Friday, 22 July 2016

Hollow Point: Remembering the death of Jean Charles de Menezes with beautiful Song by Chris Wood

Jean Charles de Menezes a 27 year old Brazilian was shot today July 22nd 2005 by armed police or special forces on high alert following the London bombings of July 7th 2005 and some failed bombing attempts on July 21st.
It has been suggested that these events predisposed the police to shoot first and ask questions later, though the inquest jury was unable to decide on that issue. The end result was an innocent man was shot in the head several times at close range and lay dead, for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
A killing since declared lawful according to the European Court for Human Rights 
 a ruling that came as a huge blow to his family who had to endure a long legal battle and fight to achieve justice.Mr de Meneze's cousin Patricia da Silva said :" We had hoped that the ruling would give a glimmer of hope, not only to us, but  to all other families who had been denied the right to justice after deaths at the hands of the police.We find it unbelievable that our innocent cousin could be shot seven times in head by the Metropolitan police when he had done nothing wrong and yet the police have not had to account for their actions.As we have always maintained, we feel that decisions about guilt and innocence should be made by juries, not by faceless bureaucrats and we are deeply saddened that we have been denied that opportunity yet again. We will never give up our fight for justice for our beloved Jean Charles."
Harriet Wistrich, solicitor for the Menezes family said,at the time “This is a very disappointing decision for a family who have fought for the last eleven years to get justice and accountability although we are pleased to note that there were four of the 17 judges who dissented."This judgement will do nothing to counter a widely held belief – particularly among marginalised communities – that there is one standard for the police and another for the general public."
Between 1990 and 2015, there were 995 deaths in police custody or following police contact and 55 fatal shootings by police officers in the UK, but there has not been a single conviction of a police officer as a result of any of these deaths. To some, this is evidence of deplorable impunity; to others, instead it proves that the police perform an at times unfathomably difficult job while acting within the (criminal) law. What is beyond question is that this statistic can only enhance the sense of injustice felt by the families of those who lose their lives at the hands of the police.
There is a mosaic of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell station that continues to serve as a memorial to the tragic death of an innocent man at the hands of the Metropolitan Police.
I will mark his memory today with the following poignant song by the Folk singer and musician Chris Wood, called Hollow Wood his 2010 album Handmade Life, it really is quite beautiful and serves Jean de Menezes memory well  in it there is pathos, tension, a climax and many contrasts between the innocence of the victim, the failures of the police and their technology and the inevitability of the end when the full force of the police machinery descends upon an innocent young unarmed man wearing only a thin cotton jacket.
The songs tile is both a specific reference to the type of bullet used to kill him and perhaps a suggestion of the incident as a hollow victory and a pointless one, unleashing powerful forces on a young innocent. A hollow point bullet is a bullet with a pit or hollow in its tip, designed to expand when it enters a target to decrease penetration and maximise tissue damage. It is generally illegal in the UK.
Jean Charles's  death was a hollow one, so, foolish, so pointless, no officer at any level has been disciplined or prosecuted for involvement in the slaying of Jean Charles.Will we see history repeated again, people treated like collateral damage. In the meantime here's to the memory of  Jean Charles de Menezes , let we forget.

Hollow Point - Chris Wood

Awake arise you drowsy sleeper
Awake arise it’s almost day.
No time to lie, no time to slumber,
No time to dream your life away.

It was a gorgeous summer's morning
It was a gorgeous summer's day.
His cotton jacket was all he carried
As he walked out to face the day. 

As he was walking he was wondering
With a little dream as a young man will
And never heard footsteps behind him
By the bus stop at Tulse Hill.

But from his front door they’d had him covered.
They were right behind him from the start.
And though the video was buggered
Someone decided he looked the part.

Here comes the bus, the front doors hiss
He climbs aboard and so do they.
And now he swings down to his seat -
It’s just another working day.

But there was something in the air that morning
As they came down to Brixton town.
They sealed the station without warning -
There was something going down.

And so they journeyed on and onward.
He called his friend just to explain
How he would be late and not to worry,
And so to Stockwell Tube he came ….

Now he’s on their cameras, he’s on their radar,
He’s on their crackling radios,
His Oyster Card is in his pocket,
At 10am through the gates he goes.

And down and down dropped the moving staircase,
Deeper down go the others too.
And through the hour glass the sand is falling -
There is nothing they can do ….

When the train comes in they are right beside him.
Some say three and some say four,
Some say the cameras they were not working
As he sat down near the open door.

If he’d have stopped, if he’d have listened …
Commissioner said that it was no good -
He said they gave him no instructions
That an innocent man could have understood.

Just a Brazilian electrician -
Christ only knows what he came here for.
The hollow point was the ammunition.
Now it’s our turn now for some shock and awe….

Awake arise you drowsy sleeper,
Awake arise it’s almost day.
No time to lie, no time to slumber,
No time to dream your life away.

It was a gorgeous summer's morning,
It was a gorgeous summer's day.
His cotton jacket was all he carried
As he walked out to face the day.

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