BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in: UK
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Tuesday, 17 July, 2001, 21:50 GMT 22:50 UK
Calm urged after Brixton shooting
Police in Brixton
The man had a replica gun cigarette lighter
Police urged people in Brixton to remain calm as demonstrators gathered following the fatal shooting of a man armed with an imitation gun.

A black man, thought to be in his 30s, was shot six times on Monday by armed response officers while pointing an imitation gun cigarette lighter at a hostage in Brixton.

It was the second fatal police shooting in a week, following the death of a schizophrenic man who was shot while wielding a samurai sword in a Liverpool street.

The chairman of community civil rights group Movement for Justice, which is based in Brixton, planned a demonstration on Tuesday evening at Lambeth town hall to demand the policemen responsible for the killing are "brought to justice".

Silver cigarette lighter
Police confirmed the gun was a cigarette lighter
The demonstration was to coincide with the annual meeting of Lambeth Police Consultative Group, which was attended by police.

Alex Owolade, a Unison representative who works for Lambeth council, said: "We want to organise militant demonstrations and protests to get those police responsible brought to justice.

"We are calling people to come out and protest and show the authorities we are not prepared to accept this."

Mr Owolade said that he would advocate people "defending themselves" if police intervened.

Inquiries ordered

"We must take the matter into our own hands. We can't wait for the authorities to do another whitewash job."

Separate inquiries have been launched by the police into the two shooting incidents.

Both firearms officers involved in the Brixton incident are to receive post trauma support and counselling.

Molly Meacher, deputy chair of the Police Complaints Authority said: "The most important point about the investigation (into the London shooting) is that it should be entirely independent and it should have the confidence of the people in Brixton and the family of the man who has died."

We are calling people to come out and protest and show the authorities we are not prepared to accept this

Alex Owolade
Home Secretary David Blunkett said on Tuesday that the Home Office needed to work with senior officers to avoid similar incidents.

The home secretary said he would not comment on the individual cases, but stressed that he wanted to examine possible alternatives to the use of firearms.

Mr Blunkett said: "We are looking at alternatives and we will want to come forward with the chief constables to avoid incidents of this sort.

"We need a proportionate response to the particular nature of threat that is being offered.

Non-lethal alternative

"That needs to be done carefully, not on the back of individual cases."

He added: "I'm pleased that these two cases' referral was made immediately because that has not always been the case."

Deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Tim Godwin defended the use of guns by officers.

"I think there are always serious concerns about the use of firearms with police because we are an unarmed civilian service.

"It is with great regret that we have to use firearms in specific situations.

"It's a sad reality of life that we have to have the capacity to respond with firearms."

Public confidence

Rules for the use and deployment of firearms are drawn up by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

Last week Andrew Kernan, 37, was shot dead as he refused to put down a Samurai sword he was brandishing in Wavertree, Liverpool.

Police want to hear from anyone who witnessed the incident in Brixton or who has information that would help the investigation. Contact 020 7326 1212.

The BBC's Emma Simpson
"There was a small but vocal protest in Brixton tonight"
Duncan Gear of the Police Complaints Authority
"Very many of these replica weapons can appear, from a distance, exactly like the real thing"
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories