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08.10.2008 Diaspora News

Senior Policewoman accused of giving "reckless" orders in Brazilian death

By Press Association
Senior Policewoman accused of giving
A senior policewoman was accused of giving "reckless" orders as events spiralled out of her control and ended in Jean Charles de Menezes being shot.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick told the inquest into the Brazilian electrician's death the ongoing terror threat meant police could kill another innocent person in the future. But she rejected suggestions she was "sprinting to catch up" on the day of his death because the operation she led had not been properly organised.
Emotions ran high at the inquest as the jury was shown a crude police sketch of a stickman representing where Mr de Menezes fell in a Tube carriage after being killed.
A handwritten caption below the drawing read: "Challenged, shot 9-10 head".
Several jurors left the court in tears after watching CCTV footage of the Brazilian as he descended into Stockwell Underground station, where he was confronted by police marksmen.

Ms Dick was in charge of the Scotland Yard control room overseeing the pursuit of the Brazilian electrician by surveillance and firearms officers who feared he was failed suicide bomber Hussain Osman.

Michael Mansfield QC, counsel for the Menezes family, grilled her for more than five hours on alleged Metropolitan Police failings on July 22 2005. The senior officer, who remained standing in the witness box throughout her evidence, was visibly uncomfortable at times but firmly stood her ground as she defended her decisions that day.

Mr Mansfield put it to her: "What happened on this day under your authority and responsibility was a chain of events that spiralled out of your control. Essentially from the beginning you were sprinting to catch up with something that had not been properly organised that morning." Ms Dick answered: "I follow it, I do not accept it."
The hearing continues

Commentary: We have to learn lessons from this unfortunate incident. We must realise that when a person is stopped by the police, they should try to co-operate with them. This was a case of mistaken identity by the Met Police. They refused to accept their shortcomings in the beginning. Some black people panic when they are stopped because of immigration issues. Hope this case will generate some positive results.