I guess it's happened to all of us who use public transport - the tantalising snippet of conversation that drifts your way during a lull in background noise. It happens in other places too. It happened to me yesterday - just a sentence from an overheard radio newscast 'police shot the man dead, believing him to be on his way to rob drug dealers.' Hang on a minute I thought, the words still sinking in - robbing drug dealers - and the problem is? 'Drug dealer gets robbed' - I call that a result!
I had to look the case up and I must admit it had passed me by. Azelle Rodney, a young black guy, had been fatally shot by a Metropolitan Police firearms officer in 2005 whilst allegedly in a car with others on his way to rob Colombian drug dealers. It is said no warnings were given, eight shots were fired at close range when the car was forced to stop, and a police officer was heard to shout "sweet as!"
The case is interesting and highly disturbing for all sorts of reasons, not least that legal history is being made as instead of an Inquest, an inquiry is being held in front of a specially security cleared judge at the High Court. Whilst I can appreciate that most concerns centre around the legal justification for what amounts to an execution, I'm really keen to be reassured that our law enforcement agencies were putting just as much effort into catching Colombian drug barons as they were into catching the people that were supposedly robbing them?
According to the Daily Mail report, Ashley Underwood QC, counsel for the inquiry explained:-
"....in early April 2005 her Majesty's Customs and Excise, as it was known then, received intelligence about an armed gang that robbed drug dealers. Its 'modus operandi' would be to set up a meeting to view class A drugs and then steal them at gunpoint."
For some reason I just can't get out of my head the notion, almost certainly erroneous surely, of said drug barons putting in an official complaint about being repeatedly robbed. Were the drug barons going to give evidence at a possible trial - and get immunity in return? Am I missing something here - or aren't the police supposed to be rounding up drug barons? If the police caught the bloody drug barons there wouldn't have been anyone to rob would there?