LONDON (AFP) -Police in London were under pressure after leaked documents revealed that a Brazilian killed on suspicion of being a suicide bomber was not trying to evade police and was already being restrained when he was shot at point-blank range.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is investigating the police killing of Jean Charles de Menezes, refused to confirm or deny the new information — broadcast by ITV News on Tuesday — which contradicted earlier police claims and witness statements.
Police shot the electrician, 27, at point-blank range after he boarded a subway train on July 22, one day after four suspected would-be bombers tried but failed to repeat the July 7 blasts that killed 56 people.
Initial reports said de Menezes had been acting suspiciously — wearing a bulky jacket, jumping a ticket barrier at Stockwell Underground station, south London, and sprinting onto the train.
But witness accounts and photographs leaked to ITV painted a different picture, showing the man in a light denim jacket walking calmly into Stockwell station in south London.
They also revealed that de Menezes — whose death brought to light a secret Metropolitan Police "shoot to kill" policy in dealing with suspected suicide bombers — was restrained by an officer before being shot eight times.
In addition, a police officer outside his flat said he failed to videotape de Menezes when the Brazilian left home as he had been on a toilet break.
Relatives and campaigners demanded a public inquiry.
"My family deserve the full truth about his murder. The truth cannot be hidden any longer. It has to be made public," said de Menezes”s cousin Allessandro Pereira.
The Justice4Jean Family campaign said the public had been misled. "We must ensure that the full lessons of this death are learnt by the authorities so that no other innocent Londoner suffers a similar fate," it said.
"There”s obviously some level of incompetence here or some serious breakdown in communications with the various officers involved in surveillance," Harriet Wistrich, lawyer for the de Menezes family, told Channel Four News.
The ITV report indicated the operation was flawed from the start as police monitored de Menezes” block of flats in Tulse Hill, south London, where they believed two suspects in the July 21 attacks were living.
The undercover officer who was supposed to identify anyone leaving the building admitted he had been away from his post when the Brazilian left, "relieving myself".
"At this time I was not able to transmit my observations and switch on the video camera at the same time. There is therefore no video footage of this male," he was quotes as saying.
Closed-circuit TV at Stockwell station captured the electrician arriving at a normal walking pace, even collecting a free newspaper, then slowly descending to his train on an escalator, according to ITV News.
Contrary to witness accounts on the day, de Menezes was seen to board the train through the middle doors before pausing, looking left and right, then sitting down in either the second or third seat facing the platform.
Moments later, police burst in and apparently restrained the Brazilian before pumping seven bullets into his head and one into his shoulder. Three more bullets missed him and the casings were left lying on the floor.
A member of the police surveillance team was quoted as saying: "I heard shouting, which included the word ”police”, and turned to face the male in the denim jacket.
"He immediately stood up and advanced towards me and the SO19 (armed) officers … I grabbed the male in the denim jacket by wrapping both my arms around his torso, pinning his arms to his side.
"I then pushed him back on to the seat where he had been previously sitting … I then heard a gunshot very close to my left ear and was dragged away onto the floor of the carriage."