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Saturday, August 20, 2005

Stockwell Tube Shooting - Who is to blame?

London Underground Shooting - Dodgy eye-witness reports, police cover-ups, urban myths

More and more of the
leaked documents are being published in the press now and it's fairly clear that they are genuine (why else would the whistle blower have been suspended? - although the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) are refusing to comment on this).

However, as the facts are now finally beginning to emerge - it's a shame they had to come from a leaked document - everyone is wringing their hands and newspapers are reporting of calls for Police Commissioner Ian Blair's resignation. I am not in any way excusing the actions of the Met police but it wasn't just the police who were coming up with dodgy stories (The discrepancies in all the stories are summarised well by the BBC here.

Daily Mirror Headlines from 19th August

Let's look at the eye witness reports on the day of the shooting. I would have been absolutely terrified if I was in that tube carriage at Stockwell. I would have been scared witless at just hearing gun shots. If I had then left the station in that state and had a microphone pointed in my face - what would I have done?

Well Mark Whitby gave the BBC a report which was as we now know not entirely accurate (Incidentally he's now giving a different report of the events).

The problem was that all these initial eye witness reports did at the time, was to perpetuate the myth that Jean Charles de Menezes was wearing a padded jacket with wires coming from it and that he vaulted the barrier - leaving the majority of us to believe at the time that he was a terrorist and deserved what was coming to him.

However, I'm still amazed about all the people, who even when it emerged that de Menezes had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks said - "well he shouldn't have been running", "well he shouldn't have vaulted the barriers" "well he shouldn't have been wearing a padded jacket".

Lots of the comments here from the post I made at the time were certainly along those lines.

I sat on the fence a bit as it was clear even then that the whole affair was a mess but I said: "It's all very easy to say you shouldn't run from the police if you're innocent. He probably felt guilty about something. What that something was, we'll never know now" and later "it would be great if people could stop blaming the victim here. I'd mentioned it before and have also felt inclined to leave messages on a variety of other blogs that are calling the guy stupid for wearing a padded jacket and for vaulting the turnstile."

At the end of the day, I spose the issue is that it isn't our job or the eye witnesses jobs to be accurate about what we say (although it's a different matter if the eyewitness is then summoned to give evidence in court). We're not getting paid to give accurate reports and descriptions about events, whereas the police are.

We ought to have every faith in the police at the moment and they are trying to protect us. But the other very sad thing about all of this, is that these issues and stories are deflecting from the excellent work the police have been doing when they caught the suspected bombers on the 29th July without injury to anyone.

In my opinion, the only good thing to have come out of this is that the Police are now reviewing their shoot to kill policy.

; Posted by Annie Mole Saturday, August 20, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon