot someone to disable him even if you already have him pinned to the floor. But in the head? To shoot him seven more times makes it appear as if the cop either completely lost his marbles or decided to execute a person who he was completely convinced had no right to live. In either circumstance the guy who did it has no business being a cop and should be done for murder. You can’t possibly claim that you didn’t mean to kill someone if you shot them in the head.
I’m also very disturbed about why the police who trailed Mr de Menezes from his home in Tulse Hill allowed him to get on a bus if they were so certain that he might be a suicide bomber. But then again, perhaps they weren’t so convinced at all. It has been suggested that the police who followed Mr de Menezes from his home were not, in fact, the ones who killed him. It’s possible that they handed over to another group of police who were waiting at the station. Perhaps it’s they who were so hyped up, understandably given recent events, that they were seeing everyone as a potential bomber.
I realise that the police have a very difficult job to do at the moment but, all the same, the very last thing we need are cops who are either unstable or prone to switching into Dirty Harry mode as soon as the going gets tough.
Posted 25 July 2005, 20:10 BST