Wednesday, September 05, 2012

British cop ‘shot suspect six times in less than a second’

Azelle Rodney (above) was clearly a crook but police are not executioners

A police officer fired eight shots at a suspect less than a second after pulling up beside him in a car, an inquiry was told today.

Azelle Rodney was hit six times and killed “instantly” when Met officers carried out a “hard stop” on the VW Golf he was travelling in with two other men in Edgware.

Police believed they were on their way to commit an armed robbery linked to drugs.

There have been several investigations into the incident on April 30, 2005, and the family of Mr Rodney, 24, have repeatedly called for justice.

At the start of a 10-week inquiry, Ashley Underwood QC said that the officer who fired, known only as E7, was in the front passenger seat of an unmarked police car that stopped level with the driver’s side rear window of the Golf.

He said: “Within less than a second of the car containing the officer coming to a halt, he opened fire with a carbine. He fired eight shots rapidly. Of these, six shots hit Mr Rodney. He was killed more or less instantly.”

The hearing was played a video recording of the incident made by another officer, named as E12. It showed the moments leading up to Mr Rodney’s death, including a convoy of unmarked police cars driving through residential streets.

As the Golf was brought to a halt, shots could be heard but the shooting could not be seen. Just before the shots were fired, an officer is heard saying: “We’re looking to do it at the roundabout if he stops.”

Another voice says: “We’re going in.” After the shots are heard, an officer appears to say: “Sweet as, sweet as.” An inquiry is being held instead of an inquest because sensitive evidence would have had to be kept from a coroner. It is the first time that such an inquiry has been held over a police shooting.

Mr Rodney’s family, including his mother Susan Alexander, family left the High Court courtroom as distressing photographs were shown of the car after the shooting. The hearing is taking place at the Principal Registry of the Family Division.

Mr Underwood said that three guns were found in the Golf and that a ballistics expert at the scene found that a Colt 45 on the rear seat was not loaded and was incapable of firing.

A second gun, a Baikal pistol, was wrapped in a scarf inside a rucksack in the rear footwell. It was fitted with a magazine containing four live rounds. It was not cocked, and its safety catch was on. The other gun, which looked like a car key fob, was wrapped in a glove in the same rucksack. It was loaded with two rounds. It was cocked and the safety catch was off. There was also a pair of handcuffs in the boot.

The other two occupants of the car, Wesley Lovell and Frank Graham, were arrested and pleaded guilty to possessing the guns and ammunition.

Original report here

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