De Menezes: the final humiliation

No police accountable; reduced payout to "poor" family

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First, we learn that the police covered up the details surrounding the 2005 shooting of the innocent Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes.

Next, we learn -- no surprise, given the police's record -- that not a single officer or police chief will be held to account over the death.

Now, today, comes the final humiliation for the de Menezes family: news that the amount of compensation relatives will receive will be reduced because they are "poor". According to the London Evening Standard:

Today it was claimed that the family of the Brazilian, who was mistaken for a suicide bomber and shot seven times in the head at Stockwell Tube station, may receive only around £100,000.

It is alleged that lawyers for Scotland Yard and the family have reached an out-of-court settlement.

Although the amount is covered by a confidentiality clause, it has been alleged that it would have been much higher if Mr de Menezes, 27, had left a widow and children or came from a wealthy family.

But when he died on 22 June in 2005, his parents were living in a one-bedroom house deep in the Brazilian rainforest.

Excuse me? If this is true, can the police explain the logic? Surely the poverty of his family should mean a greater, not smaller, payout.

As I first wrote in 2007, this tragic affair could turn out to be one of the great public scandals of the decade.

 

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James Macintyre is political correspondent for the New Statesman.
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