Blog Post #1 Jean Charles de Menezes

Posted: October 13, 2011 by jas1002 in Jean Charles de Menezes

Jean Charles de Menezes was a 27 year old man who had been shot to death by several police officers. Mr. de Menezes who was a Brazilian electrician worked in London by the Metropoitan Police Service. On July 22, 2005 he was followed by the police from his home to the underground train. He had done nothing out of the ordinary but after he got into his seat on a Northern line tube train which was leaving Stockwell he was shot to death. The police shot him 8 times, 7 of those times were to De Menezes’ head. This all occurred because the police had mistaken Jean Charles for the failed suicide bomber Hussian Osman, who had attempted to bomb London on July 21, 2005.

This was the first and only time that the use of the Kratos policy of ‘shoot to kill to protect’ was enhanced. The force went against health and safety laws when they killed Jean Charles de Menezes. The officers failed to take advantage of a 30- minute window to correctly identify whether Mr.DeMenezes was a potential bomber. So, this was entirely the polices’ fault, whereas DeMenezes has done nothing wrong but was shot to death. After the whole incident occurred the Senior Met officers released inaccurate information about the shooting in the media. This was not done purposely; there was serious weakness on how the force handled critical information. Moreover, the DeMenezes family was delayed in being informed about Jean Charles death and their phone calls were temporarily restricted as well. No senior officer has been accountable personally for such catastrophic failures but, instead some key officers had been promoted. In the end, the family agreed on a compensation settlement which involved a lot of money given towards the family. But, the family still worries that this may occur again because no one has been accountable for their sons’ death.

This topic is significant because it shows how the police may make mistakes and those mistakes can cause someone’s life. Just this incident impacted the public’s view of the police tremendously. People were terrified of being killed themselves for no reason because it could have been anyone innocent.

When searching to find information about Jean Charles de Menezes there was a lot of information over the internet. When searching over google there were 4,300 results; many of these results included reports form media. There were different news sites that covered the death of DeMenezes which shows how much the public was interested in this news report. Moreover, there was a journal on the internet about the death of DeMenezes which includes everything that had occurred on that day ( Most of the sites found on the first page dated a couple years back mostly from 2005. Also, most the sites were from the UK and not from Canada this was clearly because of whereabouts this incident occurred. Wikipedia was the first site to come up as a result on google. Wikipedia had details on how everything took place that day; also it included pictures of DeMenezes, the shrine to Jean Charles de Menezes which was located outside of Stockwell underground station and a picture of Jean Charles de Menezes Mosaic outside of Stockwell station and a picture of Coroner Sir Michael Wright, a former high court judge ( Moreover, there was one cite which appeared on the first page of the google result which just had a bunch of pictures of DeMenezes and the station where everything occurred; Furthermore, most of the websites that came up were in the favour of DeMenezes and against the police. I did not find cites that were in the police side and said anything should have been changed for this not to occur again. Most of the cities are from the media who aren’t always the best resources to find information.


  1. Mike Larsen says:

    You mention that “most of the websites that came up were in the favour of DeMenezes and against the police”. This is an interesting statement. I’m sure that most of the websites were very critical of the police, and of both their initial actions and their response to the shooting. But does being critical of the police and demanding accountability mean being ‘against the police’? If so, what does this say about the pursuit of police accountability? If not, how do we distinguish between critique and ‘anti-police’ sentiment? These are important conceptual questions to address.

    How would you classify the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes according to a typology of police deviance?

    De Menezes’ death was the product of a particular context and set of assumptions – an atmosphere of hyper-vigilance in the wake of terrorist activity. What does this case teach us about police practices in crisis situations?

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