Socialist Worker

Inquiry into police killing of Anthony Grainger opens

by Eleanor Claxton-Mayer
Issue No. 2538

A public inquiry into the death of Anthony Grainger, a mechanic and father of two from Bolton, began last Tuesday.

A firearms officer from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) shot Anthony dead in Culceth, Cheshire, on 3 March 2012.

Armed police had moved to arrest three men in a stolen Audi.

This was part of Operation Shire, which police launched in 2011 to investigate the group for suspected armed robberies.

Police arrested David Totton and Joseph Travers, who were sat in the car, at the scene and Robert Rimmer the following day.

All three were cleared of armed robbery following a trial in September 2012.

Judge Teague QC, chair of the inquiry, has ruled that the police officer who shot Anthony will be kept anonymous and named only as Q9.

An inquest into Anthony’s death was adjourned in 2012 until the results of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation.

A final investigation by the IPCC found in 2013 that there was evidence Q9 may have committed a criminal offence. This was referred to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

The CPS did not charge Q9, deciding that a jury would conclude that the officer’s decisions were necessary.

Theresa May, then home secretary, converted the inquest into a public inquiry, without a jury, last March.

This is only the second time there has been a full public inquiry into a fatal police shooting in England and Wales.

Shot

Q9 fired a single shot at Anthony, while Anthony was being challenged by another officer. Q9 said in his written opening statement to the inquiry, “I saw the driver lower his right hand… It was a deliberate movement as if to grab a firearm.”

Jason Beer QC is lead counsel for the inquiry. He said in his opening statement, “No firearms or other weapons were recovered from the vehicle or from any of the occupants or subsequently following a search of their homes.”

In his witness statement to the IPCC in 2012, Travers said that police “gave no warning prior to shooting through the windscreen.”

Beer said that Anthony was previously jailed for 18 months for stealing a car.

In another investigation, Anthony was arrested on suspicion of assault but was not charged.

Beer told the inquiry that GMP used this information to keep “warning markers” on Anthony, despite the fact that he had not been convicted of any violent offences.

Some 16 firearms officers in unmarked police vehicles were involved. The inquiry heard that the officers “conferred about their statements”, according to the IPCC 2013 report.

It said that the operation “relied too heavily on out of date intelligence”.

This “did not support a reasonable view” that Anthony was violent or involved in armed robberies.

The IPCC concluded that firing at the car’s tyres was not necessary. They found that the use of a CS gas

canister was not appropriate and had not been authorised by the home secretary.

There will be two weeks of closed hearings at the public inquiry for police to give secret evidence.

Anthony’s family said they have been kept in the dark for the past five years over his death.

The family’s opening statement to the inquiry says they want “nothing less than the complete story of how their unarmed son, brother and father was killed”.


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News
Tue 24 Jan 2017, 14:49 GMT
Issue No. 2538
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