Police identified the man who was chased down in a subway and shot to death by plainclothes officers as a Brazilian and expressed regret Saturday for his death, saying they no longer believed he was tied to the recent terror bombings.As Rod Nordland points out in his article on civilian casualties in Iraq:
Friday’s shooting before horrified commuters prompted criticism of police for overreacting and expressions of fear that Asians and Muslims would be targeted by a “trigger-happy culture” after two well-coordinated attacks in two weeks.
The man shot at the Stockwell subway station was identified as Jean Charles de Menezes, 27. Witnesses said he was wearing a heavy, padded coat when plainclothes police chased him into a subway car, pinned him to the ground and shot him in the head and torso.
...Read Nordland's full story. More excerpts are below. Rather than beating up on the police for their reasonable response to a perceived threat, people should direct their anger over the innocent man's death toward those who are really responsible, an enemy who violates the Geneva Convention and the rules of war in attempts to commit war crimes against civilians.
...During that military campaign, large numbers of Saddam Fedayeen and other irregular forces foght back from the cover of civilian dress, a violation of the laws and customs of warfare. Those who died were inevitably declared civilians by their loved ones. And such forces in most places represented the bulk of the resistance against the invasion; the uniformed Iraqi military for the most part deserted and fled. And Saddam's forces, both uniformed and not, systematically took refuge in schools, mosques, hospitals, and civilian neighborhoods, using those places as firebases—a guarantee that civilians would be killed in the process. In many places, coalition troops held their fire and slowed their advance for fear of causing greater civilian loss of life. In all, 6,616 civilian fatalities are listed by the report. Even if you make the dubious assumption that all of them were truly civilians, it is not surprising that so many died. Given the tactics of the enemy, it's surprising that so few did.
Meanwhile people who look like the bombers need to carefully respond to request from police and other authorities in a very non threatening way. If they find this distastful, they should remember that it is al Qaeda that has put them at risk by its unlawful combatant status.
Another aspect of this incident involves the use of undercover police. While it makes sense to use undercover police when watching suspects, uniform police with weapons should have been on the platform so that the poor man wouldn't think he is being chased by thugs. If you are asking people to submit to authority, it is a good idea to have them look like authority.