Azelle Rodney ‘Unlawfully Killed’ By Police

English: Armoured Jankel Guardian riot truck i...
English: Armoured Jankel Guardian riot truck in London (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: London
English: London (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
MPS officers responding to an emergency call i...
MPS officers responding to an emergency call in a police car in 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Independent Police Complaints Commission
Independent Police Complaints Commission (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An inquiry into the death of a man shot dead by police eight years ago has concluded that he was unlawfully killed.
Azelle Rodney, who was 24, died after the car he was in was stopped by armed officers in London.
An official report found the police marksman who shot Mr Rodney had no reason to believe he had picked up a weapon – so there was “no lawful justification” for killing him.
The officer who fired the fatal shots could now face criminal charges after the case was referred to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
Mr Rodney’s mother Susan Alexander said the report backed her view that her son was “executed” and demanded an apology from Scotland Yard.
Former High Court judge Sir Christopher Holland released his findings following the public inquiry into the shooting in Edgware, north London in 2005.
The VW Golf in which the victim was travelling with two other men was stopped by officers who feared the trio were on their way to stage an armed heist on Colombian drug dealers and had an automatic weapon capable of firing 1,000 rounds per minute.
Mr Rodney was shot six times, once each in the arm and back and four times in the head.
Sir Christopher’s critical conclusions raise the possibility of the officer, known only as E7, facing criminal charges for the shooting.
He found that even if the armed officer believed Mr Rodney had picked up a weapon, it was disproportionate to fire the four fatal head shots.
E7 told the inquiry that he had seen Mr Rodney start moving around, reaching down and then coming back up with his shoulders hunched.
But Sir Christopher’s report dismissed this account, which was also contradicted by eyewitnesses.
It said: “E7’s accounts of what he saw are not to be accepted. Prior to firing he did not believe that the man who turned out to be Azelle Rodney had picked up a gun and was about to use it.
“Further, on the basis of what he was able to see, he could not rationally have believed that.”
The officer has written to the inquiry to claim that the findings against him are ” irrational”.
Three guns were found in the Golf – a Colt .45 calibre pistol, a Baikal pistol and a smaller gun that looked like a key fob.
The Colt was not loaded, the Baikal was loaded but was not cocked and the safety catch was on, and the key fob gun was loaded, cocked and the safety catch was off.
During the 11-week public inquiry it emerged that E7 had previously shot two men dead during an incident in the 1980s, and injured another two.
Inquests into the men’s deaths later found that they had been lawfully killed, and the officer received a commendation from the-then Metropolitan Police Commissioner for his conduct.
The two injured men were later tried and jailed.
Sir Christopher found that Operation Tayport, which led to Mr Rodney’s death, was not run in a way that would minimise the threat to life.
He also concluded that the “hard stop” on the Golf “fell short of the standards set by the MPS”.
Drivers were not supposed to deliberately ram the suspect car but two of the police cars did.
The firearms officers were also supposed to be wearing police caps, but the two that could be seen in a video of the shooting were not.
Two officers also fired rounds into the tyres of the Golf after it had been rammed and hemmed in by unmarked police cars.
Sir Christopher has recommended that Scotland Yard now nominates a senior officer to carry out a review of the operation.
Speaking after the report was published, Mr Rodney’s mother Susan Alexander said: “I do not seek to justify what Azelle was doing on the day he died, but he was entitled to be apprehended and, if there was evidence, to be charged and brought before a court of law to face trial before a jury.
“The fact that he was strongly suspected in being involved in crime does not justify him or anyone else being summarily killed.”
She said she did not want any further delays in investigating what happened to her son, and asked for apologies from the police and watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said: “I have read the findings carefully and want to express my personal sympathy to Mr Rodney’s family.
“The MPS deeply regrets his death, and I recognise how distressing the inquiry must have been for them.”
He said the force accepts recommendations made by Sir Christopher about how officers are debriefed after firearms operations.
The CPS said in a statement: “Following the publication of the report into Mr Rodney’s death, the IPCC has written to the Director of Public Prosecutions to ask that we review the case in light of new evidence provided to the Public Inquiry.
“This review will be completed as soon as practicable, in close liaison with the IPCC and in accordance with the Attorney General’s undertaking to the inquiry.”


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s