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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 December 2005, 01:52 GMT
Gun officer 'should face charges'
Azelle Rodney
The IPCC probe into Mr Rodney's death is drawing to a close
The family of a man shot dead by police during an operation are calling for the officers involved to be prosecuted.

Azelle Rodney, 24, of west London, was killed by a police marksman last April in Edgware, north-west London.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has just finished its inquiry and is now considering referring the case for prosecution.

But the family are claiming that the IPCC did not have full access to the case details.

Mr Rodney was a rear seat passenger in a car that was being followed by police in a pre-planned operation involving 25 officers.

If an officer makes an honest mistake... a criminal jury should decide whether the mistakes amount to gross negligence
Susan Alexander

He was shot when Metropolitan Police marksmen surrounded the vehicle in Hale Lane, Burnt Oak, Edgware.

But the officer who pulled the trigger, who has not been named, has not given any evidence to the IPCC inquiry.

Although the incident statement he made to superiors on the day in question has been submitted.

The officer, known only to the family as E7, has not been suspended but has been moved off firearms duty, said the Met Police who would not comment further on the case.

The family are also concerned that police said initially that Mr Rodney had a firearm when he was shot.

This claim has not since been repeated by officers to the family, but the false impression given in public has not been corrected either by the Metropolitan Police or the IPCC, the family says.

Fight for justice

The family's solicitor Daniel Machover said: "The bottom line is they put out this misleading statement which was interpreted in exactly the way they expected it to be."

Mr Rodney's mother Susan Alexander said: "The family have today challenged the IPCC to answer how can it ever be right for the police to shoot someone when the suspect does not present a visual threat to anyone?

"The Crown Prosecution Service should be asked if there is evidence to support criminal charges of murder or gross negligence and manslaughter.

"If an officer makes an honest mistake and others have made mistakes along the way in a police operation, a criminal jury should decide whether the mistakes amount to gross negligence, not an independent 'police expert'."

About 25 officers including the Met's specialist firearms unit were involved the operation last April in which Mr Rodney lost his life.

Two other men in the car were arrested over suspected possession of a firearm. Their cases are currently going through court.

Police shootings

But, the family claims, the related criminal case against these two men who were in the front of the car in which Mr Rodney died has not been submitted to the IPCC investigation.

The IPCC said its investigation was now drawing to a close as the inquiry report was submitted to Commissioner John Wadham on 13 December.

Mr Wadham said: "I hope to conclude my part of this process as quickly as possible and I explained this to Mr Rodney's family.

"I will now be considering whether to submit the investigation report to the Crown Prosecution Service."

Pressure group Inquest is assisting the family in its fight for justice and information about Mr Rodney's death.

Co-director Helen Shaw said: "There have been 17 fatal police shootings since 2000.

"Inquest urges that the death of Azelle Rodney should be thoroughly and impartially investigated to ensure that his family obtains the justice they deserve."


SEE ALSO:
Policeman moved after gun death
01 May 05 |  London


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