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Saturday, July 23, 2005

Justifiable Homicide?

Yesterday on the news I heard a man talk of his experience that morning of witnessing a man being shot dead on a tube train by plain clothes police officers.

He talked of a man running from three men, looking like a cornered rabbit. Then the men, who the eye witness presumed to be undercover cops, pushed him to the floor on the underground train and discharged 5 shots into him. He died.

He was a young Asian man and he was wearing a padded jacket which seemed inappropriate for the warm weather. Apparently he had come out of a house which was under police surveillance. Maybe the police thought he was about to blow up the tube train there and then? But if so - if he was carrying or wearing explosives - was pushing him over and shooting him the best idea? Will those things not be likely to ignite any explosives?

The implication was that he was one of the people who had tried unsuccessfully to blow up more people on the tubes and bus the day before. The police killed him. To prevent further death?? I don't know.

The people in that carriage of the tube train were, by all accounts, very traumatised at having witnessed a shooting at such proximity. Understandably.

(When I lived in France, I never got used to the police carrying guns around on their daily business. Each time I saw a copper I would become totally preoccupied by the fact that he had a gun on his belt, and it really, really scared me. I never, ever got used to that. And that was just them carrying them, not using them, and not killing people with them while I watched.)

So I was listening to this man on the radio news, who had witnessed the shooting. The man who had been shot had been wearing a top with New York written across it, and it was suggested that this was a nod to the September 11th attacks. Also he was wearing a padded or thick jacket, which in this weather must have meant there were explosives underneath.

(Really?? Must it have meant that? I want to know just how much these police had to go on when they made the move to kill him.)

But anyway, for many reasons, or for none, they shot him dead. I could kind of understand. If he was about to blow up a whole train, then them killing him and noone else dying is perhaps justifiable.


But no no. It's like death penalty without even a trial. I don't agree with the death penalty ever. Not with any number of jurors, judges, barristers, magistrates involved. So the sentence of death penalty as decided by 3 undercover cops, as a spur of the moment decision, that can't ever be right. It just can't.

(And shooting someone who has explosives on him? Is that really likely to kill him and not detonate the explosives at the same time? Because it seems to me it would be more likely to detonate things. And if so, there is even less justification for the shooting.)

But no, keeping an open mind. They wouldn't have shot him without really, really good reason, good back-up, good safety information, good intentions. I mean, you just can't go shooting someone dead Just In Case, can you?

No, they'd have done something like that only when they had no doubt at all of who they were dealing with, and a clear immediate threat, and that it was the only only way.

UK Police: Man Killed Unrelated to Probe
LONDON (AP) - The man shot and killed on a subway car by London police in front of horrified commuters apparently had nothing to do with this month's bombings on the city's transit system, police said Saturday in expressing their ``regrets.''

So no. No! They were wrong! They shot someone - shot him dead - with no trial or truth. The utter bastards.

Was the evidence against this lad really that he was Asian and wearing a padded jacket?? Lord help us if that was it.

There will be an inquiry. I will be interested to see what it throws up but I doubt we will get anywhere near the truth.

The whole thing was wrong. Scaring commuters, making people witness first hand a man being shot five times in the head and body, and die in front of them. Killing this man for... well, clearly no good reason, because the police have even said as much!

Guns are evil. I am angry and disillusioned. The world I live in is racist and presumptious and just horrible.

But the police are sorry, so that's ok.

(It is just not. Never.)


Taarna said...

I heard about that on the news the other day and I was disgusted too. It seems that everyone is afraid and most don't know what to do with their fear, so they turn to violence and hatred. I hate the atmosphere right now. It's like you can't get the truth no matter where you turn. Well, you sort of get a part of something which may or may not be a smidgen of a possible truth. Then, right after that, you get something about how genetically gifted Lance Armstrong is. He probably is, but it seems to me that we are being diverted from the truth. Maybe I'm being paranoid. I don't know. I hope so, anyway.

Angelique said...

i'm very saddened by the state of the world where we are killing ang haveing our rights trampled on by a moronic government. does it seem that armageddon is arriving or what!?! i'm sad the people got killed/ injured but pissed off that there are such brutal people out there who frighten people, being the military or police.

Anonymous said...

you're probably going to hate me for saying this, but ...

it's very easy, with the benefit of hindsight, to say that the policeman in question was wrong to shoot him - BUT he had to make a split-second decision based on trying to preserve the lives of people sat on that tube train. (as for whether it was the right thing to do technically speaking - well, yes. they have to aim for the head in case sensors on the body trigger off an explosion, and by jumping on top of him they would have smothered any explosion thereby ensuring that the people on the train wouldn't get hurt. in israel they use remote-controlled robots to disarm suicide bombers but i'd imagine they'd be a bit difficult to use in that situation). i really don't envy them having to make that choice with minimal information. i just don't get why the man who was shot ran away from them when he was challenged, jumping over the ticket barriers and all the rest of it - strange behaviour for someone with nothing to hide. and what would everyone be saying if he *had* been a suicide bomber, and the police had just let him get on the train? it's easy for us, sat safely behind our computers (i include myself in the "us"), to criticise, and obviously someone being killed it terrible whatever the circumstances, but in that situation, i'm not sure what else they could have done that wasn't potentially putting a lot of people in very serious danger. it's just a horrible situation all round, really. stop the world, i wanna get off ... :oS

Unknown said...

i just don't get why the man who was shot ran away from them when he was challenged, jumping over the ticket barriers and all the rest of it - strange behaviour for someone with nothing to hide.

To be honest, if three blokes with guns were chasing me, I think I'd run away too :-/

Anonymous said...

i'd forgotten they were in plain clothes ... which would make them 3 blokes rather than 3 policemen ... puts rather a different light on it come to think of it (not that it's right to shoot innocent people if you're wearing a police uniform obviously, but at least he would have known who he was running away from - although we don't know whether the policemen let him see their guns before they gave chase) i still think the policemen in question were in a bit of a damned-if-they-do, damned-if-they-don't situation - everyone's so anxious and hypervigilant at the moment. just to further confuse things, the bloke who was shot wasn't even asian, he was brazilian (i guess brazilian people have similar colouring to asian people, but completely different features ... i'm pretty confident i'd be able to tell the difference anyway without having to look too hard) and people on the train reported seeing wires coming out of his jacket, even though there weren't any, or any explosives underneath ... isn't it strange how people's brains fill in the gaps and see things that aren't there because they assume things? anyway ...

TP said...

I have three points on this

1) Killing is wrong in any form
2) This man may have been running for various reasons, I heard that his visa to be in the country had expired and he was doing his best to avoid trouble this would cause(as you would).
3)MI5 (our is it 6?) are all over this, and I have a feeling that it was one of their mistakes and the poliece are taking the fall. Can't have the public thinking spies are in our midst.
This also links to the 'off duty' Met officers that stopped a train on it's was to London in Grantham to arrest two 'suspious' characters. Why the fuck were two off duty Met officers on the Edinburgh - London train again?

TP said...

scary but true

Unknown said...

i agree with 1) and 2). 3) is certainly also possible and there's clearly a lot going on that we're just not supposed to know.

and as for that, yuck and yikes. it is indeed scary but true :-/