Sunday, July 24, 2005

Police use of Deadly Force in London

Fox News is a little more police-friendly than CNN with their articles on the shooting of a suspect, Jean Charles de Menezes, in London.

The link on CNN’s home page is “London police chief regrets fatal shooting.” Fox’s home page featured story link to the article is “Deadly force defended.”

CNN’s headline is “Police chief 'regrets' London shooting.” There is a smaller font sub-headline that says, “Ian Blair defends policy of killing suspected suicide bombers.” Fox on the other hand has a headline that does not mention “regret.” It says, “Cops Address Fatal Shooting, Defend Deadly Force.”

The opening sentences are similar with “regret” used in both. CNN continues on with more information about the shooting including statements from the police and then information from the cousin and family of Menezes. Fox, after the first sentence, talks about the similarity between the recent bombings and the bombings of 7/7. Fox also notes that, “Later Sunday, relatives and friends of people killed in those explosions planned to visit the sites of the attacks after a police briefing on the state of the investigation.” This reminder of the victims’ families may put more emphasis behind the police deadly force policy. Later in the article, Fox gets back to the Menezes shooting.

The police commissioner is quoted in both articles but Fox provides more. CNN has the following:

"To the family, I can only offer our deepest regrets," Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair said Sunday.

"I think we are quite comfortable that the policy is right, but of course these are fantastically difficult times," Blair told Sky Television.

"It's still happening out there, there are still officers having to make those calls as we speak, he said, adding: "Somebody else could be shot."

Notice CNN’s “somebody else could be shot” which could be rather alarming for some. Fox does not use that quote and Fox has much more information from the police commissioner that supports the police’s policy:

"This is a tragedy," Commissioner Blair said of the shooting. "The Metropolitan Police accepts full responsibility for this. To the family I can only express my deep regrets."

He defended the officers' shooting to kill, saying such action only applied when lives were believed to be at risk.

"I am very aware that minority communities are talking about a shoot to kill policy; it's only a shoot to kill in order to protect policy," he said.

British police had drawn from the experience of other countries that have had to deal with suicide attackers, he said.

"It is drawn from experience from other countries, including Sri Lanka. The only way to deal with this is to shoot to the head," Blair said. "There is no point in shooting at someone's chest because that is where the bomb is likely to be," Blair said.

Blair spoke of the problem his officers faced.

"What we have got to recognize is that people are taking incredibly difficult fast-time decisions in life threatening situations," he said. "... What's most important to recognize is that it's still happening out there. There are still officers out there having to make those calls as we speak."

Police said Menezes attracted police attention because he left a building that was under surveillance after Thursday's attacks. They said he was then followed by surveillance officers to the station, and that his clothing and his behavior at the station added to their suspicions.

Fox does note that two civil rights groups in the UK will be investigating the shooting.

Links to the articles:,2933,163466,00.html

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