Scotland Yard chief Sir Ian Blair says that he did not know his officers had shot an innocent man until 24 hours after Jean Charles de Menezes was killed.
The Metropolitan Police Commissioner said he first learned the 27-year-old had no connection to the attempted London transport system bombings of July 21 when a colleague told him words to the effect: “Houston, we have a problem”.
In an interview with the News of the World newspaper, Sir Ian said he immediately thought: “That’s dreadful, what we are going to do about that?”
The force has been accused of a cover-up after leaked documents from the investigation into the Brazilian’s death appeared to contradict earlier police and witness accounts of the incident at Stockwell tube station.
Menezes, an electrician, was gunned down by armed police after being mistaken for a terrorist by armed police, a day after the attempted bomb attacks.
Relatives of the victim have called on Sir Ian to resign but he has received backing from Home Secretary Charles Clarke.
“I am very happy with the conduct, not only of Sir Ian Blair, but the whole Metropolitan Police in relation to this inquiry,” he told the BBC.
“From the public order events, through to the investigation of the terrible atrocities on July 7 and 21, the Metropolitan Police have done very well.”
Mr Clarke added: “Obviously the death of Mr. de Menezes is a terrible tragedy as everybody acknowledges, and it needs to be very properly and fully investigated, which is what the Independent – I emphasize the Independent – Police Complaints Commission is doing and will do.”
Scotland Yard denied a report that it had offered Mr de Menezes’s family one million dollars in compensation.
This article appeared originally in Mercopress – www.mercopress.com.