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Menezes officer shot man in Kent

Thursday, November 2, 2006

A firearms officer involved in the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes shot a 42-year-old man during a police operation in Kent.
The man died later in hospital after the incident at a Nationwide building society in New Romney on Tuesday.

Scotland Yard's CO19 firearms unit were supporting Flying Squad officers as they tackled a suspected armed robbery.

Mr de Menezes was shot dead after police mistook him for a suicide bomber at Stockwell Tube station in July 2005.

The BBC's home and legal affairs correspondent, Margaret Gilmore, said: "Sources have told me one of two officers who shot dead the innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell last year also shot and injured a man during this operation."

The police officer involved had been taken off firearms work after the Stockwell shooting but returned to armed duty after the Crown Prosecution Service decided he would not be prosecuted.

Scotland Yard confirmed a police officer involved in the New Romney incident had been relieved of firearms duties, pending an inquiry.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has also begun an investigation into the shooting.

The family of Jean Charles de Menezes expressed "shock and disbelief" that officers involved in the Stockwell shooting "had been handed back their guns as if nothing has happened".

A statement said: "Sir Ian Blair [Metropolitan Police Commissioner] might have hoped he could sweep Jean's death under the carpet but when the same mistakes keep being made, he has to be held responsible."

The dead man, who has not been named, was injured at about 2000 GMT and died later at the William Harvey Hospital, in Ashford.

Three men were arrested and a sawn-off shotgun was recovered during the operation but no officers were injured.

The Metropolitan Police said in a statement: "The Specialist Firearms team (CO19) involved in the Flying Squad operation in Kent did include officers from the same team who were involved in the Stockwell shooting in July last year.

Firearm recovered

"The Met has a small cadre of specialist highly-trained firearms officers who last year were deployed to 2,529 incidents and were involved in 938 pre-planned operations.

"They perform an extremely difficult but vital function responding to armed threats against the public and their unarmed colleagues and it is extremely rare for officers to fire their guns.

"As is proper the IPCC is conducting an independent investigation into the shooting. Their enquiries are ongoing but they have confirmed that a firearm was recovered at the scene.

"It is deeply regrettable when anyone dies as a result of police action."

The Metropolitan Police Service faces a trial under health and safety laws following the shooting of Mr de Menezes.

His family have also launched a legal action challenging a decision not to charge individual officers over his death.


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