Should the inquiry into the police shooting of a man mistaken for a bomb suspect be a public inquiry?
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is trying to reassure lawyers for the family of Jean Charles de Menezes that the inquiry is still on track.
Jenny Jones, a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority, has said she has faith in the IPCC inquiry, but added "I think it's time now to come clean and actually let us know exactly what's been going on."
How do you think the IPCC should handle the inquiry now? Where does this leave the IPCC and Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
The following comments reflect the balance of views received:
With my partner in the Met Police in the Fire Arms Department, I think I am at first hand to hear what these policemen are going through on a daily basis. They are over worked, over stretched and exhausted. Annual leave has been cancelled, shifts have been doubled and there is no life for them outside of the force at the present time. And for what? To protect those condemning them for protecting us.
The police made an honest mistake, it's time to move on. Nothing will bring back Mr Menezes. If the police make another honest mistake on me or anyone else in the future, so be it. It's the price we pay for security.
John, London, UK
Everyone is so quick to jump to conclusions regarding this leak. Leaks are generally made by people with their own agenda and until we know the facts it is wrong to vilify the police. They are doing a near impossible job and are fallible.
Kevan Boitoult, Reading, UK
All inquiries concerning such a serious event as this should be public. We have seen our government and the police taking upon themselves the power to kill anyone whom they believe to be terrorists, that sort of power also brings with it the responsibility and duty to be held answerable for their actions.
A terrible, terrible tragedy that deserves some form of inquiry and compensation for the unfortunate man's family. However, we should not let this become yet another bandwagon for lawyers and liberal hand-wringers to jump on. The police were doing their job under highly-charged circumstances and made an honest mistake.
K, Bristol, UK
The issue for any public enquiry needs to focus not on the actions of the individual officers at the scene, but rather on the Home Office and Senior Police who set the parameters within which the officers must act. Second, people may be able to accept that officers made mistakes. It is however only possible to create such a misleading impression by deliberate choices made at much more senior levels.
David Swarbrick, Brighouse, England
Let's bear in mind that this is a leaked report, and as such very unreliable. Until such a time when the police are able to put forward their view, then no judgements should be made. The police are the ones fighting terrorists, risking their lives on our behalf, they need our full support whilst they continue to do this. If the IPCC find sufficient grounds to take it further, then fine - due process should be followed, but until that time we should remember who the enemy really are.
James, London, UK
I feel sorry for the policemen who carried out the execution. If they were following orders and were trained to follow those orders what else could they do? Clearly a profound and heartbreaking failure at the top level has brought about these tragic circumstances. Those policemen/women who gave the order to shoot-to-kill should resign and admit their mistakes. Only then will people start to rebuild their faith in the metropolitan police.
AGS, London, UK
It's important that we find out the truth about what happened. My worry is that the truth will be lost amongst a cover up by senior police officers on the one hand, and a deluge of police bashing from the human rights lobby on the other.
Pete, Nottingham, UK
It's astonishing how many people are reciting as facts statements which the IPCC have yet to validate.
Kevin Straw, London, UK
For people calling for a public enquiry - shame on you. Jon said we are not at war. Well if we are not at war then why are buses and trains exploding in London city centre? The job of the police is hard enough as it is. Let them get on with it, and keep us safe. All a public enquiry will do is further restrict their powers, and leave us more vulnerable than ever to an attack.
Mike, Nottingham, UK
I can't believe the number of people who would wish for the police enquiry to be held behind closed doors. The public need to know why this went wrong otherwise the next time they wish to shoot an innocent man all they have to do is cry suicide bomber.
A tragic mistake which should be investigated. At the same time, it is annoying to see left wing legal campaigners attacking the shoot-to-kill-to-protect policy, who somehow see it as a tool of a 'fascist state', not protection against one of the most unpredictable and lethal of terrorist tactics.
