Jean Charles De Menezes

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This article is part of the Counter-Terrorism Portal project of Spinwatch.

Jean Charles De Menezes

Jean Charles De Menezes (born 1978) was a Brazilian man who was shot and killed by armed officers at Stockwell Tube station on 22 July 2005 after being mistaken as one of the four 21/7 suicide bombers.

He was shot 7 times in the head and once in the shoulder at point-blank range. Nobody has ever been held responsible for his death.[1]

The death and reporting of the tragedy of Menezes' shooting, argued his lawyers, was wrapped in a shroud of misinformation.[2]

His death was the first under the Operation Kratos strategy that was devised after the attacks of 9/11 and permitted "shoot-to-kill". After Menezes' death, the strategy was criticised but the Association of Chief Police Officers ruled in March 2006 it was fit for purpose and would therefore not be altered or amended. ACPO president, Sir Chris Fox in response to the ruling said he was "pleased" that the Operation Kratos strategy had been deemed "fit for purpose". [3]

The Inquest into his death led the jury to return an open verdict.

His killing also led to a high level of criticism due to the involvement of a controversial covert army unit - the Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR), [4] however, it was reported by the Guardian that this unit was only, allegedly, providing "technical support" for Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism officers and was not involved in the shooting of Menezes.[4]

Defence of Shooting

Sir Ian Blair, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, defended the shooting of Menezes by stating that if the police did not shoot him, they may have faced the risk of “certain death.”[5]

Ian Blair wrote to the Home Office permanent Secretary Sir John Gieve one day after Menezes was killed and stated that he sought to “maximise the legal protection for officers” who were exercising shoot-to-kill powers. He said the environment that faced officers meant they could not "risk the kind of containment and negotiation tactics” that would be normally expected of them. The only choice an officer may have may be to shoot-to-kill in order to prevent the detonation of a device."[6] He also stated that while officers had protection under Section 3 of the Criminal Law Act (reasonable use of force in the specific circumstance) he did “not seek" to "exempt" them from the investigation or prosecution if evidence against them existed. Nevertheless, he stated that he was “confident” that the prosecuting authorities would understand “the pressures under which the (CO19 Unit) operates in terrorist scenarios”.[6]

In response to the letter, Giovani da Silva - a lawyer acting for the De Menezes family stated that "these letters have shown Ian Blair has lied once again, not only to the family but to the public. Ian Blair has jumped the barrier of the law".[7]

Attempts to Prevent IPCC Inquiry

Sir Ian Blair, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service refused to reveal the tactics that were employed in the shooting of Menezes to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and tried to block an independent investigation being launched by the IPCC. He stated that even though:

"... there is much concern about revealing … the tactics [of the police] and [the information they are operating upon], I believe that, in a fast-moving, multi-site terrorist situation, in which suicide bombers are clearly a very strong possibility, a chief officer of police should be able to suspend S.17 of the Police Reform Act 2002, which requires us to supply all information that the Independent Police Complaints Commission may require … I have therefore given instructions that the shooting … is not to be referred to the IPCC and that they will be given no access to the scene at the present time. The investigation will be carried out by the Met's own Directorate of Professional Standards. This investigation will be rigorous but subordinate to the needs of the counter-terrorism operation." [6]

Menezes Restrained When Shot

According to secret documents that were leaked, when Menezes was shot he had already been overpowered by a surveillance officer who had followed him from his flat in Brixton.[8] In other words, Menezes was shot 8 times even though he had been restrained by a police officer.

