The London Subway Shooting. and Stupid, Criminally Stupid Police

More facts in the London subway shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes are coming out, including a Guardian story that the Metropolitan Police Commissioner tried to block an independent inquiry into the shooting.

This pretty much invalidates what I wrote earlier, and moves this from a depressing, if understandable, tragedy to an inexcusable and more deeply depressing farce.

People do stupid things, and sometimes when people do stupid things with guns, they go to jail. Even though they are wearing uniforms when they do them.

24 thoughts on “The London Subway Shooting. and Stupid, Criminally Stupid Police”

  1. Al —

    Remember that’s Al-Guardian reporting, from what seems to be the Lawyer for the family of the dead man. Truth doesn’t necessarily enter into their reporting.

    Note: Al-Guardian ran a “sassy” editorial by a Hizb-ut-Tahrir member justifying the London subway bombings as “sassy,” concealing the guy’s identity as a member of that extremist group (proposed for banning by Blair).

    Al-Guardian then compounded it’s actions by running a “Democracy Activist” article from a fellow in Saudi Arabia, whom Al-Guardian did not inform it’s readers is Al Qaeda’s #1 guy in the Magic Kingdom.

    The paper is pathetic (and has a built in bias against police and for any one suing them).

    Caution advised.

  2. Doesn’t seem to be terribly farsical to me. The police have a limited amount of manpower and attention to dedicate to investigation. The investigation of the London bombing is, frankly, far more important than the suicide-by-cop of an illegal immigrant.

    Make no mistake, if they hadn’t shot and he had been carrying a suicide belt, you’d have been screaming for the blood of those police as multiple-murderers, trumpeting that their decision killed tens to hundreds.

    He was challenged, he ran, and he stupidly ran toward a large population hub right after suicide bombers had attacked another. That degree of self-destructive insipidity deserves little more than the scythe of the reaper as reward. Given the police were charged with protecting the populace at large from such a threat as he, himself, presented, it seems disingenious to claim that they had much of a choice.

  3. Jim Rockford:
    This is not just in the Guardian. It’s across the media, and if at all accurate seems to indicate a terrible error by police, at best.

    Alexander Williams:
    At least some of these (leaked, partial) reports of the investigation suggest Menezes was NOT challenged, NOT running, NOT wearing a bulky coat.
    The worst possibility is that there was not only a panic reaction by officers, but that earlier senior police officers statements were misleading.
    However, these are partial leaks; likely the most sensational from probable multiple and differing statements and evidence.
    It might be a mistake to reach conclusions before the IPCC reports.

    But I have to admit: this feels bad.

  4. This is analogous to the USS Vincennes shooting down an Iranian passenger jet during the Iran-Iraq war.

    A false positive mindset arose (err on the side of caution) since a year earlier the USS Stark was fired upon by an Iranian jet.

    It is unfortunate, but these guys had at most 5 seconds to decide the fate of their crews or a crowded London subway station.

  5. if they hadn’t shot and he had been carrying a suicide belt, you’d have been screaming for the blood of those police as multiple-murderers, trumpeting that their decision killed tens to hundreds

    Well, no, in that case, the police officers would probably be all dead, as they apparently were in a subway car with the “bomber.”

    I’m going to remain open-minded for a while longer, but I’ve been leaning away from the police from day one.

  6. John –

    Actually, they had more than 5 seconds, since they’d been following the guy for several blocks;

    Police tactics are something I have first-hand knowledge of (I’ve done force-on-force training with police officers), and – depending on how they chased and engaged this guy – they may well be criminally liable. The UK media are now presenting information that he didn;t leap the turnstile, wasn’t running, and they weren’t yelling at him to stop. Obviously we may never get hard facts, but if the facts lean somewhat to that side – they’re clearly at fault.

    I’ll close with Clint Smith, well-known pacifist:

    “You better learn to communicate real well, because when you’re out there on the street, you’ll have to talk to a lot more people than you’ll have to shoot, or at least that’s the way I think it’s supposed to work.”


  7. Apparently they had the guy detained, with his arms controlled by a cop. Then for some reason the cop pushed him into a seat and the others just opened up on him. Thats the rumor anyway.

  8. It’s pretty clear now that the poor guy had not ran, had not been challenged, had not resisted arrest, had not failed to obey orders, and was not wearing a particularly heavy coat.

    It now appears that at least one, and possibly several, police officers panicked – firing into the head of the arrested man after he had already been detained. The situation is probably similar to the situation in which a US Marine killed an unarmed Iraqi detainee in front of the cameras during Second Fallujah. Pure panic driven reflex. “Well, he’s dead now.” Of course, the Marine’s actions – while tragic – are a good deal more excusible in a battle field context with unsecured prisoners, than they are in a police context with a guy whose already been tackled and is being held by a colleague. I’d be very surprised if the British officer responcible is found guilty of murder, but he probably should be at the least discharged from duty. Panicing while handling a gun is literally a fatal flaw in a magistrate.

  9. “You better learn to communicate real well, because when you’re out there on the street, you’ll have to talk to a lot more people than you’ll have to shoot, or at least that’s the way I think it’s supposed to work.”

