25 August 2005

De Menezes Shooting!

What does this say about the police involved in the De Menezes shooting , other than they are complete and utter idiots?

The establishment and right wing like to poo poo stories of corruption in the police, but their handling of this shooting demonstrates not just corruption but stupidity as well. This just confirms the stereotype of the average policeman as not being too bright! If they had not tried a cover-up, (and by Ian Blair's actions, it is corruption top to bottom), then the shooting could have been excused as a cock-up under extreme pressure, but with their stupidity they have raised the stakes.

I'm actually more concerned about the implications of the cover-up than I ever was about the shooting itself. The shooting in a way was excusable in the panicky aftermath of the London bombings. What is not excusable is destroying CCTV evidence and deliberately putting out (or at least not contradicting) misleading information about what happened.

It is clear to anyone that the police have panicked and have closed ranks to protect the officer involved in this terrible mistake. Yes, I do believe it was a mistake, I think the officer who shot De Menezes did so thinking he was connected to the bombings, although he surely must have known he was not about to explode a bomb considering what De Menezes was wearing. Although it was a mistake, I don't think by any stretch of the imagination you could call it an 'accident' as the BBC have called it.

What this whole sorry episode does tell us about the police is their 'above the law' attitude is still alive and well. What do we expect from a force that does not in any way reflect the community it serves in terms of diversity and has no-one overseeing its activities. This is the crux of the solution for me. Sort out the diversity of the police and have 'real' independent investigation of corruption and negligence, then we can stop the police killing people because of incompetence and arresting people because of prejudice!

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