John Walker's Electronic House

ITV News Get Leaked Documents

by on Aug.16, 2005, under Rants

ITV News has gotten hold of documents and photographs about why the police killed Jean Charles De Menezes on the tube.

The documents and photographs confirm that Jean Charles was not carrying any bags, and was wearing a denim jacket, not a bulky winter coat, as had previously been claimed.

He was behaving normally, and did not vault the barriers, even stopping to pick up a free newspaper.

He started running when we saw a tube at the platform. Police had agreed they would shoot a suspect if he ran.

A document describes CCTV footage, which shows Mr de Menezes entered Stockwell station at a “normal walking pace” and descended slowly on an escalator.

A number of people commented when I last wrote about this story, before the details were revealed, and when the story went along the lines of: the police having told him to stop, shouted at him as they chased him through a tube station, where in his heavy bulky coat he ignored their instructions and leapt the barriers.

Some who commented stated that de Menezes deserved what happened to him, citing all the excuses that have now disappeared.

To these people, I ask: please, next time, will you remember this? Will you remember that you were lied to, given little morsels of misinformation that were deliberately designed to play on your prejudices, and enough excuses to not have to face up to the reality of what had happened.

Those morsels are gone now. This is not “I told you so”. This is, please, next time, stop and remember this. Because next time the report probably won’t leak, the truth won’t get out, and the convenient lies will stay in place. As with so many times before.

24 Comments for this entry

  • Kowalski

    My argument was always that if he had stopped when asked too he would not have been shot. I’ve never tried to justify his death (it’s apalling) but I did believe (due to his defiance) the police were left with no option.

    If this report is true then I hold my hands up and take it all back. It’s a shame no-one will be reprimanded for this.

  • xyz

    Oh come on you are being disingenuous-you were berating the police even when we thought he had been wearing a bulky jacket, carrying a bag, jumping a barrier and ignoring the police-you did not know or care whether it was misinformation-even if it had all been true you still would have condemned them. Now that we know the truth (which would always have come out in the end) I think it is a scandal and the police involved should be charged with murder. It does not change the fact that your original stance was ridiculous.

  • Chiarina

    Kowalski – ‘No option?’ Because (and let’s say it happened this way) a person didn’t stop when the police shouted at them as they were running for the tube? I mean, why would he, even IF he had heard them, in this hypothetical scenario, think they were shouting at him?
    More to the point, the fact that the article says police shot him when he was already in the carriage, sitting down, when he was being physically restrained by an officer, suggests they might have shot him even if he had stopped in the hypothetical…’running and being shouted at scenario’. I think it shows they were far too keen to shoot him probably because they had completely lost sight of the fact that they could so easily have been wrong, given the evidence they used for their decision making.
    I don’t want my police thinking they have no option but to shoot me if I run for the tube and don’t stop.
    They had plenty of options. They could have stopped and searched or arrested him at any time before he got on the tube. If they believed he was a terrorist suspect, why didn’t they? I mean even without those bloody detention without charge laws, don’t you have 24 or 48 hours after arrest to charge someone with something anyway? They wouldn’t have had to try and get a ‘positive ID’ on the trot in half an hour (I mean, how do you do that anyway?). Why didn’t they just restrain him? Why didn’t they use a taser gun? Why didn’t they shoot his legs? Why did they think he was such an imminent threat? Why didn’t they find out about everyone else who lived in the building and identify non-suspects to try and help positive IDs?

    I really hope there’s an inquiry. It will indeed be helpful to see how in this case incremental and gross stupidity led to murder. It would also be good to see where the misinformation came from (it’s just as likely to be an emergent property of the belief by onlookers that the police must have had a really good reason to do something so drastic, as well as the fearful, hostile attitude that is being cultivated in the media as regards terrorism and ‘them’, as anything coordinated or purposeful).

  • Kowalski

    Chiarina: I think the answer to most of your questions is ‘they believed he was a suicide bomber’. Right or wrong this apparently gives police the powers to shoot dead, and I mean dead, a suspect.

    I think the fundamental problem is the fact that he was a suspect at all – events that unfolded from that (incorrect) intelligence are a mix of cruel fate and incredibly bad luck.

  • John W

    Well then, that’s two who are already frantically chiseling at the big block of concrete that fell from the sky, trying to make their excuses to not stop and think about it next time either.

