John Walker's Electronic House


by on Jul.24, 2005, under Rants

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Q&A: Stockwell shooting

Scotland Yard has admitted that a man shot dead by police hunting the bombers behind Thursday’s London attacks was unconnected to the incidents.

Botherer Blog correspondents Gordon Nocareera and James Hardly look at the implications.

Q: Will this have an effect on attempts to foster good community relations?

It has been speculated in some places that the police’s shooting at innocent people can do some damage to positive community relations. Some people have expressed concern about the decision to shoot at the vaguely Asian looking man, with Muslim leaders implying that a “shoot-to-kill-foreigners” policy can have detrimental effects on public relations. Of course, this doesn’t take into account the effect a killing has on the size of a community, reducing the real-term numbers of individuals with which poor relations can be had.

Q: What impact will it have on the way the police investigate into the bombings?

Of course, primarily it makes the hunt for the bombers easier, as there is now one less person to choose from. The situation is now more tense than in previous years, with the recent suicide bombings calling for a review of the more traditional “Ask questions, have a trial, shoot later” policy.

Q: Are we sure police officers were responsible for the shooting, and what is their policy in such cases?

While the police did chase the unarmed innocent man onto the tube train, cornering him and piling onto him to ensure he was incapacitated, it’s not clear which one it was that did the shooting. For a number of years the police have been looking at which tactics can be used in the eventuality of suicide bombers operating in the UK, and it is a very difficult thing to cope with, but sitting on people before emptying a gun into their head has so far proven to prevent any repeat offenses, guilty or innocent.

Q: Does the shooting represent a setback for Prime Minister Tony Blair?

Tony Blair is content to let the police cover the story up without his help, allowing them to investigate themselves in the traditional manner. Mr Blair has asked that the public remain scared, and added that if any members of the public see any policemen acting suspiciously, to alert the nearest someone else.

22 Comments for this entry

  • Lewis

    If they’re trained to shoot to kill in certain circumstances… then I suppose fair enough. However, I have a hard time believing this was one of those circumstances.

    Patently, because he was cornered on a train. The previous day, police managed to surround an uncooperative man suspected of carrying a bomb, get him to the ground, then arrest him without any use of violence. In the middle of a street. If the police can do it there, surely the SAS can do it on a bloody train.

    Also, something I found interesting. The first reports that came in of this incident referred to an “Asian man.” Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but when the body was identified… was the man not Argentinian? This is second-hand information, I admit, so I may be wrong. But if so: hmm.

  • John W

    Bullets are colour-blind Lewis. Bullets are colour-blind.

  • Lewis

    Heh. That’s not what I was getting at, actually. It was more the fact that he was *reported* as being Asian, when he wasn’t.

    Actually, I don’t know what I’m getting at. It’s half past two and I have a fever. It’s not wise talking to me in such scenarios.

  • Adam

    A nutter, wearing a large over-coat in the middle of summer, runs from a high-street while being pursued by police (reason enough, in my humblest of opinions, to /stop bloody running/), into a train, the day after a supposed terrorist attack in the same area. I’m not saying killing the guy was perhaps justifiable (I’m sitting on the fence on this one), but at least attempt to see the circumstances as the actually were.

  • John W

    “A nutter”.

    I’ll choose to pretend I was wise enough to stop reading after that.

  • John W

    Already the story is disappearing. The BBC News pages containing eye-witness descriptions of the shooting have vanished, the story has been reduced to a man “running from the police, onto a train, and shot”. A Brazilian man being chased by plain-clothed white SAS officers, slaughtered at point-blank range, will be forgotten. He’ll become this Adam’s “nutter”, guilty because he wore a coat, and we’ll allow ourselves to forget. Or “sit on the fence” as if such actions would have suddenly been acceptable were the man involved in the bombings.

  • Pete Osborne

    Probably the safest thing for us all to do is to walk around naked, carrying nothing; to show we have nothing to hide. You may be arrested for public indecency, but that’s certainly better than being dead.

  • Kowalski

    He did run on to a train, whilst running away from the police, in the midst of a terror alert.

    He was clearly an idiot that’s for sure.

  • John W

    Which bit of “being chased by a bunch of plain clothed thugs” is eluding people? Do you have a vision of a crowd of Laurel & Hardy policemen blowing whistles and tripping up over one another as they chase him?

