So goodbye to John Yates, latest “victim” of the hacking scandal; welcome his replacement, Cressida Dick, the officer who was in charge of the operation in which a real victim, Jean Charles de Menezes, was gunned down incompetently – and possibly illegally – by armed police on July 22nd, 2005.
He was mistaken for a terrorist. Her new role? Head of counter-terrorism. Sheesh.
I found myself at Stockwell Tube the other day, gazing at the rather tacky but nevertheless touching memorial to Jean Charles that has been screwed to the wall outside the station. It had just been announced that members of the de Menezes family may have had their phones hacked by News of the World journalists. Given that this is a story I’ve mentioned before and is a stain on the country that makes me ashamed to be British, I wondered if their humiliation would never end.
It seems not. Now, those in power have decided that a tragically incompetent police officer responsible for the death of an innocent young man is preferable to an bumptiously incompetent police officer responsible for failing to extend a telephone hacking investigation. Go figure.
My hope is that, in this climate of accountability that borders on public blood-letting, someone or something will link the two, and the de Menezes case will be reopened so that those who made fatally tragic errors that day will be brought to book rather than be continually promoted through the ranks. That was what the jury at the laughable inquest seemed to want; denied by the coroner the right to deliver an unlawful killing verdict, they bravely returned an open verdict, which means there are still questions to ask. In the aftermath of that judgement, everyone with power went silent; let’s hope we now get some answers, and Dick becomes yet another casualty of the hurricane blowing through the Met.
News that Moir Stewart – criticised by the IPCC for failings during the early investigation of the Jean Charles de Menezes shooting because of suggestions that he delayed crucial information that indicated an innocent man had been shot – has now been appointed as director of investigations at the same IPCC seems unbelievably crass and insensitive.
You would think that the authorities, having got off the hook time and time again over the shooting, despite a damning inquest verdict last year, would keep their heads low. But no. Instead, they seem determined to glory in their Teflon-coated status. As a result, the grieving family of Jean Charles see their concerns swept aside once more. Perhaps “insensitive” is the wrong word – it seems almost deliberately and cruelly designed to grind their faces in the mud.
One wonders if there is an element of racism here, the almost explicit statement that until these uppity foreigners stop being bothersome and get lost, the establishment will rally round to let them know who’s boss and make their lives hell.
I am tired of this affair making me ashamed of being British.