Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 15 July 2015

2005: Jean Charles de Menezes shooting

Still demanding justice!

A shrine to Jean Charles de Menezes. Photo Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons)

A shrine to Jean Charles de Menezes. Photo Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Steve Nally, Lambeth Socialist Party

On 22 July 2005 an innocent man was brutally shot to death by police at Stockwell tube station in south London. That man was a young Brazilian worker called Jean Charles de Menezes.

Like millions of Londoners that day Jean, an electrician, was on his way to work. However, he became the target of a ruthless 'shoot to kill' Metropolitan Police operation.

Two weeks earlier 52 people had tragically lost their lives in a wave of terrorist bombings on London's transport system. Then, on 21 July, four terrorists attempted but failed to detonate their bombs.

The next day Jean was murdered by police, who initially claimed that he was a "terrorist". I remember people cheering at my workplace when the news came through. I still feel sickened by the memory of that.

As a result of the bombings a police operation had been set up to track down suspected terrorists. One such operation was in Tulse Hill, Lambeth, and it focussed on the housing block where Jean lived.

On the morning of 22 July he left for work getting two buses to Stockwell tube and boarded a tube train. He did not jump the barriers and run down the escalator as the police initially claimed. He did not stand up to them as they claimed. Nor did he disobey orders as they claimed.


In reality Jean was jumped upon, unawares, and killed with seven bullets to the head. He didn't stand a chance.

To cover themselves the police spun a web of lies and deliberately hampered the inquiry immediately set up by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Jean was no terrorist. If he had been, why did the police allow him to leave home, get on two buses and enter a busy tube station without arresting him beforehand?

And why on that particular day was the CCTV not working at Stockwell tube station? Perhaps it may have shown what really happened on the day. However it took a determined campaign to expose the truth.

On Monday 25 July the Stop The War Coalition (STWC) organised a 400-strong vigil outside Stockwell tube station. Menezes family members and supporters present at the vigil demanded that the vigil march on Parliament, about two miles away.

Despite police objections the vigil developed into an impromptu march. By the time it was halted by riot police at Vauxhall Bridge it had grown into a demonstration of over 700, with members of the local Portuguese community joining it as it progressed down South Lambeth Road.

The local Socialist Party branch made an immediate call for a mass demonstration through the Stockwell area to protest against Jean's murder and to protect and unite the local community - in particular the 30,000 strong Portuguese community based in that part of Lambeth.

We also called for class unity, no to war and terrorism, and an open public inquiry led by trade unionists and the community groups into the shooting.

Although these demands were well received in the local area, prevarication by the STWC and others meant that such a march did not take place and the justice campaign was eventually diverted down the route of legal process alone.

Photo Paul Mattsson

Photo Paul Mattsson

Socialist Party

Following the vigil the Socialist Party held a successful public meeting in Stockwell on 11 August, attended by over 40 local people.

Alongside this Socialist Party members also participated in the Menezes family campaign - Justice 4 Jean. Its first action was a lobby of Downing Street on 22 August.

Over 600 attended and again it quickly turned into an impromptu march, this time on Scotland Yard. These two impromptu marches highlighted the potential for an immediate demonstration of many thousands.

Meanwhile, the Stockwell area came under siege from the police. It was not enough for them to kill a man in cold blood. They also decided to use their powers to intimidate the local community as more of the awful truth emerged.

At one stage you literally could not turn a street corner without seeing police vehicles. To me it felt like living in a mini-police state.

The STWC then organised a national anti-war demonstration for 24 September with a feeder march from Stockwell tube station. The Socialist Party again went onto the streets and into the local Portuguese community giving out 6,000 leaflets.

We also held a meeting at Lambeth College which 60 students attended and got resolutions passed by Lambeth Unison and the RMT transport union branch that covered Stockwell tube.

The feeder march was a success but was not the mass demonstration and accompanying campaign required to get justice for Jean and to fully hold the police to account.

In 2006 the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided not to prosecute the police officers responsible for Jean's early death. Unlike Jean they were allowed to return to work.

Instead, the CPS prosecuted the Metropolitan Police for breaking health and safety legislation! And in 2007, they were found guilty.

Open verdict

The following year, at Jean's inquest, the Coroner instructed the jury that they could not return a verdict of "unlawful killing", which by then was the only verdict that could describe what happened. Instead, an open verdict was returned.

