A permanent memorial to Jean Charles de Menezes was unveiled today at Stockwell tube station where he was killed on 22 July 2005, two weeks after the London bombings of 7 July 2005, in which 56 people died.

De Menezes, a Brazilian electrician, was shot in the head seven times at close range by the London Metropolitan Police (Met) who allegedly misidentified him as a suicide bomber about to detonate a device in the London Underground.

On 16 August 2005, the Jean Charles de Menezes Family Campaign, also known as "Justice4Jean", began calling for a public inquiry into the shooting. The Justice4Jean campaign stated its aims as being to:
- find out the truth about Jean’s unlawful killing
- bring those responsible for his death to justice
- end the ‘Shoot to Kill’ policy and so prevent a similar tragedy happening again.

The inquest opened on 22 September 2008; the jury heard from 100 witnesses, including the two specialist firearms officers who shot de Menezes dead at point-blank range.

The evidence in the 10-week hearing suggested a litany of serious errors by the Met, including the suggestion that firearms officers colluded and lied when they insisted they shouted "armed police" to de Menezes. Every civilian in the carriage at the time he was killed has denied such a warning was given.

A composite image of terrorist suspect Hussain Osman (left) and Jean Charles de Menezes. It was claimed during the trial that the image had been manipulated to make the two faces look more alike.

Other evidence revealed no officer had ever conclusively identified Jean Charles de Menezes as the terrorist suspect, Hussain Osman, before specialist firearms officers were sent on "code red" into the tube to stop him

On 12 December 2008 the jury rejected Scotland Yard’s claim that de Menezes was lawfully killed as part of an anti-terrorism operation. However, banned by the coroner, Sir Michael Wright, from returning a verdict of unlawful killing, the five men and five women decided on an open verdict – the most critical that was available to them.

Harriet Wistrich, solicitor for the de Menezes family, said the officers who claimed to have shouted warnings should be investigated for possible perjury.

In a statement, de Menezes’s cousin Patricia Armani da Silva said the jury would have gone further and recorded a verdict of unlawful killing "had they not been gagged by the coroner". The family plans to seek a judicial review over the omission of the unlawful killing verdict.

Another lingering question is whether Jean-Charles de Menezes happened to know too much about the organization of the 7 July attacks.

At today’s ceremony, a member of the de Menezes family made the following statement:

“The 7 January would have been Jean’s 31st birthday. We will be marking this day by unveiling a mosaic which will serve as a lasting legacy to the injustice that took place at Stockwell. We hope generations to come will remember Jean Charles through this memorial and it will act as a public reminder that police officers should not be above the law”.


Related articles:

 When “Eye Spy” reveals that the British police kills indiscriminately, Voltairenet, 14 November 2005.
 Assassination of J.C. de Menezes: a British journalist is arrested for contradicting Scotland Yard with graphic evidence, Voltairenet, 3 February 2006.