The grim fifth anniversary of of the death of Jean Charles de Menezes, the young Brazilian shot in the head seven times at Stockwell tube station 22 July 2005, is in just under two months and even after five years, it seems the state continues to enjoy pouring insult after insult onto his family.
A week ago it was announced that the the senior officer who oversaw the operation, Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick, will receive the Queen's Police Medal for 'distinguished service'. Now her former boss, the Labour-friendly ex-Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair, has been made a cross-bench life peer in Gordon Brown's Dissolution Honours List.
Quite how someone, who deliberately delayed an investigation into a hugely controversial death and whose force was found to have made nineteen catastrophic errors that endangered the lives of Londoners, could ever been viewed as fit to serve in the House of Lords, or provide the benefits of his 'specialist knowledge', is quite beyond me. Once again, it rather makes the case for the abolition of the Lords so that such blatant acts of patronage are no longer possible.
This is Brown's final insult to the Menezes family, who are understandably horrified. This is the text of the press release they issued yesterday:
MENEZES FAMILY 'DISGUSTED' AT BLAIR PEERAGE
The family of Jean Charles de Menezes reacted with disgust at the announcement today that Ian Blair is to be given a peerage.
Ian Blair was the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in July 2005 when Jean Charles, an innocent 27 year old Brazilian, was shot seven times in the head at Stockwell tube station during a disastrous anti-terrorism operation.
Vivian Figuereda, cousin of Jean Charles de Menezes, who lived with him at the time of his death said:
“We are disgusted at this decision. As Commissioner, we believe Ian Blair was ultimately accountable for the death of Jean, for the lies told and the cover up. He even tried to stop the IPCC investigating our cousin’s death. This is a final slap in the face for our family.”
A spokesperson for the J4J campaign said
“This seems like a final flourish of a discredited Parliamentary system handing out tawdry awards to political allies and cronies. Actions like this only reinforce the impression that politicians remain detached from the views of ordinary British people.
The peerage system should be seen as recognition of a long and distinguished service to the people of Britain. By handing this award to Ian Blair, a man who presided over and attempted to cover up, one of the darkest moments in the recent history of the Metropolitan Police, the death of an innocent man gunned down as he went about his lawful business, it has diminished the whole peerage system itself.
That we expect a man who failed in his most fundamental duty to ‘serve and protect’ the lives of the London’s citizens should now be in a position to decide the very laws he failed to uphold as Commissioner should cause us all great concern.
And as Ian Blair puts on his robes of ermine, he would do well to bow his head and remember the family of Jean Charles, whose lives he has changed forever.”