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Saturday, January 21, 2006 

Jean Charles de Menezes: Will we actually even get the report?

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has finished its report into the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, and has sent it to the Crown Prosecution Service, who will consider whether charges are to be brought into what happened on the morning of July the 22nd 2005. The report has been additionally sent to the Met, and to the Home Secretary Charles Clarke. A copy has not been sent to the de Menezes family, I would guess out of pure fear on the police and politicians behalf that they would either leak it or "misinterpret" it.

As it is, we do not know how damning or lenient the report is, whether it lays the blame on the shoot-to-kill policy itself, the poor communication between the officers on that morning or on other factors. We don't know whether it mentions the lies which the media reported as truth in the following few hours and days, and whether the supposed witnesses were actually either members of the Met or paid off by them for their incredibly wrong and misleading information. We don't know whether it was decided on a split-second identification that he should be killed because he fit the description, as an offering to the tabloids and government that the Met were actually doing something. We don't know whether Sir Ian Blair either lied to the News of the World when he said he didn't know that an innocent man had been killed for over 24 hours after the shooting, or whether it was down to incompetence in his organisation, or even that he was being kept out the loop.

Sir Ian Blair's role after the shooting is however additionally being investigated in another inquiry by the IPCC. A senior source close to the Met told the Grauniad that that investigation could be even more damaging than the one into the de Menezes shooting.

The real cause for concern is that we may never even get to see the report, or at least not possibly for years. The CPS is likely to take months to assess whether any police officers will be prosecuted, and even then it is unlikely to be made public for reasons of contempt of court. Charles Clarke has said he would like to see it made public, but it is unlikely until all the proceedings are complete. In other words: years away, if we're lucky. As it is, we're left with the same questions we've been mulling over since the shooting. Why was Jean Charles not stopped before he entered the tube station, or even the bus he boarded? Was he at any point told to stop? Why when he was already being restrained was he then shot 7 times in the head and once in the shoulder, and with 11 bullets in total being fired? To quote the Guardian's source, it "was a complete and utter fuck-up", but was it a sinister fuck-up or one that was down to human error?

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