Source AP ©

Police forge evidence in Jean Charles de Menezes' murder case

Police used a digitally altered image to illustrate killed Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes' physical resemblance to a terrorist.

Menezes was shot by police, who mistook the 27-year-old for a suicide bomber, and prosecutors argue that a catalog of police failures led to Menezes' death and put the safety of the public in danger. Police say they were acting during a period of extremely heightened insecurity and that it had been difficult to identify the Brazilian because he looked similar to terrorist Hussain Osman, whom they were hunting at the time.

To illustrate the difficulties police faced in identifying their suspect, a defense lawyer on Oct. 2 showed the jury a composite photo in which half of de Menezes' face was combined with half of Osman's.

But prosecutor Clare Montgomery claimed the photo has been altered "by either stretching or resizing so the face ceases to have its correct proportions."

She added that the picture has been brightened, wiping away some of the definition in Menezes' face.

Menezes was killed July 22, 2005, as police hunted a group of Muslim militants who tried but failed to blow themselves up aboard on London's transit system, a day earlier an attack that echoed suicide bombings that had killed 52 commuters two weeks earlier.

Police put the nine-unit apartment building where de Menezes lived under surveillance after finding a gym membership card belonging to Osman, one of the would-be suicide bombers. The card led them to the address, and police followed Menezes into a subway train, where they killed him.

Britain's Independent Police Complaints Commission has ruled out disciplinary action against any of the surveillance or firearms officers involved, but prosecutors are seeking to convict the Metropolitan police as a whole for breaching health and safety laws.

A decision on whether four senior officers should be disciplined has been deferred until after this trial.

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