Nick, Southampton, UK
All those that are calling for the police to be prosecuted on the basis of leaked versions of a document should ask themselves this question. Do you want the police to hesitate when they suspect terrorist activity in future?
Iain, London, England
One minute he's wearing a puffer jacket and a big rucksack and running from the police. Next he's in a denim jacket and running for the train. What are we meant to believe?
It has to be public. Sir Ian Blair should resign because he is either part of the attempted cover up or is perceived to be weak enough to be misled by his own officers. Either way, his credibility has been compromised. I have found it alarming that some people would like to put a lid on it, not to give comfort to the bombers. Do they realise that it could have been anyone of us being shot by those police officers?
If in the final analysis it transpires that this young man lost his life due to the incompetent or irresponsible behaviour of people in whom we are expected to put out trust then I feel that these same people should be punished for their actions.
D Lane, London UK
Could someone contrive a word for what appears to be a controlled leak? This 'spin' is intended to spread the potential blame and outrage over time so as to lessen its damage.
The enquiry should be entirely public. The police made no attempt to correct the misinformation that they put out. It's inconceivable that the police may not be charged over this, with the argument that they were following procedures or orders. That's the arguments that the Nazis used. I don't want to live in a Nazi state.
Michael Nelson, London
This is awful. I'm confused though. The tube must have been packed with many witnesses. Why weren't any of these people interviewed by the media so that the real events were exposed? Surely there were discrepancies in their stories and the statement of the police force. Why didn't the media pick this up from day one?
There must be a full public enquiry in the name of the just democracy we strive to maintain.
Jonathan Bairstow, London
That the police can shoot an innocent man without fear of prosecution or retribution is scary, very scary. Who should we fear, the Police, or the terrorists they want us to be afraid of? Probably both.
Nothing will bring Mr Menezes back, but the furore following the leaks from the inquiry should not be allowed to divert the security services' hunt for the bombers. The lawyers representing the Menezes family are the usual crowd in these cases. The media seem to be playing into the hands of people who are far more interested in attacking the police than in dealing with the threat of terrorism. The police have killed one innocent man by mistake. The bombers have so far killed 52, very deliberately. And there are many more potential bombers out there.
Patrick Heren, Greenwich
I can hardly bear to write about this, it makes me so sad and angry when I think about this young man's last moments of complete terror. I cried and railed at the news when I first read about it but tried to calm myself down when I read the police's account, asking myself what choice the police had. When I read what may have actually happened I am livid all over again. There is absolutely no excuse for this level of incompetence and someone should be made to pay for this. Not that it will undo what happened as nothing will ever make up for this horrible unnecessary loss of a young life. We can only pray for his soul.
The photo shows he was wearing a denim jacket. Who took the photo? If it was the police - how was it leaked?
Nobody in a civilised democratic country can act or behave with impunity. Responsibility imputes accountability. No matter the extremely difficult circumstances at the time there nevertheless has clearly been a deliberate cover up and if there is no public enquiry this will only amount to another cover up. This would do serious damage to the British public's confidence in any government authority or department, especially for the moment the police force.
Whilst a full enquiry is clearly essential, and it is possible that senior resignations may be appropriate, I find it very disconcerting and somewhat hypercritical for lawyers, who often insist on due process and full evidence when defending clients etc are publicly calling for resignations and claiming everything is in chaos, on the basis of what may be partial leaking of an, as yet incomplete enquiry. Surely as Lawyers, they should be particularly weary of rushing to judgement. Justice and a fair hearing cuts both ways, so these comments whilst possibly understandable from families and close friends are very regrettable from so called professional people.
The last thing we need is a knee jerk reaction to this, a properly conducted inquiry without speculation or leaks is what is needed. This is the only way to be respectful to the family of this poor man.
Paul Hart, Glasgow, UK
I can't believe how many people are describing this incident as 'unfortunate'. No matter what the investigations reveal, armed police shot an innocent man in the head seven times. How can people seriously describe this as merely 'unfortunate'? Where has your sense of decency, your sense of justice, your sense of humanity gone?
Mark, Sheffield, UK
A public enquiry is essential. I have always supported the police and on the whole they have been excellent during these troubled times. However, this alone does not absolve them when it comes to this tragic incident which was so badly mishandled. The police had ample opportunity to stop and question Mr Menezes prior to him getting on the tube. We are all responsible for our own actions and so are the police.
Loren, London, UK
First of all, do we live in a free country? Is our government put in place by the people for the people or do we live in a communist country? If the people want a public enquiry then let's do it - yesterday! What is it the govt often say about the ID cards debate? You don't have to worry if you've got nothing to hide? If the police have got nothing to hide then they have nothing to worry about! Simple as that!
Anon, London, UK
I did paste words of caution about the accuracy of the early reports following the shooting of Mr Menezes. May I suggest further caution in jumping to yet more incorrect conclusions before the IPCC have completed their investigations. The commissioner of the Met was after all in the middle of a major terrorist inquiry when the tragic killing took place. Therefore is it not perfectly understandable that he would wish to avoid at that time an independent inquiry team operating in the middle of what was a major ongoing enquiry.
Clive Howard, Aylesbury
Perhaps this incident will help to put the brakes on the British police's headlong testosterone-fuelled rush to bear arms. I note that the leaked documents imply that Mr. Menzes was restrained without the use of weapons, but was then shot anyway. We are not at war, and this kind of summary action by police must be subject to the most rigorous of investigations, unless we want to lose the strong bond and faith we have with our police force that in other countries is sadly lacking. I do, however, tend to agree that there is no compelling reason to make the enquiry public - this distorts complex enquiries and makes subsequent prosecution difficult.
Our laws have developed over a 1000 years and do not allow the state to execute members of the public. I do not agree that we live in exceptional circumstances. The army never managed in thirty years in Northern Ireland to shoot a man in this manner even after appalling bombings. And if they had there would have been a bigger public outcry. The police got it wrong and got it wrong big time, and what makes it worst is that there appear to be a sinister attempt to cover it up - For those that are trying to, should have charges brought against them for attempting to pervert the cause justice. If that goes all the way to the top then so be it. Simply appalling conduct.
Where are all those people who blindly supported the police in their actions now? Anyone who thinks the police are completely infallible needs to wake up and realise that they're just human, mistakes will be made, and it is up to those who issue the guidelines to ensure that there is no room for a mistake.
Mark, Colchester, UK
We have no choice but to have a public inquiry, we were all under the impression that this man was wearing baggy clothes, jumped a barrier and ran from the police when challenged, it now seems that he was not wearing clothes to conceal. He paid for his ticket and behaved normally. Further he was restrained prior to being shot. The truth needs to be told, confidence in our system must be re-established.
Dave Endsor, Cheadle Ches
No to a public inquiry. I also think it's a disgrace that the BBC and others give so much weight to leaked documents when they are both unverified and out of context. I'm sick of our attitude toward the police that they're damned if they do and damned if they don't. The inquiry should investigate what failings led to the death of an innocent man and make changes to minimise the risks in future. Why do the media and most of the public want a witch-hunt?
Brian , Edinburgh
The whole thing stinks of incompetence and even worse attempts to cover up! Probable corruption? This must go to inquiry.
Ranjith Ramanathan, London
With the benefit of hindsight the police appear to have made a mistake in this case, however these officers acted on the information they received, and had to make split second decisions in very difficult circumstances. They put their lives on the line to protect the public and we should all be grateful for their heroism. What if he had been another bomber?
I'm actually quite disgusted that the London Met feels it appropriate to say that they are "deeply embarrassed" by this whole affair. An innocent man has been publicly killed in the most shocking and violent fashion by London Metropolitan police officers. Surely this warrants more than a few red faces in Scotland Yard. Personally I if had been responsible for this then I would never forgive myself, and rightly so.
Craig Morris , France (formerly UK)
The Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair's request that the IPCC should initially be kept out has clearly back fired. What is needed now is full transparency in a public enquiry to find out exactly what happened. No one doubts that the police have a hard job and we should support them - but equally they need to explain why they thought it necessary that a restrained man should be shot 8 times. There is a grave danger that this shoot to kill policy is a result of a knee jerk reaction to those tragic events - which will lead to more tragedy and fear on the streets of London.
Andrew Geddes, Jersey
We cannot have the police, policing themselves. This would open the floodgates for a quasi police state
Colin Young, North Shields, Northumberland
Once again we see the media protecting the public's interest and reporting facts without prejudice or political agenda.
Tim Birch, Embarrassed Brit living in Switzerland
I still have no problem with the police 'shoot to kill' policy in the current climate. What we do need to look at is the amount of pressure placed on the few specialist officers we have for this role. If an enquiry is to take place I believe that this and not "are the police in the wrong" should be the focus.
A mother, England
Patricia H is wrong. An enquiry is essential to give the public the assurance that our police force is accountable for its actions. If it is found that the officers concerned took a life without justification, then the full weight of the law should be brought against them for murder.
John, Bridgwater, England
The police have a hard job. In this case, it seems that the matter hinges on whether this poor young man's demeanour was startling rather than startled (a razor-thin distinction) when he saw the police pointing a gun at him. It's tragic that the matter should be reduced to a linguistic matter of whether his startled expression became actively startling and, if startling, by implication threatening, and thus also by implication ready to detonate a bomb, in order for the police to decide that he had to die by way of precaution.
Mark Fenn, London UK
What concerns me as much as the fact that an innocent man was killed is the fact that police carrying arms are not aware that a single shot to the head will more than suffice, 8 shots suggests blind panic and bad training.
Post Hutton, does anyone seriously think that a public inquiry is going to get any closer to the truth?
Dean, Maidenhead, UK
Tragic as this is, It has been allowed to descend into a money spinning fiasco for the lawyers and they will milk it for all its worth. Which, also taints any validity of an enquiry. Time to do the right thing for the family of the deceased, ensure the already laid down procedures for using guns are followed, and move on. Not feed the ever growing hoards of circling vultures.
Martin, London, England
I can't help but feel the initial comments and reports were designed to take the pressure off the police and make the victim look more like a suspect. A truly frightening situation where an innocent man can be restrained and shot dead at point-blank range in the head for no apparent reason.
I am sick of all those public enquiries. The police isn't perfect. We all make mistakes. I feel sorry for the guy and his family but this certainly doesn't bring him back but only makes the lawyers richer and the taxpayer poorer!
Franziska, Sevenoaks, UK
Since the officers involved have already been tried by media and found guilty, it is hard to see who an enquiry would benefit...except of course the media.
Barry Lowry, London UK
Firstly, we must remember that Jean Charles de Menezes was an innocent man. I think the IPCC has cast doubts on its reliability by this shambles of an investigation. We already know that there are problems in the Metropolitan Police. My generation have heard about the Steven Laurence Enquiry and the failures there. I think the Metropolitan police need to own up to a few home truths and the IPCC should not try and cover with their misdemeanours by hiding the facts and dragging their feet in the enquiry.
We are not at war. The police should never have been given the right to shoot to kill. For seven armed police to mistake a Brazilian wearing a denim jacket to be a suicide bomber is outrageous. If we have armed police, they should be uniformed and trained properly. So far the terrorists have influenced the government to change the law, resulting in an innocent member of the public being targeted and murdered by our police force. If anything, this will prompt more terrorist action, as they can see that their cause is making a difference.
Without any doubt, this enquiry should be public. The killing of Jean Charles de Menezes was a result of incompetence and everybody should be privy to the extent of this incompetence within our security services. Eyewitnesses who claim they saw Jean Charles jumping ticket barriers were simply mistaken. What they actually saw were police jumping these barriers and the police were going to capitalise on these mistaken witnesses to stage their own cover-up. It's right that this should be a public enquiry.
