Met chief faces shooting probe

An investigation has been launched into how Metropolitan police commissioner Ian Blair dealt with the fatal shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes by officers this summer.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) will look into how the police chief and other senior officers responded to the shooting of the innocent Brazilian, whom officers mistook for a suicide bomber.

It comes after the De Menezes family made an official complaint to the police watchdog, claiming that Sir Ian was guilty of “misleading” the public in the aftermath of the shooting at a London underground station on July 22nd.

They want to know why, during a press conference that afternoon, Sir Ian claimed that a suicide bomber had been shot. They also question his assertion that he only knew an innocent person had been killed the following morning.

An IPCC statement read: “The complaint alleges that individuals within the Metropolitan police service (MPS) made false public statements following the fatal shooting of Jean Charles at Stockwell underground station on July 22nd.”

The commission had to request permission from the home secretary to carry out the investigation, because of the seniority of the officer involved, and Charles Clarke has now given this.

He nominated Mike Grant, an IPCC senior investigator, to carry out the investigation, supported by Peter Goode, the commission’s acting director of operations.

Sir Ian’s probe will take place in tandem with a separate IPCC inquiry into the killing itself, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

“We will treat this investigation in the same way as any other, although I have asked a panel of three IPCC commissioners to oversee it,” IPCC chairman Nick Hardwick said.

“We have not made any assumptions and for the sake of Jean Charles’ family, officers within the MPS and the public at large, will try to establish the truth in an impartial, proportionate and timely way.”

In a statement, deputy assistant Met commissioner John Yates welcomed the investigation and said the force would “fully cooperate” with the IPPC.

However, he made clear that the complaints raised were not solely about Sir Ian, explaining: “They specifically ask that the IPCC investigate where any misleading accounts relating to the tragic events of the 22nd July originated from, and how and why they were put into the public domain.”

DAC Yates also said that the Met had “apologised privately” to the De Menezes family after the shooting but had not attempted to correct any inaccuracies in the public domain because the IPCC had asked them not to once investigative proceedings had begun.