You might be forgiven for believing that murder has become an official police policy. Yet again we see that another police officer has been cleared of murder – and yet again as the target lay injured, the officer in question continued shooting.
In 2005 Azelle Rodney was shot dead in north London. Then police officer Anthony Long was following a car in which Azelle and two other men were travelling and forced the car to a standstill in Hale Lane, Edgware. Long fired eight shots at the car and claimed in court that he ha acted in self defence because he believed that Azelle was armed and intended to shoot. However on trial at the Old Bailey Long admitted that he did not actually see a weapon at the time.
Long’s first shot struck Azelle in the arm whereupon he collapsed where he was seated in the car. Retired high court judge Sir Christopher Holland carried out a report in 2013 and stated that there was no “lawful” justification to the killing of Azelle and that had the incident stopped at the injury to Azelle’s arm the victim would have survived. However after the injury to Azelle’s arm seven more shots were fired, four hitting Azelle in the head. The man also sustained injuries to his right ear and chest.
Holland described the last seven shots as being fired at a “dead or dying man”.
At trial an audio recording of the shooting seemed to contradict Long’s self defence plea. It had also captured another officer saying “Sweet as, sweet as”, when the weapon was discharged.
Azelle Rodney was the third suspect killed by Long in his career as a police marksman and the case has rapidly attained a very high profile. It has reminded many people of other parallel incidents such as the 2005 fatal shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes and the 2011 fatal shooting of Mark Duggan.