8/21/2005

The Observer : Police knew Brazilian was 'not bomb risk'

A police source said: 'There is no way those three guys would have been on the train carriage with him [de Menezes] if they believed he was carrying a bomb... It was only when they were joined by armed officers that his threat was deemed so great that he was shot seven times... In an interview .. [police chief Ian] Blair said that an officer came to him the day after the shooting and said the equivalent of 'Houston, we have a problem'.

Police knew Brazilian was 'not bomb risk'

Met chief was told of 'difficulty' over fatal shooting · Police offer to pay de Menezes family £15,000

Police officers from the team involved in the fatal shooting of Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes did not believe he posed 'an immediate threat'.

Senior sources in the Metropolitan Police have told The Observer that members of the surveillance team who followed de Menezes into Stockwell underground station in London felt that he was not about to detonate a bomb, was not armed and was not acting suspiciously. It was only when they were joined by armed officers that his threat was deemed so great that he was shot seven times.

Sources said that the surveillance officers wanted to detain de Menezes, but were told to hand over the operation to the firearms team.

The two teams have fallen out over the circumstances surrounding the incident, raising fresh questions about how the operation was handled.

A police source said: 'There is no way those three guys would have been on the train carriage with him [de Menezes] if they believed he was carrying a bomb. Nothing he did gave the surveillance team the impression that he was carrying a device.'

Last night, Metropolitan Police chief Sir Ian Blair admitted he was told that shooting created 'a difficulty'.

In an interview with the News of the World, Blair said that an officer came to him the day after the shooting and said the equivalent of 'Houston, we have a problem'.

'He didn't use those words but he said "We have some difficulty here, there is a lack of connection". 'I thought "That's dreadful, what are we going to do about that?".'

The Observer can also reveal that the de Menezes family was offered £15,000 after the shooting. The ex gratia payment, which does not affect legal action by the family or compensation, is a fraction of the $1 million (£560,000) reported to have been offered the family. Police yesterday denied they had made the offer, which the family has described as 'offensive'.

The Observer | UK News | Police knew Brazilian was 'not bomb risk'

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