Saturday, August 02, 2014

British cop who shot dead suspected gangster Azelle Rodney charged with murder

A police marksman who shot dead a suspected gangster during an anti-drugs operation has been charged with murder, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has announced.

Azelle Rodney died after police opened fire on the car he was a passenger in during a ‘hard stop’ outside a pub in north London in April 2005.

The 24-year-old died had been travelling in a car with two other men, who police feared were on their way to rob Colombian drug dealers.

Mr Rodney was hit six times in less than two seconds, taking four bullets to the head.

The circumstances of the shooting were initially investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and first passed to the CPS in 2006.

But prosecutors concluded that there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone in connection with Mr Rodney’s death.

However a public inquiry, which published its findings last July, concluded that the firearms officer who fired the fatal shots, and has only been identified as E7, had "no lawful justification" for opening fire.

After re-examining the case, the CPS has now announced that there is enough evidence to charge officer E7 with murder.

In a statement, Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said: "Azelle Rodney died after the discharge of a police firearm on 30 April 2005.

"Following the outcome of the public inquiry, the Independent Police Complaints Commission re-referred the matter to the CPS, providing us with the evidence previously gathered and the further evidence and material which has emerged since the initial referral.

"We have carefully considered the new file of evidence submitted to us and have decided that a former Metropolitan Police officer, currently identified only as E7, will be prosecuted for murder.

"The individual currently has anonymity granted under section 19(2)(b) of the Inquiries Act 2005, made on 16 January 2012 by the chairman of the inquiry.

"The decision to prosecute was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors. We have determined that there is a realistic prospect of conviction and that a prosecution is in the public interest.

"E7 will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court for a preliminary hearing on Wednesday, 10 September 2014."

Mr Rodney's mother Susan Alexander said: "I am very pleased at the CPS's decision to prosecute the officer who killed my son. I have waited a long time to see this day and hope this prosecution will lead to justice for Azelle."

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: "The Crown Prosecution Service has today, 30 July, announced its decision that a former Metropolitan Police firearms officer should be charged with murder over the death of Azelle Rodney in 2005.

"The former officer was granted anonymity at the public inquiry into Mr Rodney's death and was referred to as E7. As criminal proceedings are now active, it would be inappropriate to comment further on this case at this time.

"The MPS runs firearms operations daily to take guns off the streets. Our officers are highly-trained and professional and fire shots only once or twice a year. We accept that where this happens, our officers will be subject to detailed scrutiny.

"We keep our firearms tactics constantly under review and have accepted the recommendations made by the public inquiry into Azelle Rodney's death."

Keith Vaz MP, the chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said: "This is an important step towards justice. No one is above the law and where there is evidence that someone may have committed a crime they deserve to face a full and fair trial.

"Firearms officers do an incredibly difficult job under extreme pressure but when things go wrong people must be held to account for their actions."

Original report here




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