By Jaylan Boyle, Senior Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – The family of Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian national shot dead by London police in 2005, has settled ongoing litigation and been awarded damages, the sum of which is officially not being disclosed; some sources however are claiming the payment amounts to around £100,000 pounds (US$166,000).
Jean Charles de Menezes was shot seven times in the head by members of the Metro Police’s armed CO19 unit at Stockwell tube station, in south London. An electrician, he was on his way to work when he boarded a train early on the morning of 22 July 2005, but had been mistakenly identified by surveillance personnel as Hussain Osman, one of the terrorist bombers who the day before had failed to detonate several devices on London’s transit system. Osman and three others were subsequently apprehended and received life sentences.
At the time of the tragic shooting, London was in a state of high tension as police were feverishly searching for the group of four terrorists who had sought to bring about a repeat of the destruction of earlier that month, when suicide bombers set off explosives on buses and subway trains that killed 52 people. The copycat bombers however failed to detonate their devices.
The case became highly contentious in the months and years that followed the death of Mr. de Menezes, as it became clear that officers involved in the tragedy had fabricated or exaggerated parts of their initial version of events, in particular that Mr. de Menezes had been acting suspiciously and had tried to run away from officers pursuing him. In fact, eyewitness testimony and security camera footage proved that he had calmly boarded the train and was unaware that he was under surveillance.
Although most sources have said that the amount awarded to Mr de Menezes’ family has not been revealed, London’s Daily Mail reported that around US$166,000 had been granted. The newspaper further said that the amount was relatively low because authorities had calculated that Mr. de Menezes’ family would not have received much assistance from him, due to his low income, and because he was not married and had no dependents.
Many commentators have pointed out that the amount received by de Menezes’ family falls well short of the US$650,000 that the much-criticized Sir Ian Blair, then serving chief of London’s Metropolitan Police, collected when he left office. The scandal that followed the tragic shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes ultimately contributed to Sir Ian Blair’s forced resignation.