Socialist Worker

Azelle Rodney cop walks free after trial

by Annette Mackin
Issue No. 2461

A press conference after a report in 2013 into Azelle Rodney’s death

A press conference after a report in 2013 into Azelle Rodney’s death (Pic: Guy Smallman )


A former cop has been cleared of the murder of a man he shot on sight, including four times in the head.

Anthony Long killed Azelle Rodney in north London in 2005. Police had followed the car Azelle and two other men were travelling in and forced it to a hard stop in Hale Lane, Edgware.

Long said he killed Azelle in self-defence because he believed him to be armed and about to shoot. 

He fired eight rounds at the car and admitted to the Old Bailey trial that he did not see Azelle with a weapon.

Azelle sustained injuries to his right upper arm, back, right ear, top of his skull and the right side of his chest.

He was shot first in his arm and sustained the subsequent injuries as he collapsed and became slumped in the back seat of the car.

In 2013 retired high court judge Sir Christopher Holland carried out a report which slammed the cops and found no “lawful” justification for shooting to kill Azelle.

Holland’s report said that, had the shooting stopped after the injury to Azelle’s arm, he would have lived.

Upright 

Long said he continued shooting because Azelle was still sitting upright and posed a threat. 

Holland said the shots were aimed at a “dead or dying man”.

The trial also heard audio recording of the shooting that contradicted Long’s plea of self-defence.

This showed that it could not be possible for Long to have witnessed all the movements he said Azelle made, assessed that he was about to shoot, decided to open fire, and fire eight times.

The recording of the shooting also recorded another officer saying, “Sweet as, sweet as” as a gun was discharged.

Azelle was the third suspect Long had killed in his career as a police marksman. Azelle’s case is the third high profile police shooting in ten years.

In 2005 police also shot and killed Jean Charles de Menezes. No officer was charged for his murder.

And in 2011 a cop shot and killed Mark Duggan. 

He argued that he had an “honest held belief” that his life or those of others were in danger and did not face a murder charge.

 


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