The Heald Sun and Weekly Times – 2005-10-09 09:52:46
LONDON (October 8, 2005) — A senior British police officer has been told she could be charged with manslaughter over the killing of an innocent Brazilian man who police shot after mistaking him for a suicide bomber.
Commander Cressida Dick, who oversaw the operation in which Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead at a south London Tube station on July 22, had been told a police commission inquiry believed there was enough evidence to charge her, the Daily Mail newspaper said overnight.
Citing unnamed legal sources, the paper said the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which is investigating the incident, found sufficient evidence to charge Dick.
Commander Dick, 44, has previously been seen as a rising star in London’s Metropolitan Police and had been tipped to one day become its first female chief.
According to the Daily Mail‘s edition today, prosecutors will bring charges against Commander Dick and possibly other senior officers if there is proof of a “direct link” between their actions and the death of De Menezes.
The 27-year-old Brazilian electrician was shot seven times in the head at the subway station by anti-terrorism police.
The city was on high alert at the time, just a day after an apparent failed attempt to repeat the carnage of bombings on July 7, in which 56 people died in four blasts on subway trains and a bus.
According to the newspaper, it was Commander Dick who personally sanctioned the implementation of a so-called shoot-to-kill policy for police facing those they feared were would-be suicide bombers.
The IPCC, which investigates all fatal shootings involving British police, is interviewing more than 20 police, including the two officers who opened fire on De Menezes, as part of their investigation, the report said.
London’s police chief, Commissioner Ian Blair, has faced criticism for apparently seeking to keep the IPCC out of any investigation into the incident.
Commissioner Blair – who has admitted he might have to resign if condemned by investigators – has also faced pressure to explain why De Menezes was initially described as a definite terrorism suspect after he was shot.
The Brazilian’s family, who last month travelled to London to meet IPCC investigators and visit the station where he died, have called for the police involved to be prosecuted.
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