Socialist Worker

Police shooting of Azelle Rodney was “unlawful killing"

by Annette Mackin
Issue No. 2360

Susan Alexander after the release of the report into her sons death today

Susan Alexander after the release of the report into her son's death today (Pic: Socialist Worker)


The officers who shot Azelle Rodney could now face prosecution after a damning report from the official inquiry into the killing was released today, Friday. Azelle died after he was shot six times in under two seconds by a police officer in 2005. The report says that there was no “lawful” justification for shooting to kill.

Azelle’s mother Susan Alexander said after the report’s release, “Azelle’s death was wholly avoidable—I shouldn’t be sitting here now, beginning another chapter in my fight for justice for him”

He was shot in Edgware, north London in April 2005 after armed police performed a “hard stop” on the car he and two other men were travelling in.

Unmarked police cars were following the men after officers claimed to have received information that they were on their way to rob Colombian drug dealers at gunpoint.

During the inquiry into the killing, which finished at the end of last year an officer, only known as “E7”, claimed that he shot Azelle, who was in the back seat, after he saw him reaching for a gun.

However the report rejects E7’s version of events outright. It concludes that the officer had a “very restricted” view of Azelle in the car and so would not have known whether or not he had reached for a weapon.

It also states that even if E7 had a sufficient view of Azelle, he did not pose a sufficient threat to warrant being shot.

There were eight shots in total fired at Azelle. Of the six that were direct hits, the final three to his head which proved fatal.

E7 may now face prosecution.

At the inquiry last year, Susan said that her son’s death was an execution. In light of the report today she demanded an unreserved apology from the Metropolitan police and immediate action to be taken by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

She said, “I have lost too many years of my life already in trying to get justice, truth and accountability…it has taken me over eight years to get to this point”

Bernard Hogan-Howe, commissioner of the Met, today offered “sympathy” over Azelle’s death.

The IPCC’s record has not been promising in investigating this case. It initially found the conduct of the police to be virtually faultless.

It also failed to release aerial surveillance footage of the incident which could have shed light on Azelle’s killing, because it was “marginal”.


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Fri 5 Jul 2013, 18:34 BST
Issue No. 2360
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