    My position last time was that this was inevitably a man running to catch a tube train, who had no idea that he was being shouted at. It’s what I said then. It’s what was true. And even more so, he didn’t have the magical coat and leapy-barrier ways that seemed so suspicious then, and indeed were, that excused people’s having to face the reality.

  • Lewis

    The actual people who shot him were probably not at fault: they’ll have been following orders. It’s whoever was above them that made the huge, inexcusable and diabolical cock-up.

  • Wilko

    “The actual people who shot him were probably not at fault: they’ll have been following orders. It’s whoever was above them that made the huge, inexcusable and diabolical cock-up.“

    Yes, of course. Because we shouldn’t expect our police force to exercise any moral autonomy when faced with a unique situation such as this.

    You are Colonel. Nathan R. Jessep and I claim my five code reds.

  • Lewis

    I’m not excusing them; just shifting the blame to the people who really deserve it.

  • xyz

    I base my opinions on the facts that I have at the time, not on the facts that “the man” is concealing from me. I will continue to do so in future, and will reserve my right to change my opinion as the facts become clearer. Radical eh?

  • aaron

    not really its just stupid. pompous, irrational and irresponsible to make wild statements without reviewing the evidence!

    do you work for the sun by any chance?

  • Wilko

    “I’m not excusing them; just shifting the blame to the people who really deserve it.”

    The blame lies at the door of those who formed the policy, yes. It also lies at the door of those men who followed the victim, restrained him, then shot him, exercising as they did no independence of thought which might have led to a slightly less bloody outcome. I care not a jot about the orders of the higher-ups; the armed officers involved are not unaware automatons who should blindly follow orders without thinking of the consequences. “I was only following orders” – sound familiar, eh?

  • John W

    “I base my opinions on the facts that I have at the time, not on the facts that “the man” is concealing from me. I will continue to do so in future, and will reserve my right to change my opinion as the facts become clearer. Radical eh”

    It would be radical, had you at any point considered whether anything was a “fact”.

    Did you not think that maybe since every report on the incident at the time contradicted the others, that it was possible you weren’t working with entirely absolute evidence?

    Here was the only fact you had: An innocent man was murdered.

    But instead of working on your fact, you plucked out the versions of the events that matched what suited you. Forget the eye-witness accounts that made no mention of his being chased or ignoring calls to stop. But pay attention to the strangely uncredited reports that made it feel like he was in the wrong, and you could sleep easier at night.

    Don’t throw around such utter bullshit about “facts”. You had none – you just chose a version of events that felt cosy for you. Make the dead man be the bad guy, and move on.

  • Lewis

    Erm. This is turning very argumentative.

  • Kowalski

    No one has said that he was the bad guy.

    All ANYONE knew before today was that he was running away from police when they were telling him to stop. Nothing had ever said otherwise.

    I’d never even took on board what he was wearing or whether he looked ‘suspicious’ because that, to me, has always been completely irrelevant.

    You had no ‘facts’ either let’s not forget so everyone was speculating as to the reasons he was shot. I don’t believe anyone has ever tried to defend the police’s actions and everyone is/was quite aware he was an innocent man.

    My argument has always been ‘here is why he was shot’ not ‘he should have been shot’#.

  • John W

    Go and read the comments thread on the old post. You might find that some people *were* blaming and defending.

  • Lewis

    I like the new look, by the way.

  • Adam

    Yes, I was blaming and defending. I’m not going to apologise, (and this will sound stupidly arrogant, but here goes:) because I don’t feel I did anything wrong. I was defending the Met on the information I’d been given which at the time I believed was true.

    Turns out I was wrong.

  • Tom

    The largest camp seems to be those who acknowledge it was a huge tragedy, don’t believe the victim deserved it, but believe that the police had no choice – that they acted according to a policy that is necessary at the moment.

    I’m dumb and they could have tricked me into believing that if they’d shot him from a distance. But they wrestled him to the floor, then shot him. That was all I’d heard when I went to my parents for the weekend, and at a dinner party I lauded their decisiveness of action in an impossible situation. They didn’t shoot him from a distance, I assured everyone, because they had to be sure. Once they got him to the ground, they obviously found a detonator or charge, and had to kill him immediately.

    It’s not often I feel like a complete idiot.

