SHOOT-TO-KILL POLICY STAYS And more innocents may die says Commissionair Blair

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Palestinian homes in Al Zutan destroyed by the Israeli army
Palestinian homes in Al Zutan destroyed by the Israeli army

‘I feel unsafe,’ Alex Alves Pereira, the cousin of the unarmed Brazilian, Jean Charles de Menezes, killed by the Met police, told News Line at Stockwell Tube yesterday.

‘Anyone can be killed. They should make this station into a safe place and not kill people,’ he added.

However, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair, speaking to the media yesterday, stated that the shoot-to-kill policy will continue, while conceding that other innocent people could be shot to death by the police.

At Stockwell, Alex was asked what he thought of five bullets being shot into his cousin’s head. He replied: ‘The police were stupid.

‘It was not necessary.

‘There is another way they could have stopped him.

‘They were trailing him, but decided to allow him to get here to Stockwell because it was the right place for them to show off!

‘Apologies are not enough.

‘I believe my cousin’s death was the result of police incompetence.’

He said his cousin was a ‘person full of life’ who had been ‘a victim of the government’s mistakes’.

Friends, family and supporters held a vigil for Jean Charles de Menezes outside Stockwell Underground station with a banner saying ‘Stop the Killing’ draped next to a smiling newspaper picture of the young Brazilian, under which flowers were placed.

The local Latin American community has been shocked by last Friday’s police shooting.

Maria Arbelaez, 52, told News Line at the vigil: ‘I’m Colombian.

‘I live fifty yards from Stockwell station.

‘Before this incident I was very proud about the police, but not now.

‘I have a son, thirty years old and he could be involved in the same terrible situation.

‘I never before saw that kind of police attitude.

‘I think the police are very scared.

‘Why didn’t they stop him before?

‘They followed him from the flat. Why didn’t they stop him before they killed him?

‘To kill him the way they did is unbelievable.

‘I feel very unsafe, because I could be running for a lot of different reasons and be shot, or my son.

‘I think the police also discriminate against Latin or Asian faces.

‘It was a terrible mistake.’

Iranian Farahd Sharif told News Line: ‘I came along because of what happened.

‘It is not right, they are wrong to shoot the public.

‘The police that shot the man were undercover; that’s the reason he ran away. It could have been anyone with a gun.

‘I was stopped by police yesterday as I came home from the mosque. I was waiting to cross the road and they asked me why I was standing in the street.’

Aqil, a Palestinian, said: ‘I’ve lived in this area for a long time. I feel we have to come to show our feelings.

‘We also have a message for the police and government – we need to know all the facts and evidence about the London bombings, and shoot-to-kill is not the right policy.

‘The police have better ways to stop a suspect than shooting to kill.

‘The Brazilian was no danger to the public.

‘This looked like Palestine where so many innocent people are killed by Israeli soldiers, including three British citizens, Ian Hook, James Miller and Tom Hurndall.

‘We feel as Muslims, at the beginning of these bombings there was a war launched in the media against Muslims and Islam, under the cover that these people were Pakistani Muslims.’

Commissioner Blair gave his apologies to the dead man’s family yesterday afternoon.

Speaking to the media earlier he said: ‘It wasn’t just a random event.’

He added: ‘Somebody else could be shot. Everything is done to make it right but this is a terrifying set of circumstances for individuals to make decisions in.’

He said the policy had been ‘reviewed and reviewed, but this is not a Metropolitan Police policy, it’s a national policy and we are quite comfortable the policy is right.’

He stressed: ‘The only way to deal with this is to shoot to the head.’

BAGHDAD TRUCK BOMB

A TRUCK bomb targeting a Baghdad police station has killed at least 40 people and wounded 30.

The blast in the Mashtal area of eastern Baghdad killed and wounded police officers and civilians, a police source said.

Fighters have stepped up bombings in the past 10 days as part of a campaign to topple the US-backed Iraqi government.

Meanwhile, members of former prime minister Iyad Allawi’s bloc have threatened to walk out of the constitutional drafting committee in support of a Sunni group that had boycotted the process.

Committee member Adnan al-Janabi, who is also part of secular leader Allawi’s eight-member bloc, criticised the way the commission had dealt with the Sunni members’ decision to suspend their participation in drafting the new charter.

The committee is dominated by Kurds and religious Shia parties.

Al-Janabi, who is also a spokesman for Allawi’s group, said the bloc’s continued participation remains in question.

‘Our continuation in the committee drafting the constitution has become dependent on getting clarifications to what we have asked earlier,’ al-Janabi said.