Calls for London chief to quit
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Pressure was growing on London's police chief to resign as a panel investigating the shooting death of an innocent Brazilian man mistaken for a bombing suspect met with his family's lawyers.
One member of the victim's family has described the July 22 police shooting as "murder" and called for the officers who killed Jean Charles de Menezes to be "sent to jail for life."
The developments follow a TV news report citing leaked documents and photographs that contradict witness and police statements that the 27-year-old electrician was dressed and behaving suspiciously. (Full story)
ITV News reported Tuesday that de Menezes was not carrying any bags when he entered the Stockwell Tube station where he was killed and was wearing a denim jacket, rather than a bulky coat as police had previously said.
De Menezes walked at a normal pace, did not vault any barriers and even stopped to pick up a newspaper, ITV reported.
He descended to the train slowly on an escalator, then ran toward the open subway car and took a seat, according to ITV, which based its account on a document outlining what was captured on surveillance footage.
De Menezes was shot eight times after being cornered in a subway car a day after four failed attempts to bomb London's transport system and two weeks after bombs killed 52 people and four bombers on a bus and three Tube trains.
Police later admitted de Menezes had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks and apologized to his family and the Brazilian government.
Supporters of de Menezes' family said Scotland Yard chief Ian Blair must resign if he is found to have deliberately misled them over the killing.
On Wednesday, former Cabinet minister Frank Dobson added to the pressure on the police commissioner, saying his position was "very difficult" as he was partly responsible for people being misled.
Police "have allowed the false impression, the misleading impression that this man was behaving suspiciously" which was "very disturbing," said Dobson, a Labour MP from London who served as Prime Minister Tony Blair's health secretary in the late 1990s.
Dobson said the prime minister would have been unlikely to give the police such firm backing in the way he did if the truth had been known, the UK's Press Association reported.
Asad Rehman of the Justice4Jean campaign said that if Ian Blair was found to have misled the de Menezes family, his position would be "no longer tenable."
He said the commissioner must take responsibility for his force's controversial shoot-to-kill policy.
"It is clear that the buck stops with him," Rehman told PA. "He has to bear responsibility for the failure of this policy and for the incidents of that day."
De Menezes' family and lawyers have called for a judicial inquiry into his death. (Full story)
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which is investigating the killing, promised a "thorough and impartial" investigation into the shooting, PA reported.
On Thursday, lawyers for de Menezes' family met with the IPCC and demanded that the police watchdog conduct a fast investigation.
"This has been a chaotic mess," lawyer Gareth Peirce said after the meeting in London.
"What we have asked the IPCC to find out is how much is incompetence, negligence or gross negligence and how much of it is something sinister."
"There are very large policy issues here that require public debate and they require it urgently. "One of the things we asked the IPCC to investigate is: Are there lies that have been told? Who told them?"
"And," added family lawyer Harriet Wistrich, " why have they been allowed to remain on the record for so long?"
The lawyers said that IPCC officials had not been able to explain why misinformation about de Menezes's death had been put into the public domain or why it had not been corrected.
Peirce said her major concern remained why the independent body had not been called in immediately to begin its inquiry.
"We expressed our extreme concern that although they (the IPCC) have a statutory duty to investigate from the very moment of a fatal death at the hands of the state, they were not there," she said.
"We know not whether it was the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police or the Home Secretary or both (who) delayed their advent into the case. We have asked for a fast investigation on behalf of the family."
One of the IPCC's commissioners, Mehmuda Mian Pritchard, who is working on the case, described it as a "very constructive meeting."
Earlier, Wistrich told ITV: "Sir Ian Blair should resign. The lies that appear to have been put out, like the statement from Sir Ian Blair for instance, are clearly wrong. And nobody has stepped in to correct the lies."
Scotland Yard said Commissioner Blair had written to the Home Office on the morning of de Menezes' death "to clarify the role of IPCC if, as it then appeared," the shooting involved a suicide bomber who had been involved in the previous day's attempted bombings.
"This was because it was crucial that the terrorist investigation took precedence over any IPCC investigation at that time," the force said.
The Home Office has declined to discuss the leaked document.
Meanwhile, de Menezes' cousin Alex Alvez Pereira told London's Evening Standard newspaper: "The officers who have done this have to be sent to jail for life because it's murder and the people who gave them the order to shoot must be punished.
"We won't rest until we have justice, even if it takes years."
The Crown Prosecution Service, which is responsible for deciding whether to prosecute any of the officers involved, said it was "too soon" to be talking about possible charges, PA reported.
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