Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Azelle Rodney: Gun Officer Had 'No Lawful Justification' to Fire Fatal Shots

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Azelle Rodney: Gun Officer Had 'No Lawful Justification' to Fire Fatal Shots

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Cheston Courts Correspondent

THE armed police officer who killed Azelle Rodney had "no lawful justification" for firing the fatal shots, an official report found today.

The report found that "Rodney was not engaged in any attack justifying shooting at sight".

The findings heap pressure on the Director of Public Prosecutions to consider possible manslaughter charges against the armed officer.

Rodney, 24, was killed after the VW Golf in which he was travelling was stopped by unmarked police cars in April 2005 in Edgware.

Officers believed that he and the two men in the car with him, Wesley Lovell and Frank Graham, were on their way to commit an armed robbery on a gang of Colombian drug dealers.

The police officer, referred to as E7, who killed Rodney, opened fired within a second of his car pulling up beside the Golf, which had been under surveillance for several hours.

He told the inquiry that he feared the gang had a sub-machine gun. He said that Rodney looked left and right and ducked down in the back seat of the car. But lawyers for the victim's mother Susan Alexander claimed he had been gunned down by "naked violent aggression" and was unlawfully killed. Three weapons were found in the Golf -- a Colt .45 revolver, a Baikal pistol and a smaller gun that looked like a keyfob. The revolver was not loaded, the Baikal was loaded but was not cocked and the safety catch was on, and the keyfob gun was loaded, cocked and the safety catch off. The former High Court Judge Sir Christopher Holland said today in his report after a three-month public inquiry that he could not accept E7's accounts of what he saw.

"Prior to firing he did not believe that the man who turned out to be Rodney had picked up a gun and was about to use it," said the former judge, adding: "On the basis of what he is able to see he could not rationally believe that. …

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