Socialist Worker

Met backs challenge by the cop who shot Azelle Rodney

by Annette Mackin
Issue No. 2367


Susan Alexander and her team after the release of the report into her son’s death

Susan Alexander and her team after the release of the report into her son’s death (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Scotland Yard is backing a legal challenge by the police marksman who shot and killed Azelle Rodney. Police hope to have the “unlawful killing” inquiry verdict overturned.

The cop, only known as “E7”, could face prosecution after an inquiry published in July found that there was no “lawful” justification for his shooting of Azelle.

Azelle died after E7 shot him six times in under two seconds in 2005.

Police claim they believed Azelle and two friends were on their way to rob Colombian drug dealers at gun point. 

Cops performed a “hard stop” on the car the men were travelling in. E7 began shooting before his unmarked police car had fully stopped. 

The officer’s claims that he thought he saw Azelle reaching for a gun were slammed by retired judge Sir Christopher Holland in his inquiry into his death.

The report found that E7 had a “very restricted” view of Azelle and would not have known whether he had reached for a weapon.

Holland said that the officer’s account of what he saw was “not to be accepted”. He said the officer “could not rationally have believed” that Azelle had reached for a weapon. 

The report confirmed that Azelle was unarmed and said that even if E7 had a sufficient view of Azelle, he did not pose a sufficient threat to warrant being shot.

The verdict was a huge victory for Azelle’s family, who fought for eight years to get justice. 

Azelle’s mother Susan Alexander demanded an apology from the Met but they have not apologised.

Now Britain’s most senior police officer Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has said that he will broadly support E7, now retired, during his legal challenge.

The inquest into the death of Mark Duggan, another young black man killed by a police marksman, is set to take place on 16 September.

Campaigners saw the unlawful killing verdict in the Azelle Rodney inquiry as a positive indication for the outcome of Mark’s inquest.


Sean Rigg's family to hold memorial

The family of Sean Rigg plan to hold a memorial outside Brixton police station, south London on Wednesday of this week. This will mark five years since his death in police custody.

“Sean’s memorials always have a vibe of their own,” his sister, Samantha Rigg-David, told Socialist Worker.

“We are having a very low key family gathering. We’re going to light candles at the tree outside the station.”

Sean was suffering a psychotic episode when he was restrained in Brixton police station. He died later that night. 

His family are fighting for answers to what happened to the 40 year old musician. 

An independent review is underway into the Independent Police Complaints Commission’s handling of Sean’s death in police custody. 

It will also examine whether any officer should face charges over  Sean’s arrest, restraint and death.

 


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