October 16, 2007

Shooting and crying? Not just an Israeli pastime

If you google "shooting and crying" 2,280 sites are found and the first ten are in the context of Israelis doing the shooting and crying. Actually, out of the first ten a handful direct you to an article by Meron Benvenisti which is well worth a read. But I'm digressing before I've begun. This shooting and crying story is about the officer in charge of the team that shot and killed Jean Charles de Menezes. See this from Yahoo news:
The officer in charge of the police firearms unit which gunned down innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes broke down in tears as he defended his team in court.

The officer, codenamed Ralph, told the Old Bailey that despite what happened he was "very proud" of his men.

Ralph said police had been prepared to risk their lives pursuing the man they believed was a suicide bomber into the Underground.

He was giving evidence at the trial of the Metropolitan Police, which is accused of a "catastrophic" series of errors leading up to the death of Mr de Menezes. The force denies a single charge under health and safety laws.

Mr de Menezes, who was 27, was followed to Stockwell Tube station from flats linked to attempted bomber Hussain Osman, on July 22, 2005. He was shot seven times in the head.

Ralph was the leader of the team of elite CO19 firearms officers who pursued him into the station after giving a "state red" alert to stop him.

He told the court: "The only people running down stairs to confront the man that they believed to be Hussain Osman, a known suicide bomber, were police officers from CO19 and surveillance officers as well, while everyone else was running out.

"We were going forward to deal with this in order to protect the public, even though this man could have had a device on him."

Ronald Thwaites QC, defending, read from a statement made by Ralph, in which he pointed out that police officers at the time believed they were risking their lives to protect the public.

The statement ended: "I hope that's not forgotten."

When Mr Thwaites asked him how he felt about being a prosecution witness, the officer, who was giving evidence behind a screen, choked with emotion and was passed a box of tissues by the court usher.

Trial judge Mr Justice Henriques said: "I think the response speaks for itself."

Ralph said: "Despite the outcome, I was very proud of them."
Very proud of them? What's all that about?

But stay with the article. That Menezes geezer got what was coming. Why? See this:
The court later heard that traces of cocaine were found in Mr de Menezes after he was shot dead.

Pathologist Dr Kenneth Shorrock told the Old Bailey that tests showed he must have taken the drug.

The court heard that a toxicology test following his death showed a blood test for cocaine was "below detectable levels" but his urine tested positive.

Ronald Thwaites QC, defending, asked Dr Shorrock: "Does that indicate that he had relatively recently consumer cocaine?"

Dr Shorrock replied: "I can't speak with any expertise about when he would have consumed it, but that plus the presence of benzoylecognine, a breakdown product of cocaine, indicates that he had used cocaine at some time."
A consumer of class A drugs, huh? And all they did was shoot him seven times in the head. No wonder the country's in a state.

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