August 22, 2005

Brazilian team arrives to probe London shooting

By Jeremy Lovell

LONDON (Reuters) - Two senior Brazilian diplomats flew to
Britain on Monday to join the investigation into the shooting
to death last month by British police of a Brazilian man they
had mistaken for a would-be suicide bomber.

The killing of Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, in a London
underground train as police hunted for men who a day earlier
had left bombs that failed to explode on three trains and a bus
has prompted calls for London police chief Ian Blair to resign.

"We are here to see how the investigation works," Marcio
Pereira Pinto Garcia of the Ministry of Justice told reporters
as he and Wagner Goncalves of the Federal Prosecutor's Office
arrived at London's Heathrow airport.

The pair will meet Metropolitan Police deputy assistant
commissioner John Yates later on Monday and on Wednesday quiz
investigators from the Independent Police Complaints Commission
(IPCC) which probes all fatal police shootings.

The IPCC complained last week that police had initially
resisted the investigation.

The failed attack came exactly two weeks after four suicide
bombers killed 52 commuters on the London transport system.

Blair, who initially praised the actions of his officers,
has rejected the resignation calls and revealed at the weekend
he did not know they had killed an innocent man until 24 hours
after the shooting on July 22.

Leaked documents from the IPCC investigation last week
exposed blunders and cast doubt on initial accounts from police
and witnesses that de Menezes had been behaving suspiciously
and had tried to flee.

Relatives of de Menezes have called on Blair to quit
because of police mistakes and information they say was

His namesake, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, holidaying
in Barbados with his family, has endorsed his police chief.

Family members and supporters will stage a demonstration
outside the prime minister's residence at Downing Street later
on Monday calling for a public inquiry into the shooting.

Sunday newspapers said undercover officers who followed de
Menezes after he came out of an apartment block as part of the
investigation did not believe he posed an immediate threat.

They were therefore shocked when armed police arrived at
the train at Stockwell station in south London and shot him,
the reports said, citing senior police sources.

But the armed officers maintain they would not have shot
the man if he had not been openly identified to them by one of
the surveillance team.

Lawyers for the de Menezes family have voiced doubts that
senior police officers were not aware of the truth soon after
the shooting despite Blair's protestations that it took nearly
a day to confirm the mistake.