    Excellent quote AL.

  10. I am genuinely apalled by those who dont understand what a term like ‘state killer’ means yet use in freely. Are you suggesting this killing was ordered by the British government? Ya know Lee, you had better hope if you are ever involved in a life and death hostage type situation that the cops trying to save your life dont have your demented attitude. Those guys risk their lives to protect civilians and you dare to equate them with death squads, that is the only sickening thing here. We seem to have come a long way from celebrating cops after 911.

  11. Again I’d urge caution. A lot. The stuff I’ve seen has basically just reprinted Al-Guardian’s original article, which seems shot through with bias:

    1. No effort to contact people close to the investigation or lawyers for the officers involved to get their story.

    2. Reliance on what seems a thinly veiled funneling of a lawyer for the Brazilian’s family; including accounts of eyewitnesses who seem to all tell the same story (which is in and of itself suspicious).

    3. Editorializing the story itself (evil police executed the man for no reason).

    My problem with all of this is that it resembles the LAT and how they basically just act as PR for high-powered defense attorneys in celebrity cases. The Times basically without any editing reprinted Cochran’s “theories” about the OJ Murder case, including all sorts of wild and slimy allegations of the victims, Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson. Columbian Drug Lords and hit men instead of the simplest explanation. Or, the Robert Blake case and the attorney there, suggesting that it was NOT Robert Blake who killed his wife but some mysterious internet hit team.

    Prosecutors have for DECADES complained that the LAT is biased, will not run the Prosecutor’s side of the story and just reprints without even minimal fact checking, what the Defense attorneys tell them.

    It MAY be that the Al-Guardian story is correct. However, I have a hard time puzzling out why police officers would just execute some guy, for no reason whatsover. Given all the reporting I KNOW to be 100% wrong even on basic matters of fact (such as Al Guardian’s report on Iraqi electricity post-War or the Lancet study) color me very cautious.

    This tragic incident seems more like the Diallo shooting, tragic but certainly not deliberate. In that notorious incident the reporting was also very shoddy: there were 41 shots, but the man was hit only 14 times (indicating panicked response); anyone observing police firearms training would understand why (NYPD trained them to shoot when others shoot, respond physically to the sound of gunshots). In other words, a tragic panicked mistake by undertrained officers but not deliberate murder (which Al Guardian seems intent on stirring up for political reasons).

    What is the fallout for a murder prosecution? You will see London police back off and allow suicide bombings to occur. It’s that simple. After Diallo the NYPD did a “drive by and wave” effective policy, the infamous Puerto Rican Day parade where women were assaulted and cops did nothing (for fear of prosecution since the Latino toughs would raise the Diallo case and others) was the predictable result (see “Jack Dunphy’s NRO column on what is happening in LAPD).

    You can’t “command” the London Police to do things they don’t want. Prosecute for murder if it’s a tragic mistake (instead of punishing misconduct and retraining the whole force) and you’ll get a police force that will sit on it’s hand. Pay is the same if you go home safe or end up in prison for “murder.”

    London Police simply are not equipped, trained, and led to combat the violent crime that happens in London (lots of gun-related crime now that they are outlawed, predicitably) and certainly not able to deal with suicide bombings.

    Either put PC in the front, or deal maturely (punish misconduct, retrain) and take your choices: effective policing or PC.

  12. And, I am equally genuinely revolted by the dissembling apologists for non-state killers.

    Care to continue in that vein, Lee?

    But the better question is, who are the apologists for the state killers that you are revolted by? I don’t think anyone here who understands the facts, who isn’t revolted by what happened here. The poster in #2, when he said “He was challenged, he ran, and he stupidly ran toward a large population hub right after suicide bombers had attacked another.”, clearly was basing his assessment on an earlier set of accounts about the incident that are now clearly false.

    So, I don’t see any apologists for the state killers here. None. We are all appalled by what is apparantly the (to quote the title of the thread) “Stupid, Criminally Stupid Police” action that occurred. What I do see here is you, attempting to do what I would guess is a back handed attempt to show that ‘we are just as bad as they are’, or even that we are just as bad as you are. This makes you an apologist for non-state killers, and your accusation that we are attempting to justify the actions of this cop in a thread entitled “…Stupid, Criminally Stupid Police” is utterly false.

  13. Well, I guess it won’t be settled till the Washington Times Editorial Board confirms it.

    Of course then they’ll be the Al Moonie Times

    And so it goes…

  14. No doubt there are surveillance photos. Wait for them to come out. Getting your butt in a snitt over a Guardian article is the limit of flakiness. Chill out and let the evidence sort. You don’t have to have a strong opinion right now, unless you happen to be just another asshat.

  15. Bill, Scotland Yard has already claimed no surveillance video was available due to camera problems.

    Robin, perhaps if you read the first comment.

    “Remember that’s Al-Guardian reporting”

    But who is “us”?

  16. This is NOT a Guardian story. Documents from the internal police investigation were passed on to ITV News, which broke the story. Literally every British news outlet has a piece on this story.

  17. Please, not another guardian fantasy. You should have outgrown that nonsense by the time you were seven years old. Sheeeesh.

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