Displaying Shoot to Kill and Suicide Bombers?

Jean Charles de Menezes (7 January 1978 -­ 22 July 2005) was a Brazilian national. He was shot dead by police at Stockwell tube station in London, England. He was shot in the head at close range by Metropolitan Police who misidentified him as a suicide bomber about to explode a device on the London Underground. Soon after the police realized they had made a terrible mistake.

There had been a terrible terrorist attack in London. Security Services believed a follow up attack could take place. On 22 July, 2005, London police were searching for four suspects in four attempted bombings which had been carried out the previous day. Three of these unsuccessful attacks were at Underground stations and one was on a bus. The attackers had not died and the police were trying to track them down.

Armed police had been ordered to follow and apprehend someone they believed might be a terrorist with another bomb. In the rush hour tube people were making their way quickly towards the trains as they do every day. After the shooting of the innocent man, mistakes and errors came to light as well as what was alleged to be attempts to cover up aspects of the mistake.

Questions:

1) How much responsibility rests with the shooters, the people giving the direct information, the supervisors above?

2) Given that suicide bombers are very dangerous and very difficult to stop, how should police approach suicide suspects in crowded places?

3) What guidance should armed police have to follow before deciding to kill a person they suspect is a suicide bomber?

Activity:

Read more details about the case on news websites and then make a judgment about whether you feel the police were justified in the way they acted at each stage of the events.

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