July 15, 2006

No charges for UK police who shot Brazilian: paper

LONDON (Reuters) - Prosecutors will not take any action
against British police officers involved in the fatal shooting
of an innocent Brazilian man mistaken for a suicide bomber, the
Guardian newspaper reported on Saturday.

Jean Charles de Menezes was shot seven times in the head on
a London underground train during a major anti-terrorism
operation last July 22, the day after attempted bombings on
London's transport system.

The police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints
Commission (IPCC), completed a report into the incident in
January when it passed its findings to prosecutors to decide
whether individual officers should face criminal action.

The BBC reported on Thursday that the IPCC had recommended
that two firearms officers and Cressida Dick, the senior
officer who was in charge of the operation, should face action.

But the Guardian, without citing any sources, said the
Crown Prosecution Service had decided against charging any
individual. Instead the London police force as a whole will
face charges for breaching health and safety rules, it said.

The CPS is due to give its decision on Monday, and neither
it nor the IPCC will comment before the official announcement.

The shooting of de Menezes, a 27-year-old electrician,
shocked Britain, where most police officers are unarmed, and
damaged the police's reputation.

Officers had been on high alert after the suspected bombing
attempts the day before, which came two weeks after four
British Islamists killed 52 commuters and injured 700 others in
suicide attacks on three underground trains and a bus.

Initial reports had suggested de Menezes had been wearing a
bulky jacket, had vaulted a ticket barrier at Stockwell
underground station in south London, and had run when
challenged by police.

But leaked evidence from the IPCC probe suggested all such
claims were untrue and there had been major blunders by
officers involved in the operation.

The Brazilian's family have repeatedly called for those
involved to face criminal charges and their lawyer told the
Guardian they would be "very unhappy" if the CPS decided
against taking any action.

"They would like to see officers held to account on a
personal level, for somebody to be charged with a homicide
offence," Harriet Wistrich said.