    They had him on the floor. Even with a puffy coat it’s the work of a few seconds to determine whether he’s rigged to blow. If they waited that long to get him on the ground first, it’s madness to take his life instead of spending that extra second to determine innocence or guilt.

    I’m going to quote the only compelling bit of oratory I’ve heard about the 7/7 bombings, from a Lord Hoffman, about whom I know nothing:

    “The Attorney General’s submissions and the judgment of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission treated a threat of serious physical damage and loss of life as necessarily involving a threat to the life of the nation. But in my opinion this shows a misunderstanding of what is meant by ‘threatening the life of the nation’. Of course the government has a duty to protect the lives and property of its citizens. But that is a duty which it owes all the time and which it must discharge without destroying our constitutional freedoms. There may be some nations too fragile or fissiparous to withstand a serious act of violence. But that is not the case in the United Kingdom…

    This is a nation which has been tested in adversity, which has survived physical destruction and catastrophic loss of life. I do not underestimate the ability of fanatical groups of terrorists to kill and destroy, but they do not threaten the life of the nation. Whether we would survive Hitler hung in the balance, but there is no doubt that we shall survive Al-Qaeda. The Spanish people have not said that what happened in Madrid, hideous crime as it was, threatened the life of their nation. Their legendary pride would not allow it. Terrorist violence, serious as it is, does not threaten our institutions of government or our existence as a civil community…

    The real threat to the life of the nation, in the sense of a people living in accordance with its traditional laws and political values, comes not from terrorism but from laws such as these. That is the true measure of what terrorism may achieve.”

    These are idiots killing themselves and shooting their cause in the foot. They’re hurting innocent people while they do it, but they’re still just fumbling idiots lashing clumsily out. I don’t get scared until intelligent people start shooting each other, and that’s begun.

    Last one: I flew to New York exactly one year after the 9/11 attacks. Security was ramped up in fear of anniversary attacks, and on my way through the airport to my return flight, I was walking up some escalators having been through customs. I suddenly realised I’d left my camera in the tray thing, and bolted back down straight at the security guards. I basically jumped – it’s not easy getting down an up escalator in a hurry, and something about the upward motion had made me instinctively feel like I had to get back down quickly before I was all the way up and it was too late (I wasn’t immediately aware if there was an easy way back down, but of course there would have been). The security guards were admirably calm about it, and just told me to be too. But that was another time I felt like a complete idiot. In this country I’d have been shot six times in the face.

  • xyz

    “Don’t throw around such utter bullshit about “facts”. You had none – you just chose a version of events that felt cosy for you. Make the dead man be the bad guy, and move on. ”

    You had no facts either and chose the version of events that made the police look like evil psycopathic Mega City One lunatics hellbent on killing innocent people with no rationale, whilst the shady sinister government covered up and silenced any dissenters.

    As it turns out you were closer to the truth in the end this time, but your opinion a couple of weeks ago was as baseless and groundless as any (it’s just you are Grassy Knollington from Viz AICM£5″

  • Richard

    XYZ: Out of interest, are you allowed to go out when it rains, or does it get your straw too soggy, man?

  • Muletears

    John, Chiarina, Wilko… when you folks have finished vilifying the ‘murderer’ that killed Jean Charles De Menezes how about starting on the thousands of jumpy WW2/Korea/Vietnam servicemen that killed comrades believing them to be enemies?

    Just like that policeman, they found themselves in situations more stressful and scary than any you or I will ever face. Just like that policeman they made decisions (bad ones as it turns out) they thought would save the lives of their friends and charges.

  • Muletears

    ” I don’t get scared until intelligent people start shooting each other”

    Tom, you are either the bravest person I’ve ever encountered or a fool.

  • admin

    “I’m not going to apologise”

    I’m not asking you to. As I said in the post, I’m merely asking that next time, you consider this moment before deciding what evidence you really have.

  • bob_arctor

    Well the whole truth is still out there. I watched that ITV report and they still didn’t know exactly what happened (conflicting witness reports). However now I know most of it I can see that obviously it was a terrible mistake. The first reports though I thought “excellent, potential bomber stopped”, first reports, only half heard, okay?
    But it is natural to jump on the easiest truth due to hope. I hoped we lived in a country where guns were not shot willy nilly by security forces, and the police did a good job and were the good guys.