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London police subway shooting trial begins

[JURIST] London's Metropolitan Police Service [official website] mistakenly killed Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes '[advocacy website; BBC profile] because of a flawed plan to carry out an anti-terrorism operation after the July 21 London transit bombing attempts [JURIST report] in 2005, prosecutor Clare Montgomery argued during opening statements Monday in the trial of the London police for breaches of health and safety laws that allegedly led to de Menezes' death. Montgomery outlined several mistakes made by London police during their botched anti-terrorism operation [UK Times timeline], saying that the public was "needlessly put at risk and Jean Charles was killed as a result." Of the most grievous errors, Montgomery argued, London police had to wait for more than four hours for a firearms unit to arrive to arrest a suspected suicide bomber, police were confused over whether de Menezes was the subject they were looking for, and the operation control room was in a state of chaos, causing police commanders in the control room to issue contradictory orders to the surveillance team following de Menezes. London police admit that shooting de Menezes was a mistake, but deny misconduct, which could lead to an unlimited fine if found to have occurred.

Menezes was mistakenly killed by police [JURIST report] in 2005 who thought they were pursuing a suspect in the bombing attempts. In May this year, the UK Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) [official website] said that the officers who shot Menezes would not face disciplinary action [IPCC report] after British prosecutors decided not to bring individual charges [JURIST report] against them. The IPCC issued a report [PDF text; JURIST report] in August clearing Police Commissioner Ian Blair of any misconduct but concluding that Assistant Commissioner Andrew Hayman [official profiles] misled his colleagues and the public about the shooting shortly after it occurred. The UK Times has more. AP has additional coverage.

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