BBC: London's Metropolitan police force has been found guilty of endangering the public over the fatal shooting of a man officers mistook for a suicide bomber. As expected, the media is teaming with viewpoint and comment, good and bad about today's verdict. The court found the force guilty of breaking health and safety laws when officers pursued Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes and shot him seven times. It was fined £175,000 with £385,000 costs over the 22 July 2005 shooting. Reaction to the verdict by various prominent individuals was divided over the implications for the force. Public opinion in the BBC Have Your Say forum was also divided.
The BBC (like other media sources), have produced their own 'in depth' Death of Jean Charles de Menezes assessment of what happened and why (in their opinion). One of those respondents in the BBC forum said; "It's all very well to pontificate in hindsight--rather different to have to make decisions" and that is one of the major factors in this tragic episode.
Does anyone ever stop to consider the feelings and emotions of those police officers who pulled the triggers. Imagine for one moment being in that position yourself, a split second between his (JCDM) death and yours, not to mention countless others. Damned if you do and damned if you don't, knowing that whatever you do your whole life will be ripped apart for months or years after, whilst every official (and often none official) enquiry takes place. Considered to be guilty in the public eye until proven innocent, unlike the basic rights of every other member of society.
Thankfully the court has found that non of those officers physically involved acted incorrectly, despite poor briefings and the failings of their commanders! No doubt these will be aired again in the forthcoming IPCC report however, now the dust of the media circus and public opinion is starting to settle, the most important thing is to make sure the lessons are learnt and failures are not repeated.