8.18.2005

London Tube Shooting


Gosh, it's like contraversial news week here isn't it?

According to reports of leaked documents on the London tube shooting of the Brazilian electrician Jean Charles De Menezes, he wasn't acting suspiciously at all, wasn't wearing a bulky winter coat, wasn't jumping turnstiles and running from the cops. Instead, he was just riding on the train when the police grabbed and shot him. They even have a photo of De Menezes lying on the floor in a denim jacket.

My question is this: where did all the false information that we've been hearing come from? We heard that he was wearing a bulky winter coat (that was out of place in summertime) and the police challenged him, he ran through the station, jumped the turnstiles, got on the train and was shot.

This is a very sad turn of events and, if true, the officer who shot him should face a strict punishment. Not necessarily because he shot the wrong guy -he could have been acting on orders so the person giving the orders should have to answer for them- but because the shooting itself was reckless and unprofessional.

Here is what a member of the surveillance team is quoted as saying:

"I heard shouting which included the word `police' and turned to face the male in the denim jacket. He immediately stood up and advanced towards me and the CO19 officers. I grabbed the male in the denim jacket by wrapping both my arms around his torso, pinning his arms to his side. I then pushed him back on to the seat where he had been previously sitting. I then heard a gun shot very close to my left ear and was dragged away onto the floor of the carriage."

De Menezes was shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder. Three other bullets were fired but missed. This was all from a distance of only a few feet.

Assuming they thought he was a bomber, a shot to the head from a few feet away should suffice, especially if another member of your team is practically on top of the guy. But in this case, the shooter fired eleven shots, hitting him with only 9. The other three ended up God knows where in that crowded subway car. It's a lucky thing no one else was hit.

This officer hit a target with only 73% of his rounds from maybe a yard away in the middle of a crowded subway car. Anything under 70% is a failing grade in almost anything, but in shooting, a passing grade is usually around 95%. It's bad enough that an innocent man was shot in such a brutal way, but the shooter also put other people's lives in danger.

I assume that he was operating out of fear rather than training and kept pulling the trigger until he realized there was nothing left of De Menezes to aim at.



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