Thursday, November 1, 2007
London’s Metropolitan police force has been found guilty of endangering the public during an anti-terrorism operation that lead to the death of an innocent Brazilian man in July of 2005.
The British jury at Old Bailey convicted the police force of violating the Health & Safety legislation because the operation was deemed an excessive threat to the public. They also stressed that no individual culpability should be placed on Cressida Dick, the officer in charge of the operation. The police force was fined £175,000 and ordered to pay £385,000 for legal expenses.
“This was very much an isolated breach brought about by quite extraordinary circumstances,” said Justice Henriques. “One person died and many others were placed in potential danger.”
Sir Ian Blair, the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, was at Old Bailey to hear the verdict. He said he plans to “continue leading the Metropolitan police.” Len Duvall, chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority, said it “fully supported” Blair. A spokesperson for Gordon Brown said that Blair continues to have the confidence of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
However, Asad Rehman, a spokesperson for the victim’s family, called for Blair’s resignation. “Whilst it was a difficult day, that does not mean that procedure and the Metropolitan Police did not fail,” he said.
Electrician Jean Charles de Menezes died in the Stockwell Tube Station after being shot in the head by police officers seven times. They mistook him for another man, Hamdi Adus Isaac (aka Osman Hussain), who failed in the July 21, 2005 attack on the London underground one day before.