Joe Kuzak, Essex
We must do the right thing, learn and move on. And no that is not a disregard of Jean Charles de Menzes or his family and friends. Nothing that can be done will ever change what happened, all we can do is learn and try to ensure this never happens again. But as a potential victim of terrorists or a police mistake, I personally would rather the police remain vigilant against the terrorist, because I believe the human rights legislation was written for me as well as victims of police mistakes.
John, Nuneaton, UK
The series of errors apparently made by police during the operation were, to say the least, unfortunate although to some extent understandable. What is quite inexcusable is the whole range of misinformation and obstruction by senior officers. If information is sensitive then it would be better to say nothing than tell untruths in the hope that when the facts become known we will have forgotten about the incident.
Eddie, Nottingham UK
The initial accounts given by eye witnesses, on TV, radio and in the press all seem to contradict the leaked documents. Who are the new witnesses in the leaked documents? Why did they not come forward before? All very strange, seems someone is out to discredit the police.
Gary Gatter, London, UK
No to a public enquiry. National Security in these times of a real and immediate terrorist threat, (they haven't gone away), makes such an enquiry a luxury we simply cannot afford. Instead let us have an "in camera" enquiry with a Senior Judge or Judges to investigate why mistakes were made and procedures not followed in this case, and to make recommendations to lessen the chances of such a fatal error occurring in the future.
Steve Foley, Reading , UK
I supported the actions of the police when the first reports came out. I still think they need our support. But an enquiry is required because we had 'witnesses' whose interviews and photos where publicised by many news agencies, including the BBC, who now seem to have blatantly lied about what they saw. We need to get to the bottom of this. It would seem the cover-up began the moment they shot Mr Menezes.
Jason Scott, Plymouth, UK
We need to know the truth. I am deeply disappointed with Sir Ian Blair for trying to stop an inquiry. He is a man who we all came to admire in the wake of the July bombings but he has now let us down.
Graham Smith, Leeds, UK
Why are people (BBC included) taking the leaked partial findings of an investigation as though they are the definitive results of an investigation? They are the memories of an individual(s) during a traumatic time, regardless of any wrong-doing in the incident itself, the media and anyone else with a sabre to rattle should take a long hard look at themselves. How is jumping to conclusions about these leaked documents any different to jumping to conclusions about an individual that the police were "tailing"? Surely we should examine all the accounts of the incident and not just the ones which fit the agenda being pushed by whoever leaked them?
Lee Hambly, UK
This is a really unfortunate incident. I spend a considerable amount of time in the UK, and in London in particular. I have always been incredibly impressed by how polite and professional the police there are. They draw a wonderful contrast with their hideous impolite counterparts in the USA. The UK police force is certainly something to be proud of. But, this inquiry must be handled very delicately, with total transparency and delivery of the full, unedited facts to the public. When this incident happened, just after the terrorist attacks, the atmosphere was very tense, particularly on the tube. The police have a lot of latitude here for making honest mistakes. They will loose it all at the slightest hint of any kind of cover up. If they made a mistake or acted improperly, I would suggest full disclosure of all the facts to the public. Those guilty of any kind of misconduct must be held accountable.
Rory Morty, Giessen, Germany
Even though I feel terribly sorry for Mr. Menezes' family I think making the shooting inquiry public will open a can of worms. The police got it wrong and unfortunately these things happen, let's leave the subject be and move on to the more important subject which is catching terrorists and preventing more attacks.
Richard, London, UK
The IPCC investigation is now surely tainted beyond all credibility. We now know that a cover-up has taken place and the only way now to restore public confidence in the Security services is a public enquiry. However we cannot allow another whitewash and steps need to be taken to curb this dangerous new, ill thought out policy of "shoot to kill". Understandably the police are under pressure following the London bombings, though the leaked evidence suggests that murder charges may have to be answered to. If we cannot succeed in preserving democratic ideals in our own country, how then can we have the right to tell other nations how to conduct their own affairs?
