LONDON, (Reuters) – Eleven British police officers involved in the fatal shooting of an innocent Brazilian in the mistaken belief he was a suicide bomber will not face disciplinary action, a police watchdog said on Friday.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said the officers would not face a police tribunal over the July 22, 2005 killing of Jean Charles de Menezes.
Police officers, believing the 27-year-old electrician to be a suicide bomber, shot him seven times in the head after he boarded a London underground train.
The shooting came amid high tension in the capital over the threat of suicide attacks. Just 15 days earlier, four British Islamists had blown themselves up on underground trains and a bus, killing 52 people and wounding hundreds.
Last July, state prosecutors said no police officer would face criminal charges over the shooting.
The IPCC said it had not made any decision on disciplinary action against the four commanders and tactical advisors involved in the botched operation.
It was reserving that decision until after a court case due to start in October in which London’s Metropolitan Police faces a corporate prosecution under health and safety laws.
The De Menezes family said it was “gravely disappointed.”
IPCC Chairman Nick Hardwick said he had concluded there was “no realistic prospect of disciplinary charges being upheld against any of the firearms or surveillance officers involved.” He said he had reached the decision “on the basis of the evidence I have available to me now or any development that might reasonably be foreseen.” He said the fact he was not yet ready to reach a conclusion about the commanding officers “should not be assumed to give any indication of what my eventual decision will be.”
The De Menezes family said in a statement: “the family are again gravely disappointed that exculpatory decisions are being made about officers directly responsible for the killing of an innocent man before they have had access to the evidence …” “The family are given no relief to their agony, grief and anxiety caused by their lack of access to all the evidence …”
The Metropolitan Police have apologised for the killing.