According to the surveillance officers account that restrained him:

"I heard shouting which included the word 'police' and turned to face the [Menezes] in the denim jacket … [Menezes] immediately stood up and advanced towards me and the [armed officers] ... I grabbed [Menezes] 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 on to the floor of the carriage."[8]

Failure of Police to Identify Menezes

It was reported that Menezes had not been properly identified by police officers because the police officer responsible for monitoring the door to the apartment block in which Menezes (and one of the suspected 21/7 bombers lived) was "relieving himself at the very moment Menezes was leaving" the communal entrance to the flats. These claims were reinforced by another surveillance officer's witness statement given to the IPCC.[8]

Police Misinformation

Running & Jumping Barrier

After the shooting of Menezes, reports were given that Menezes had increased suspicion of himself because he had jumped the ticket barrier and fled from police.[9][10] Christopher Wells, a 29-year-old witness stated:

"I saw this man running into the station ... The man vaulted over the barriers and the police chasing him jumped the barriers as well. They were screaming at everyone to get out. The man was running very fast". [10]

Sir Ian Blair told a press conference:

"… as I understand the situation [Menezes] was challenged and refused to obey police instructions." [11]

Scotland Yard stated:

"the police warned [Menezes], [but he ran] on to the station platform". [11]

The Police stated:

Menezes ran into Stockwell station when he was challenged and was shot after dashing on to an underground train. [12]

A senior security source said:

"... This is a tragedy but it does not mean the police acted wrongly ... [they] repeated[ly] shouted ... to get him to stop [but] he dashed on to a tube." [9]

Sir Ian Blair stated:

A warning was shouted at Menezes to stop. [13]

According to The Times:

"When [police] drew their weapons and shouted "Stop, armed police" ... [Menezes] looked over his shoulder and bolted". [14]

In a phone call to Nick Hardwick, the Chair of the IPCC immediately after the shooting, Sir Ian Blair stated:

"we’ve now shot somebody, I think dead, who refused to respond to anything that we were asking him to do". [15]

Evidence given to the IPCC inquiry by police officers and eyewitness, along with leaked documents given to ITV news proved that these initial accounts were baseless. CCTV footage showed Menezes calmly entering Stockwell tube station, collecting a free newspaper and boarding a tube train.[8] All claims that Menezes ran-away from police and that he vaulted the ticket barrier toward the train were all false. The IPCC ruled:

"Mr de Menezes did not refuse to obey a challenge prior to being shot"[15]

Menezes Clothing

Jean Charles De Menezes dead body lies on the train at Stockwell tube station, clearly displaying his clothing

It was initially reported by Scotland Yard that "Menezes clothing and behaviour added to their suspicions".[11] It was alleged that Menezes was wearing a padded jacket on a warm day, which was for the purpose of concealing a bomb.

There was also the claim by Anthony Larkin, a passenger on the train where Menezes was shot, that Menezes was “wearing a bomb belt with wires coming out".[11]

An eyewitness told the press that Menezes was wearing "a baseball cap ... and quite a thickish coat. It was a coat like you would wear in winter, a sort of padded jacket. But it looked out of place in the weather we've been having."[16] According to other onlookers, Menezes was "wearing a heavy winter coat in warm weather"[9]

It eventually emerged that accounts of him wearing a padded jacket and wearing a belt with wires coming out were false. Menezes was in reality wearing light blue denim jeans and a light blue denim jacket, [17] which the IPCC stated "was not ... clothing that could be classed as suspicious".[15]

The IPCC stated that the accounts given by witnesses were "incorrect" and ruled the witnesses "had probably confused police officers with Mr de Menezes".[15]

Assistant Commissioner & Commissioner Investigated

Andy Hayman

On 22 July at 2:47pm, a wallet was found which indicated that the man who police shot was Jean Charles De Menezes. Just before a briefing before Crime Reporters, an MPS press officer informed Andy Hayman that: "the deceased was not believed to be one of the four … bombers." Andy Hayman made a call to somebody and on his return briefed the CRA as planned. [15] In this briefing, Andy Hayman informed Crime Reporters that the deceased was ‘not’ one of the four individuals being sought in connection with the 21/7 attacks.

Whilst being interviewed by the IPCC - "AC Hayman could recall none of the detail of his briefing [that was given to the CRA]". His legal team suggested that "he must have briefed [the CRA] … to the effect that the deceased was not believed to be one of the four". [15] In other words, Andy Hayman was aware by 2:37pm that the man that had been shot and killed was innocent and proceeded to brief crime reporters that Menezes (who was unnamed at this stage) was unconnected to the 21/7 inquiry - i.e., he was innocent.

