back to top

Jean Charles De Menezes’ Family Are Still Seeking Justice 10 Years After He Was Killed By Police

The Brazilian electrician was shot dead by London police officers who wrongly identified him as a terrorist. Ten years on, his family is still seeking justice.

Posted on

On Wednesday, Londoners gathered to pay their respects to Jean Charles de Menezes, a Brazilian man who was killed by Metropolitan police officers on 22 July 2005.

De Menezes was an electrician who lived in Tulse Hill, London. He had been living in the UK since 2002, initially entering on a student visa.

On the day he was killed, De Menezes had been on his way to Stockwell tube station to go to work when police, who misidentified him as a suspected terrorist, followed him into the station.

According to reports written after the killing, police had been searching for several men in London who had attempted to carry out a terrorist attack in the city the day before. De Menezes had been misidentified as Hussain Osman, a man who lived in the same area of London as De Menezes.

Several officers, none of whom have been named, followed De Menezes as he got onto a tube. After pinning him to the ground, the officers, believing they found the terror suspect, shot at him.

De Menezes was shot in the head seven times, and once at close range near his shoulder. He died at the scene.

An inquest into De Menezes' death returned an open verdict, with the jury ruling that there was not "sufficient evidence" to prosecute any officer involved in the shooting.

Additionally, an internal investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, the police's conduct watchdog, also took the decision not to punish any officer involved, despite acknowledging some inconsistencies in police statements.

Since then, the De Menezes family say they've been fighting for justice and for the officers involved in the shooting to be "held accountable."

The memorial on Wednesday was hosted by the family's campaign, which has met outside Stockwell tube station each year to raise awareness of the event, as well as other cases of police misconduct in the UK.

At the memorial, De Menezes' cousin, Vivian Figueiredo, said that remembering him would "always be really hard for me and my family."

She called her cousin "an inspiration" and said that "his name should never be forgotten."

She also said that her family were still facing a "big battle for accountability" and that they had taken the case to the European Court of Human Rights in order to challenge the UK court's decision not to prosecute officers due to a lack of sufficient evidence.

"I thank Jean so much for the memories that he left... he left this city to find a better life," she added.


Asad Rehman, a spokesperson and co-founder of the campaign, said that the shooting was "one of Britain's darkest days, a day of great injustice.

"This was an injustice that has taken this family 10 years of pain, and struggle, to seek justice."

He added: "The struggle of this family is a really important issue in terms of should people be able to act with impunity.

"If there can be justice for the family it's not only justice for them individually – it goes some way to rebuilding trust in our police forces and the Metropolitan Police Force, and that can only be a good thing for everybody."

A number of the family's supporters, including the deputy leader of the Green Party Shahrar Ali, came to the event to pay their respects.

Ali, who told BuzzFeed News that he had been campaigning for justice with the De Menezes family since 2005, said that he was also concerned with the "erosion of civil liberties since the shooting took place."

"The people who were involved in this still need to be hold accountable – the officers still haven't been named, and the only punishment the police received was regarding health and safety."

Ali also believes that cases like De Menezes' could happen again soon.

"I've been a witness in many court cases around racial discrimination and I've seen how you're more likely to be harassed by the police if you're from an ethnic minority background. There needs to be a cultural shift in how the police operate – they need to build trust in the communities they are serving".


Among the people paying their respects at the memorial was Hamja Ahsan, an artist and campaigner from Tooting, in south London.

Ahsan told BuzzFeed News that after hearing about the shooting, he felt "angry about what had happened, as [he] knew the police wouldn't be held accountable for what they did."

"Policing in London has gotten worse since 2005," Ahsan said. "Especially as civil liberties are being burnt away as a result of the war on terror. It's become worse since the Conservatives have gotten in, and have made cuts to legal aid and access to justice."

Amanda Latimer, from Tottenham, told BuzzFeed News that she was happy the family were attempting to seek justice in the ECHR, but that there had been similar cases where the police were not held accountable, such as the death of Mark Duggan in 2011.

She said she was "angry at the way the De Menezes case was handled by the police," and that the "lack of justice for the family showed that some people's lives, especially if you're from an ethnic minority, was worthless."


Amelia Collins, who lives nearby in Clapham, said she was in "complete shock" when she heard the news of the shooting, and that it had deeply affected the local community in the area.

She told BuzzFeed News: "It's been a long time, but justice in the UK still needs to be sorted out."

She added: "The memory of Jean Charles is still strong – there used to be an older plaque outside the station, which was going to be taken down. The community fought really hard to make sure it was kept up."


Hussein Kesvani is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.