The saga of the shooting of the innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes has taken a further twist with the leaking of certain findings from the independent inquiry into the affair. While it is clear that we must guard against drawing any conclusions, or even allowing ourselves to be unduly influenced, by documents deliberately selected and leaked into the public domain ahead of their full publication (the Guardian has an excellent leader on this point), it is difficult not to be surprised at the information that has come to light.
As I posted at the time, it became clear almost immediately that things were perhaps not quite as initially claimed; the full extent of this, however, is only now coming to the surface. The full report into the affair by the IPCC will certainly make interesting reading. Much of the information reported in the press at the time - which, if not actively affirmed by the Met (as the Head of the force has insisted), was certainly not expressly dispelled - may well prove to be false. Mr de Menezes may not, it transpires, have been wearing a "bulky jacket" at all; nor did he vault a barrier when challenged to stop - in fact, it seems he may not have been challenged at all, walking calmly and legally through the barrier, and only beginning to run when he heard his train approaching. Even more curiously, it seems that one of the soldiers watching the block of flats identified him as an ethnic white male - when all officers involved knew that the suspect they were looking for was not. The Guardian has some interesting pieces on the new developments here, here and here, and a transcript of an interview with the Metropolitan Police Chief here.
Again, there is no point in demanding a full independent inquiry, and then judging before it makes public its findings. However, things certainly do not look good; worse, perhaps, even than many deared to begin with. One irony may be, given what has been splashed on the front pages of the tabloid newspapers recently, is that the prevalence opf CCTV cameras may well (in a way, contrary to Lorenzo's fears) actually work against the law enforcement agencies - making it difficult for any "cover up" to get off the ground, and ensuring that un- and half- truths are brought to light. Of course, it is a relatively small step from having CCTV to suppressing the images it records, but, in this case at least, we may have grounds for being grateful that they were there.
In any event, we can but applaud the steps taken by the UK since the event, in particular in ensuring that an independent inquiry would be held. We can only hope that the correct actions continue to be taken after the full report is published, whatever they may prove to be.