August 19, 2005

Dead Brazilian’s family tell police chief to quit

By Jeremy Lovell

LONDON (Reuters) - The family of an innocent Brazilian man
shot dead by British police who mistook him for a would-be
suicide bomber called on Friday for London police chief Ian
Blair to resign.

Electrician Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, was shot eight
times at point blank range as he boarded an underground train
on July 22, a day after four bombs failed to explode on the
city's transport system.

Blair said at the time de Menezes was under surveillance as
part of a manhunt to catch the four fleeing bombers and refused
to respond to police challenges. The following day the force
admitted they had shot the wrong man and apologized.

Two weeks earlier four suicide bombers had killed 52 London

"For the sake of my family, for the sake of the people of
London, in Jean's name I say that those responsible should
resign, Ian Blair should resign," de Menezes' cousin Alessandro
Periera told a news conference.

He said the killing had deeply scarred his whole family.

In an interview for BBC Radio, due to be broadcast on
Saturday, Blair said he had no intention of resigning.

"No, not at all. Obviously one has to reflect other
people's views, but the level of support I and the Met have
received over the last few weeks I think outweighs these
particular events.

"I think that's the important point, really, that tragic as
the death of Mr Menezes is, and we have apologized for it and
we take responsibility for it, it is one death out of 57," he

On Thursday the Independent Police Complaints Commission,
which investigates all fatal police shootings, said it was
initially blocked by the Metropolitan Police from starting a

Under the IPCC's mandate a fatal shooting case must be
handed over by the police force involved by the end of business
on the working day after the incident. But in the Menezes case
it took five days for files to be sent, an IPCC spokesman said.

Leaked police and eyewitness accounts obtained by ITV News
conflicted with Blair's version of events.

Initial accounts said de Menezes was dressed suspiciously
in a heavy coat on a warm day, fled armed officers, vaulted
over ticket barriers and ran on to a train.

But the documents leaked to ITV indicated statements from
police and other witnesses showed he was not wearing a padded
jacket, had walked calmly through the station and stopped to
collect a free newspaper before sitting down in the carriage.

Blair insisted his men had acted in good faith and said
there had been no attempt to cover up events.

The Brazilian government announced it would conduct its own
inquiry into the shooting and a Brazilian mission will visit
Britain next week.

In comments to London's Evening Standard on Friday Blair
speculated that the groups involved in the July 7 and 21
attacks may have worked from the same training manual.

"Although we have not yet established any direct links,
intuitively there are such similarities between the
methodologies and equipment that we must think there is a
possibility of others," he said.

"The question is more around was there some training that
was held in common, is there some set of instructions
somewhere," he asked rhetorically.