IPCC finds no case in de Menezes killing
At least 11 of the police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes will not face disciplinary hearings, the Independent Police Complaints Committee (IPCC) said today.
Four senior officers, including commander Cressida Dick, could still face a disciplinary hearing, but a decision has been delayed pending a trial into an alleged breach of health and safety regulations.
IPCC chair Nick Hardwick concluded there was no reasonable chance of disciplinary charges being upheld against the officers involved in the fatal shooting at Stockwell Underground Station on July 22nd 2005.
Mr de Menezes had been mistaken for a terrorist suspect in the aftermath of the July 7th London bombing.
Mr Hardwick said he was “struck by the challenges” facing the police after July 7th, but noted this must be set alongside the fate of Mr de Menezes.
“He was shot in the head seven times by MPS officers on his way to work. He was entirely innocent. I cannot see anything he could or could not have consciously done differently that would have allowed him to escape,” he observed.
Mr Hardwick had been asked to consider the actions of 11 front-line firearms and surveillance officers between the time Mr de Menezes left his south London flat and the shooting, as well as the actions of the officers following the incident.
He recommended one officer receives “management advice” in relation to their action after the incident. But, on the basis of evidence received, Mr Hardwick concluded there was “no realistic prospect of disciplinary charges being upheld against any of the firearms or surveillance officers involved”.
The IPCC was also asked to investigate the planning and preparation that led to the shooting.
A decision on whether four senior officers will face disciplinary hearings has been delayed, pending a trial into alleged offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act, which begins in October.
Mr Hardwick “stressed the fact” he was not ready to make a decision about the four commanding officers.
“However, I am conscious that the CPS has concluded that the organisational failings were so serious as to warrant charges under the Health and Safety Act.
“The CPS charges do not preclude individual failures in the planning, preparation and command of the incident amounting to misconduct.
“At this stage therefore, I think it is premature for me to consider the issues arising from the planning, preparation or control of the incident.”
The Metropolitan police welcomed the announcement. However, it expressed disappointment that four officers still face the prospect of a disciplinary hearing.
Liberty said it was “bitterly disappointed” a decision on the four remaining officers has been delayed.
Director Shami Chakramarti said: “The public is still none the wiser as to the adequacy of police guidance on lethal force. The Menezes tragedy happened nearly two years ago. Have the public, police or victim’s family been well-served by such inordinate delay at the IPCC?”
The de Menezes family said it was “gravely disappointed” at today’s decision. They believe there are grounds for gross negligence manslaughter charges to be brought against the four senior officers.
The Met commissioner Sir Ian Blair initially attempted to block any IPCC investigation into the shooting.