Sohaib Ahmed, Glasgow, Scotland UK
It is quite right that the whole truth comes out and not another white wash. When the police fear the truth coming out, then we the people have much to fear.
Bumble, Dartford, Kent
Britain is becoming the laughing stock of the world, no, actually of the terrorists. The only people who will benefit from any inquiry won't be the family, but lawyers. The police have a rough job to do as it is, don't continually knock them!
Alan Dobbie, London, UK
We need a criminal trial not a public enquiry.
Tim, Bath, England
How could the initial reports have been so different from what we are now being told? These accounts were not just leaked to the media from police sources, I heard several witnesses interviewed on radio and TV describing a vault across the barriers, and a padded jacket etc. Were those people lying or are the new accounts lies made up to discredit the police?
Karen, York, England
Of course the inquiry should be public - we're a democracy not a police state. Sir Ian Blair and the Met police should now be under review. I don't blame the officers involved as they were only following orders. As wrong as those orders clearly were.
It certainly should be a public enquiry. Statements first reported by independent eye witnesses on the day of the shooting seem to have been covered up, and only now are resurfacing. A most unsatisfactory state.
The opinion of the Metropolitan Police Authority member Jenny Jones is correct. The police must come clean from this episode in which an innocent person has been killed. A public inquiry will make the minority community feel assured and any doubt about the integrity of the police will thereby be removed. Everyone understands the circumstances and stress in which the police had to act but still the police must ensure that no such mistakes occur in the future.
Srinivasan Toft , Denmark
The IPCC should be left to do it's inquiry without interference from the police commissioner, politicians and especially the general public. Crying out for a public inquiry for everything that happens in our country just because it appears on the news is not sensible or feasible, especially in a critical time such as this.
Andrew, Middlesex, UK
Mrs Pierce is making quite outrageous statements. She seems to suggest that the enquiry should be rushed and that the leak was a positive development. The information leaked might well have been selected just to cause trouble. A full and thorough enquiry takes time. This is not a small task, as one can tell from clearly contradictory statements from various witnesses. The lady is obviously trying engross herself with the press. Outrageous.
Louis Lemieux, London
This issue is a direct concern for all British citizens - if one innocent man can be shot while boarding a tube train, the entire country needs to know exactly what happened, in order to reduce the chances of such a tragedy from ever happening again.
Steve Jones, Oxford, UK
First of all, most people knew, despite what the police said and what the media reported, that this was a mistake by the police, secondly, one only had to look at the "explanations" of the police to know that their excuse for shooting did make any sense. I am the first to praise people, including the police, when it is merited; however in this case the police are entirely at fault here. Instead of taking true responsibility for the actions they tried woefully to cover it up and that just makes it worse. More worrying still is the lack of true investigative journalism within the British Press today.
There is no need for an inquiry. The anger and criticism should be directed at the bombers not the police. The police should not be under any threat of facing any charges - they were carrying out their duty.
Patricia H, Maidenhead, Berks
From what's been leaked it's safe to say the police can't be trusted to tell the truth, the inquiry needs to be public so that the public can be made aware of the extent the police have mislead us.
James, Hull, UK
The problem with a public enquiry is that it makes it almost impossible to bring charges if it turns out that those involved in this shooting have behaved with criminal negligence. Also, I think that a 'properly' conducted and 'independent' inquiry is better able to discover the truth. The problem is, how can the public be sure that the inquiry is independent without openness?
This enquiry should not be made public at this time. The police should be getting our support, not our derision. We're currently at war, or should it take the next bomb to remind us of that?
Alastair Johnson, London, UK
We can only be assured that the police acted in good faith if the enquiry is public. Otherwise it will be hard to trust the police, whatever the outcome.
AJ, London, UK