The Scotland Yard men who shot dead Jean Charles de Menezes did not identify themselves as police officers before opening fire, according to three witnesses who saw the Brazilian electrician being killed. The evidence, given by passengers who were in the same train car as Mr. de Menezes when he was shot in July 2005, contradicts statements made by the Metropolitan Police.
Both of the armed officers who shot de Menezes have told the inquest they shouted “armed police” before firing. This claim has also been corroborated by other officers who were on the train on the day de Menezes was killed. But three witnesses have said there was no such alert. Their testimonies appear to lend weight to the accusation levelled by Michael Mansfield QC representing de Menezes’ family that the Metropolitan Police officers had “embellished, exaggerated, and lied.”
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The resignation of Britain’s top policeman has stunned the family of an innocent man shot dead by police officers who mistook him for an Islamic terrorist: Although the controversy surrounding Sir Ian Blair – who quit as commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in London at the end of last week – remained focused yesterday on claims of political interference, there have long been doubts that he could have survived in his job after an inquest into the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes. The inquest into the death of the 27-year-old Brazilian, who was working in London as an electrician when he was shot eight times as he sat on a tube train after being mistakenly identified as a suicide bomber, began just over a fortnight ago and is expected to end in the next three to four weeks. Immediately after the July 22, 2005 shooting, which occurred two weeks after four young Muslim extremists had detonated suicide bombs on London’s transport system killing 52 commuters, Mr Blair said during a press conference that Menezes was “directly linked” to a second group that had tried, but failed, to cause other explosions on buses the day before. In fact, as The Times, of London, pointed out last week, “everyone in Scotland Yard seemed to know that they had shot the wrong man – everyone, that is, except the man at the top”. David Sapsted reports.
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A film prompted by the 7 July bombings is to be premiered in London on the third anniversary of the terrorist attacks. Shoot On Sight, with a cast including Brian Cox and Greta Scacchi, is a fictionalised account of the killing of an innocent young Muslim man by the Metropolitan police in the wake of the outrage. The real incident killed 52 people as well as the four bombers. Innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead by police in a later incident. Some of the families of those killed today expressed shock at the ” insensitive” timing of the premiere and said they knew nothing of what is the first movie based on the attacks. Jag Mundhra, the Indian Hindu director who was living in London at the time, said the aim of the film was not to offend. The story is told from the perspective of a Muslim police officer – played by Naseeruddin Shah – with a white wife and children who are well integrated into British society until “something happens and there is this ripple effect in communities that were otherwise co-existing”. It stemmed from Mundhra’s personal experience of the consequences of the 7 July attacks. “I couldn’t stop a taxi after the bombings because of the way I looked,” he said. “Then I started noticing that on television suddenly Scotland Yard was represented by a Muslim police officer [Tarique Ghaffur]. I knew it was because the way they wanted to tell the Muslim community ‘look, we have a Muslim police officer’. “Then I could see that if I sat on an Underground train everyone looked at you and moved away. I could feel the fear.” The aim of the film was to address these issues. “I wanted to see the point of view of a shooter who had to pull the trigger and shot the wrong guy. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Louise Jury, in Cannes, and Lucy Hanbury report.