Assistant Commissioner Andy Hayman (left) and former Commissioner of Metropolitan Police, Sir Ian Blair (right)

After the briefing to crime reporters, between 5:00 and 6:00pm, a meeting between senior police officers and Home Office officials took place regarding what information should be made public. Sir Ian Blair, the Met Commissioner was present, as was Andy Hayman. The one set of minutes/notes from the meeting that exist indicated that during the meeting, Andy Hayman advised participants that "the press were saying that the shot man was not one of the four suspects" and added: "it was important to present that he was". Andy Hayman disputed this claim later to the IPCC, but the IPCC ruled that he failed to inform participants of the meeting, including the Met Commissioner, that the reason the press were running these stories was because they had been provided with the story by himself. [15]. In simple terms, Andy Hayman failed to inform senior ranking police officers of information that may have prevented the misinformation that was being spread from being so.

Shortly after this meeting, a press release was drafted and was authorised by Andy Hayman. Going against what was already known (i.e., that Menezes was unconnected to the 21/7 attacks and was an innocent man) it stated:

"the man shot at Stockwell is still subject to formal identification and it is not yet clear whether he is one of the four people we are seeking to identify and whose pictures have been released today". [15]

As a result of Andy Hayman’s failure to disclose the information known to his superiors and the public, the IPCC began investigating Hayman for potentially having violated police procedures in relation to Honesty and Integrity, Performance of Duties and General Conduct. [15]

The IPCC stated:

"It is alleged that during the afternoon of the 22 July 2005, you were informed that the person who had been shot was not believed to be one of the four persons suspected of attempting to detonate bombs in London the previous day. However in subsequent meetings, including with the Commissioner and others, it is alleged that you did not fully disclose that information and were instrumental in the wording of a press release which did not reflect what you knew, was inaccurate and misleading. If proven the alleged conduct could amount to a breach of The Police (Conduct) Regulations 2004, Schedule 1, Code of Conduct, Code 1 in relation to Honesty and Integrity, Code 5 in relation to Performance of Duties and Code 12 in relation to General Conduct". [15]

IPCC Verdict on Andy Hayman

The main piece of evidence that substantiated the allegation against Andy Hayman, in which he failed to notify the Commissioner that the deceased individual's identity and status (i.e., the deceased person's name was Menezes and he was not a suspect), was through the notes/minutes that were taken in the meeting of 5:00-6:00pm on 22 July 2005 by Ms Caroline Murdoch, the Commissioner's Chief of Staff, who has always maintained that the notes "are accurate".[15] According to the IPCC, whether Andy Hayman said this or not, "it does not matter greatly" because he had ample time to inform the meeting of the fact that he himself was responsible for informing the press that the deceased individual was not a suspected bomber and was innocent.[15] The IPCC also stated that Andy Hayman failed to inform the meeting that a wallet and a letter which confirmed accounts that Menezes was mistakenly shot were found a few hours before they had met. In an interview with the IPCC, he stated that at the time of the meeting, "he probably knew this information".[15]

The IPCC stated that the claims were substantiated because:

"AC Hayman chose to mislead the public by his actions at the [meeting]. He was instrumental in the wording of the press release [that was issued on the evening of 22 July 2005] which stated that it was not clear if the deceased was one of the four wanted bombers [and] this account is not consistent with what he had told the [crime reporters] a short time before when he stated that the deceased was not one of the four. Why AC Hayman chose to tell the CRA and therefore the public, that the deceased was not one of the four wanted bombers, and then withhold that information from the Commissioner and the others is not known. It is also

not known why he allowed a press release to be prepared and released which he knew contradicted what he had previously told the CRA." [15]

The IPCC eventually stated that Andy Hayman's conduct "causes us serious concern". They stated that they would be alerting the Metropolitan Police Authority to take appropriate action.[15]

Ian Blair

At approximately 8:30pm on 22 July 2005, a letter was discovered under the body of Menezes which confirmed his address and his name as Jean Charles De Menezes. A log was made by a senior investigating officer which stated that "anti-terrorist officers no longer believe [that] the deceased was connected to the [21/7] investigation".

