Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Join Police, Kill Strange Looking People, See the World!

Isn’t it great?

After slaying an innocent Brazilian with 8 shots in the poor bloke's head, the police officer was congratulated by Home Secretary Charles Clarke. Now he and his family get a free holiday, fully paid for by the Metropolitan Police, as authorised by the police commissioner.

Another officer involved has also gone on such a free family holiday. Truly congratulations du Charles Clarke are in order.

The old joke on US military recruiting was the unofficial ad saying “Join the Armed Services to see the world and kill strange looking people”, but the British police could have “Join the police to kill strange looking people and get a free family holiday to see the world.”

Now it seems that the ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy has been BACKDATED to 6 months after the 9/11 incident, when only a week ago, before the 8-shot execution, such a policy was strenuously denied by the police.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has begun (minus of course a couple of key police officers including the one who pulled the trigger), but Amnesty International has asked for an inquiry that is prompt, thorough, independent and impartial and must comply with relevant international standards.

I think they remembered the world famous British Hutton Inquiry whitewash.


  1. Arguably, if you put yourself in the shoes of the police officer who discharged the bullets, it is a more traumatic experience that one can imagine. Acting upon intelligence which he believed to be true, he took the life of another human being, only to discover that the life was innocent. Can you imagine the guilt he is facing every second?

    Also imagine, had the victim been a real suicide bomber, said policeman would be applauded as a hero who saved the lives of potentially hundreds. One split second, between hero and zero.

    We are focusing on the 8 shots the officer made; I am still thinking of the need of eight shots to kill when one to the head would have sufficiently averted danger if not kill; but how many of those were out of panic and shock?

    The Met Police, I feel, is right in giving him a paid holiday, because he acted based on instructions and policy, which were flawed, and ended in tragedy. What needs to be done is a review of the policy, the intelligence and the overall panic incited by the bombings. The Inquiry is a good start, and I applaud Amnesty's push for a thorough, impartial and independent review.

    The police officer is a convenient scapegoat, but I personally feel the roots lie higher up the chain.

  2. Good points - you have preseneted the case for the "defence" rather well. Yes, I have been aware that the bloke and his family needs stress leave as well as a hideaway (from the press) after being aware of killing an innocent man - I was just being "nasty" in my sarcasm of the free holiday.

    But leave that aside - I disagree with you on a couple of points:

    (1) The usual argument "Also imagine, had the victim been a real suicide bomber ..." is merely an argumentative hypothesis that shouldn't even be raised to defend the killing of an innocent victim. He made a mistake, yes; he was impetuous, yes; but we cannot ever ever use an argument that asked to consider the victim as a terrorist ... blah blah ... because he was NOT. We cannot employ a hypothetical scenario to hide a true fact; we cannot use a what-if to mask the reality of an event that had already taken place, that of an innocent slaying.

    (2) Not every British police holds firearms, and when any does, he/she has been well trained, a professional entrusted with a deadly weapon. There cannot be any excuse for panic or shock. If those were the policeman's feelings, then such an emotionally unstable person shouldn't be entrusted with firearms. This raises the question of the Police due diligence, allowing such a person to hold firearms.

    Therefore the eight shots cannot be explained away, save by the policeman expressing great anger or hatred. The Inquiry should look into "conflict of interest" - was any of the policeman's family, relatives or close friends affected? What was his personal political preference?

    An additional point to investigate - What was the influence of Israeli training and their well-known overkill doctrine? Stuff like that.

    The question is why wasn't the victim stopped earlier if the police claimed they had shadowed him from his residence? Why was he allowed to go into a crowded Tube station where other innocent bystanders were in close congregation?

    I speculate (admittedly that only) that the police had gone after another person, probably the real suspect. But somehow they lost track of that person near or in the Tube, chanced upon the Brazilian who might have been dressed like the suspect, maybe even looked like him, and jumped on an innocent man a bit too eagerly. Speculation or not, it sounds more plausible than the story of shadowing the bloke from his residence to the Tube. Why shadowed someone who wasn't even a suspect?