In a final insult to Jean's family, the Gold Commander in charge of police operations on 22 July 2005, Cressida Dick, was promoted to the position of Deputy Assistant Commissioner.

Labour prime minister at the time, Tony Blair, and London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, while apologising for the shooting praised the police for 'doing a difficult job'.

The state tried to smear Jean's memory, telling the media he was 'an illegal migrant worker'. They even posthumously accused him of sexual assault. This was emphatically disproved.

The brutal murder of Jean Charles de Menezes shows how far the state will go to 'get their man' and what they will do to try to cover up their actions. It shows how unaccountable the police are and will even reward those who carry out such catastrophic deeds in the name of 'justice'.

It also shows the need for mass protests and well organised campaigns when such events occur. Jean never got any justice and his family will never get any peace from the memory of a son taken so brutally.

Ten years since the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes

Lambeth and Southwark Socialist Party branches public meeting:

Thursday 23 July 2015, 7.30-9pm

Stockwell Community Centre, 1 Studley Rd, London SW4 6RA

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 15 July 2015:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Living wage lie

Fightback essential following Osborne's hatchet budget

Labour's austerity 'me too-ism' continues

Them & Us

International socialist news and analysis

EU revenge against Greek workers

Greece: Tsipras crosses the Rubicon

The Marikana report - a whitewash

International news in brief

Socialist history

2005: Jean Charles de Menezes shooting

Workplace news and analysis

Labour council axes union facility time

Cardiff teachers strike against 'death wish' workload

Transport workers shut down tube and railway

Biggest union clings to Labour, but considers law-busting strikes

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party feature

Reverse social care sell-offs

Socialist Party review

Orphan Black - refreshing take on sci-fi story

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Angry coordinated protests and solidarity

Osborne attacks youth... we take to the streets!

Record attendance at Durham Miners' Gala

200 march against closure of Longton Cottage Hospital

Bromley Unite members stop council tax bailiffs

Road accident highlights need to save school crossings


Home   |   The Socialist 15 July 2015   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:

Jean Charles de Menezes:

triangleLambeth & Southwark Socialist Party: 10 years since the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes

triangleCampaigning for the victims of police brutality

triangleMore police spying revelations

triangleNews in brief


triangleUnited States: young people demand change after latest mass shooting

triangle1985: police murder sparks Brixton riot

triangleTerrorist attacks: working class people pay the price

triangle50,000 march in Moscow after shooting of Nemtsov


triangleWalkout from undercover policing inquiry

triangleBrazil: Psol councillor Marielle Franco murdered

triangleUndercover policing legal challenge

Socialist Party:

triangleHomes for All - Not billionaire profit!


triangleJeremy Corbyn and Brexit


triangleLambeth Socialist Party: The Italian election result


triangleHackney Socialist Party: The Left Opposition's fight against the rise of Stalinism in Russia


triangleRussia, spies and nerve agents


triangleGripping spy thriller exposes hypocrisy of Falklands/Malvinas war


triangleSalford Socialist Party: Why Marxism opposes terrorism


triangleLambeth Socialist Party: Role of a Marxist in the workplace


triangleFighting sexism: Positive discrimination - yea or neigh?

Tony Blair:

triangleLeft comic's take on politics will have you in tears

Ken Livingstone:

triangleLivingstone, Labour and anti-Semitism


triangle15 years since the invasion of Iraq: what we said

Health and safety:

triangleWoolwich ferry workers win automation campaign


trianglePassing the council cuts test

Historic events

Historic events



15 years since the invasion of Iraq: what we said



Czechoslovakia 1968: 'Prague Spring' challenges Stalinism


Vietnam war

Vietnam War: 50 years since the Tet Offensive



110 years ago: massacre at Santa Maria school in Chile - commemorate 21 December 1907


Russian revolution

Russia, October 1917: When workers took power


Che Guevara

Che Guevara 50 years on - revolutionary socialist and fighter



Mutinies and strikes: when Bolshevism threatened British bosses



Lewisham 1977: When socialists and workers defeated the far-right National Front



Marx's Capital at 150: an unequalled analysis and critique of capitalism


Russian revolution

Russia 1917: how art helped make the revolution


Russian revolution

July Days 1917: battles with counterrevolution



Lessons from the Russian revolution for LGBT+ struggle today



Liverpool's 1983-87 socialist council



The Pentrich uprising: revolution and counter-revolution in 19th century Britain


Russian revolution

June 1917: when workers in Britain first tried to form soviets

triangleMore Historic events articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018