Saturday, September 24, 2005

There Ain't No Justice. There's Just Us 

In the increasingly futile hope that someone, somewhere might object to the prospect, Sir Ian Blair, Commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police, continues to bleat that he may yet resign if an official inquiry holds him accountable for the needless murder of Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes by British anti-terror cops. Meanwhile, the woman who exposed Blair as a wretched, self-serving liar is under arrest for her civic-mindedness:
A 43-year-old woman has been arrested in connection with the leak of documents from the investigation into the death of Jean-Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian electrician wrongly shot by police as a terrorist suspect after the London bombings in July . . . .

The leaked documents showed that police statements immediately after the shooting were misleading, including comments made by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair.

Blair initially claimed that police had shouted a warning before approaching Menezes, but the documents said this was not the case. They also contradicted early reports that the Brazilian was wearing a bulky jacket that could have hidden explosives and that he jumped the ticket barrier at the stations. The police did not admit these reports were misleading until after the leak.

The details of the documents, which were broadcast on ITV News on 16 August, showed that Menezes was wearing a light denim jacket and jeans, that he used his Oyster card to pass through the ticket barrier and that no warning was issued before he was shot.

The Leicestershire force confirmed that the woman was arrested at one of several London addresses searched on Wednesday. It is not known if she is an employee of the IPCC or ITV News. Neither organisation would comment last night.

Shami Chakrabati, director of civil rights campaigners Liberty said: 'We must hope that the investigation into the shooting itself is being pursued with at least as much rigour as these leak inquiries.'
The traditional reward for power abused is yet more power, and we are pleased to report that Sir Ian heroically stifled his self-recriminatory urges just long enough to advocate a massive expansion of police authority, not unlike what Northcom has in mind for America:
The Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair said "modernisation" of the force should be carried forward by introducing "an escalator of powers" for the dispensing of instant justice.

"One idea is to have some police officers - paid more and with more powers - to impose an interim anti-social behaviour order, for instance, or suspend a driving licence," he said. This would have an immediate effect rather than waiting for intervention by the courts, Sir Ian suggested.

He acknowledged that giving police powers currently exercised only by the courts would be controversial but could be seen as legitimate if they were used by properly trained constables . . . .

However, Shami Chakrabarti, the director of the human rights group Liberty, said Sir Ian was behaving like Judge Dredd, the post-apocalyptic comic book law enforcer whose catchphrase is "I am the law". She added: "This is more like summary justice which has no place in a democracy. He's supposed to be the Met Commissioner, not Judge Dredd. Sir Ian should concentrate on the difficult job of running the Metropolitan Police rather than working on political speeches arguing for ever more draconian laws" . . . .

Sir Ian also suggested that former soldiers could be trained and deployed as firearms specialists as part of a radical restructuring of police responsibilities and duties.

After being criticised over the shooting of a man mistaken for a suicide bomber in July, he said he was not suggesting bringing in the Army to take over firearms duties but rather hiring ex-servicemen on short-term contracts.
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