    I find it disgusting that people are happily rewriting the incident until this man can be “an idiot” enough or “a nutter” enough that they don’t have to be troubled by the ugly reality of what happened.

  • Rev. S Campbell

    Pete Osborne, you are a cretin. EVERYONE knows that TERROZRIZTS have their willies cut off as a sacrifice to Allah, so that they can replaced them with flesh-coloured sticks of dynamite, so your stupid “naked” policy would actually MAKE TERROZRIZM WORSE. Please turn yourself in at the nearest place of authority for indefinite house arrest at once.

  • Rev. S Campbell

    Also, they hide more dynamite in their beards.

  • bob_arctor

    Well this is yet more funny BBC reporting. I wish the government would stop leaning on the BBC so hard, or the top bods at the BBC leaning down so hard. I thought at first this was good, someone, an eyewitness thought he had a bomb, so there you go, the police did good and stopped a bombing.
    Now he has no bomb, is not related to bombers, and isn’t even Muslim1!!111 He wasn’t even an Arab pig!!!1111

    But yeah John you put it in context. The police did not look like police, so it makes it a bit more understandable.
    Until the EXACT circumstances are revealed I will be pretty much on the fence, and sceptical and cynical of anything and everything. Why can’t they just tell us what happened? I don’t want to be gunned down for having a coat.

  • Lewis

    I do agree that there are two sides to this one. The SAS *were* plain-clothed, but reportedly made it very obvous that they *were* the SAS. And, admittedly, if they hadn’t have shot him and the train had exploded, people would have been up in arms that they hadn’t done their jobs. Although, to be fair, it would have been likely only the SAS officers who had died, as the train had been evacuated.

    Which gets me thinking on the other side again. If they had time to evactuate the train before they shot the man, was it really such an emergency that they shot him?

    Moreover, the fact that he was shot five times makes me hugely suspicious. It doesn’t take that many bullets.

  • John W

    No the train wasn’t evacuated. That’s how there came to be so many eye witness accounts of the brutal murder.The ones that are now disappearing from the news sites. As some reports are still saying, it happened in front of shocked onlookers. The police offered one man counselling after what he witnessed. Don’t let this all disappear.

    By the way, why don’t people go to Brazil, be near some public transport, and then be chased by a large group of burly Brazilians shouting in Spanish at you, and see how they respond? See if he still seems like such an “idiot”.

  • Lewis

    He was an English speaker, to be fair. Or so BBC is reporting.

  • Adam

    More than being an English speaker, he’d lived here for years and was working as an electrician. Even if he had only enough of a grasp of our language to get by, he’d surely understand “stop, this is the police”…

  • Rev. S Campbell

    Ah, so many people, all so perfectly rational. None of whom have a bunch of people shouting and waving guns at them. Fuck off, all of you.

  • Adam

    By the same token, you aren’t a member of society designated to prevent harm coming to the population chasing a man you believe could be a terrorist.

  • Defragged

    Interestingly, the last headline on todays lunchtime news was “Shot Brazilian’s Student Visa had expired”

    I honestly don’t see how that is relevant to anything to do with this event anymore. Even if we did live in some bizzarre parallel universe where it’s ok to shoot people who’s visa’s have expired, the police wouldn’t have known that at the time, making it utterely irrelevant.

    I’m quite suprised that they couldn’t get uniformed police to the scene before the SAS (has it actually been announced that it was the SAS?) went a bit nuts (The British Transport Police have tended to be quite good whenever I’ve had to deal with them), especially so soon after the transport network’s been attacked in this way. I’d be able to accept the reasons for the shooting him a bit more if it had been uniformed police telling him to stop.

    As it stands, I can’t see why they couldn’t just grab his arms and push them away from him, then arrest him. I accept that if he was a nasty suicide bomber person who had some sort of trigger thing in his hands, this may have been impractical. But they should at least check first before shooting someone.

  • John W

    The logic given by Radio 4 for the visa thing being newsworthy is that it gives an explanation for his running from the police. To have been caught would be to be deported. Or murdered. It’s one of the two.

    That, however, is not the story that the BBC News site has posted, which, as you say, implies, “Oh, he was a dirty illegal immigrant. That’s ok then.”