08-02-2007, 01:10 PM
Direct Action Resistance Fighter
Joined: Aug 2006
Anti-terror chief 'misled' public
Quote:There were "serious weaknesses" in the Metropolitan Police's handling of information after the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, a report has found.
Assistant Commissioner Andy Hayman "misled" the public, the Independent Police Complaints Commission ruled.
The IPCC has examined statements issued by police after the 27-year-old was mistakenly shot dead by officers at Stockwell Tube station on 22 July 2005.
A complaint against Met Commissioner Sir Ian Blair was not substantiated.
Mr Hayman - the UK's most senior counter terrorist-officer - was accused of failing to tell the commissioner at the first opportunity of his suspicions that an innocent man had been killed.
His actions "led to inaccurate or misleading information being released by the Metropolitan Police", the IPCC found.
IPCC Commissioner Naseem Malik told a news conference information had been withheld from Sir Ian.
She said: "What the commissioner could, and should, have been told was the emergence of evidence throughout the day that pointed increasingly strongly to a terrible mistake having been made."
The Metropolitan Police apologised for "errors in both internal and external communication" in a statement.
It said it could not comment on the findings relating to Mr Hayman, but added that its approach to information-handling has changed since 2005.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, before the IPCC report's publication, London Mayor Ken Livingstone dismissed "the idea this is some sort of catastrophic error of judgement on the part of an officer who I have tremendous respect for".
Mr Hayman's "counter-terrorism activity has saved dozens of lives in this city", he added.
Mr Menezes was mistaken for a suicide bomber in the wake of the 7 July London bombings and failed 21 July attacks.
On 22 July 2005, a surveillance team had been monitoring a block of flats in Tulse Hill, south London, where Mr Menezes lived.
They believed a man wanted in connection with the previous day's attempted suicide bombings in London lived there.
When Mr Menezes emerged from the flats, he was wrongly identified as the suspect and was followed to Stockwell, where he was shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder as he boarded a Tube train.
After the IPCC's Stockwell One report into the events surrounding the shooting, the Crown Prosecution Service decided last year that no individual would be prosecuted in connection with the case.
However, the Metropolitan Police is facing trial under health and safety legislation in October. Its Stockwell Two report relates to the complaints of inaccurate information given to the public.
The report has gone into minute detail about who knew what and when in the hours following the fatal shooting.
The two-year investigation looked into claims that senior police officers were aware an innocent man had been killed earlier than was announced.
It also examined whether they failed to correct wrong information suggesting Mr Menezes acted suspiciously before his death.
The dead man's family have complained that inaccurate information was given to the public by officers including Commissioner Sir Ian Blair.
They have also complained that police had not corrected early reports suggesting Mr Menezes had vaulted ticket barriers and had been wearing a bulky jacket.
The Justice4Jean group said misinformation about Mr Menezes' actions on the day had "added insult to injury".
Spokeswoman Yasmin Khan told BBC News: "Many people still think, 'Oh well, he was wearing a bulky jacket, he jumped the barrier, the police tried to stop him and he refused'.
"And the real question for the family is why the police allowed that information to circulate when they knew it wasn't true."
It has also emerged the IPCC had made "minor changes" to the report after a legal challenge by officers who were criticised in it.
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