Over 100 police officers were involved in a covert surveillance operation of an innocent man weeks before he was shot dead by the same force.
Police suspected that Anthony Grainger had burgled an officers’ home.
During the burglary a memory stick with names and addresses of police informants, and details of officers, was stolen.
Police suspected Anthony and questioned him. But on 6 January last year they dropped the case and told him he would not be charged.
Internal police reports leaked to the press last week show that just two days later, the same force launched Operation Shire. This covert surveillance operation followed Anthony and two other men.
The investigation was detailed enough that one log describes the outfit a woman wore in a restaurant with one of the men.
None of the logs describe the men carrying weapons or suggest the police suspected they were carrying them.
Yet a briefing from a senior police officer in Operation Shire to an armed response team claimed that the men were highly dangerous and likely to shoot at police.
It was this team that followed the car Anthony was in on 4 March last year to a car park outside Manchester.
Armed police surrounded it. It has emerged from a leaked statement that one officer, known only as Q9, opened fire into Anthony’s chest. The shot killed him.
Q9 claims that Anthony moved suddenly when his car was surrounded and that he feared he was reaching for a weapon.
But other leaked police statements say he moved slowly.
Anthony was unarmed. This mirrors evidence given by police at the public inquiry into the death of Azelle Rodney in 2005.
Azelle was unarmed and barely moved in the back of the vehicle he was in. An officer shot seven bullets into the back of the car, killing Azelle, claiming that he saw Azelle reach forward.
Police said that Anthony and the two other men in the car were on their way to carry out an armed robbery.
In all, three men were charged with conspiracy to commit armed robbery last March. A jury took just 45 minutes to find them not guilty last September.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission has taken witness statements from the police officers involved but has yet to deliver its report.
Anthony’s mother Marina Schofield joined the United Families and Friends campaign against deaths in police custody. She has spoken out about her son’s death.
After the trial result she told Socialist Worker, “The police had no right to take Anthony’s life. He’s left two kids behind.
“The government needs to wake up and get rid of these police. It’s all wrong.
“He was my son, and no mother should have to go through this.”