In interview with the News of the World, however, Ian Blair stated:

"at that time – and for the next 24 hours – I and everyone who advised me believed the person who was shot was a suicide bomber." [18]

Similarly, in an interview with The Guardian, Ian Blair stated:

"I’m quite clear that by 7.30 at night we still had nothing that was identifying him … otherwise we wouldn’t have been putting out the messages that we were putting out”. [19]

The IPCC categorically stated that "both statements are believed not to have been true". [15]

IPCC Verdict on Ian Blair

The IPCC ruled the the allegations of misconduct against Sir Ian Blair, the Commissioner of the Met were:

"... not substantiated and there is no evidence of misconduct. However the Metropolitan Police Authority should consider why the Commissioner remained uninformed of key information emerging during the 22 July 2005 [sic]."[15]


See Also


  1. The Jean Charles de Menezes Family Campaign, accessed 06.09.10
  2. Harriet Wistrich and Gareth Peirce, Press Statement 2: Response to the evidence made public during the last 24 hours as to the true circumstances of the death of Jean Charles de Menezes, 17 August 2005, accessed 06.09.10
  3. Police defend shooting strategy, BBC News, 8 March 2006, accessed 07.09.10
  4. 4.0 4.1 Henry Macdonald, Covert army unit played role in Menezes killing, The Guardian, 8 March 2009, accessed 15.01.11
  5. Gordon Rayner, ‘The shot Brazilian was here with a fake visa’, The Daily Mail, 29 July 2005, accessed via LexisNexis on 06.09.10
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Commissioner's letter to The Home Office, Metropolitan Police Service, 30 September 2005, accessed 06.09.10
  7. Rosa Prince, ‘Cover up? Letter reveals Met chief’s bid to block probe into tube shooting’, The Daily Mirror, 1 October 2005, accessed via LexisNexis on 06.09.10
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Rosie Cowan, Duncan Campbell & Vikram Dodd, ‘New claims emerge over Menezes death’,The Guardian, 17 August 2005, accessed 06.09.10
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Alexandra Williams and Tom Pettifor, ‘War on Britain: Gun cops kill man on tube … but he had no bomb’, The Daily Mirror, 23 July 2005, accessed via LexisNexis on 07.09.10
  10. 10.0 10.1 Mark Reynolds and Alison Little, 'Policeman pumped 5 bullets into head and body of terrorist', The Express, 23 July 2005, accessed via LexisNexis on 07.09.10
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Man shot dead by police on Tube, BBC News, 22 July 2005, accessed 07.09.10
  12. Ian Cobain, Rosie Cowan and Richard Norton-Taylor, Faces of the suspects, The Guardian, 23 July 2005, accessed 07.09.10
  13. John Steele, ‘Elite squad enters unchartered territory’, The Daily Telegraph, 23 July 2005, accessed via LexisNexis on 07.09.10
  14. Adam Fresco, Rajeev Syal and Steve Bird, ‘Suspect shot dead ‘had no bomb’, The Times, 23 July 2005, accessed via LexisNexis on 07.09.10
  15. 15.00 15.01 15.02 15.03 15.04 15.05 15.06 15.07 15.08 15.09 15.10 15.11 15.12 15.13 15.14 15.15 15.16 Stockwell Two: An investigation into complaints about the Metropolitan Police Service’s handling of public statements following the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes on 22 July 2005, Independent Police Complaints Commission, July 2007, accessed 07.09.10
  16. Eyewitness Accounts: The chase, the shooting and the sense of shock, The Guardian, 23 July 2005, accessed via LexisNexis on 07.09.10
  17. Mark Honigsbaum, ‘Brazilian did not wear bulky jacket’, The Guardian, 28 July 2005, accessed 06.09.10
  18. Kim Sengupta and Nigel Morris, Counter-terrorism chief ‘misled public’ over Menezes Shooting, The Independent, 3 August 2007, accessed 07.09.10
  19. Ian Katz, The year of living dangerously, The Guardian, 30 January 2006, accessed 07.09.10