Police chief Blair must resign says Maria Otone de Menezes


YESTERDAY, the parents of Jean Charles de Menezes retraced the final journey taken by their son, an entirely innocent man who was shot dead by anti-terrorism police with seven shots to the head and one to the shoulder, at Stockwell Tube station on July 22.

They demanded that there be punishment of the police officers involved in the murderous attack, and Maria Otone de Menezes demanded that the police chief, Sir Ian Blair resign.

Blair, for over 24 hours after the killing, defended the police action and spread misinformation about Jean, the clothing that he was wearing, and his conduct at Stockwell Tube station.

Blair also maintained that the police had no alternative but to kill the young Brazilian since, he said, this was the only way to deal with suspect suicide bombers, and he refused to give an assurance that such a mistake would never happen again.

Matuzinhos Otone Da Silva and Maria Otone de Menezes visited the 27-year-old’s flat in Tulse Hill, south London, before going to Stockwell Tube.

His mother, Maria said that Police chief Sir Ian Blair had ‘failed in his duty’ and ‘must resign’. She remarked: ‘They had time to identify who he was. . . Look what they’ve done to my son.’

Blair has told the BBC’s Hardtalk show that police should have scotched rumours that Jean Charles de Menezes was wearing a heavy jacket and had vaulted the barrier. However, he did not do so. In fact he helped spread the rumours.

Leaked documents from the ‘independent investigation’ into the killing show key differences between the original police version of events and what actually happened.

Ian Blair said that the shooting had been ‘directly linked to the ongoing and expanding anti-terrorist operation’. He had added that ‘As I understand the situation the man was challenged and refused to obey police instructions.’

However, CCTV footage showed Jean walking at normal pace into the station, picking up a copy of a free newspaper and passing normally through the barriers before descending the escalator to the platform and boarding a train.

Blair said his officers had tried to get Mr Menezes under control before shooting him. In fact, in one of the leaked documents, a statement from one of the police surveillance team, designated Hotel 3, describes hearing shouting – including the word ‘police’.

The statement says Menezes stood up and advanced towards the witness and armed police. He adds: ‘I grabbed the male in the denim jacket by wrapping both my arms around his torso, pinning his arms to his side.’

He said he pushed the man back into his seat. It was only after he had restrained him that he heard a gun shot. The documents say that a post-mortem examination showed Menezes had been shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder, after he had been restrained, with his arms pinned to his sides by a police officer.

This was a case of police murder, a shoot-to-kill operation by a capitalist state death squad, and then an attempt to pervert the course of justice by creating a fictitious ‘crime scene’.

Prime Minister Blair and many other government ministers have rushed to defend Police Chief Blair, the police death squad and the shoot-to-kill policy. No police officers will face trial for this murder, or the subsequent cover up operation.

Maria Otone de Menezes is right. Police Commissioner Blair must resign. In fact, his resignation must be the beginning of the breaking up of the whole repressive apparatus of the capitalist state, and mark the end of its murderous policies both at home and in countries such as Iraq. Then people will be able to live in peace everywhere.