Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

News The Ultimate Loss of Civil Liberties: Innocent Man Shot Dead in UK

  1. Jul 24, 2005 #1
    Hello all

    I've just read today's BBC main news story:
    This is barbarism.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 24, 2005 #2
    As I posted on another forum...

    They claim that deadly force is necessary when dealing with suicide bombers because it is the only way to stop them. After all, they could very well have a detonator in their pocket.

    I fully admit that I can see both sides of the story.
    Hand1.) Incapacitation (at least instant unconsciousness) is required to stop a suicide bomber. Shoot him in the kneecaps, and he will simply press the trigger and kill everyone in a 30 foot radius.

    TheOtherHand.) Unless he says, "I am a suicide bomber and you are all going to die" or something similar, then you have just given an undertsandably nervous police force the power of judge, jury and executioner in the heat of the moment. This case in particular, clearly illustrates the inherent danger in that. "He looks suspicious. Let's kill him!"

    Aside from all that, in this case TheOtherHand doesn't even matter or come into play. They had the man pinned down and immobile. He was already unable to move. Deadly force was not justifiable by any strecth of the imagination.
  4. Jul 24, 2005 #3
    Yes, precisely - and another factor that needs mentioning is people are going to argue 'But he ran away!'. I've thought about that one: the police weren't wearing uniforms! He probably ran away because he didn't know they were police - I mean, I think (if I didn't 'freeze' with terror), if a group of armed men ran at me, shouting (or whatever), I would probably try to run away too. Whew, this is just so bad...
  5. Jul 24, 2005 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    This is the part that confuses the hell out of me. They pin him down and THEN shoot? The ONLY thing i can think of is if he reached for something that looked like a detonator and they thought he had to be stopped... thats teh ONLY reason i can concieve of. This isnt barbarism and this shouldnt be a call for protests and all this sorts of crap because there is a lot here that still makes no sense and we're all jumping to conclusions that seem way too far fetched to be probable. If this turns out to be as insane as it sounds... then we can all gasp in horror and make threads saying civil liberties are over and other such rhetoric.

    And as someone pointed out in another thread, why was he wearing a winter coat in the middle of summer???? And, to add to this, he ran away from people identifying themselves as police (not stated in article, was from a earlier press release, AP i believe) in a place highly likely to be targeted as a terrorist target only days after 2 series of attacks. I want to see what made them fire and why did he run and what was with his clothing...
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2005
  6. Jul 24, 2005 #5
    My source is BBC news. I also heard an official government/police/security representative apologising on the radio. It is officially confirmed by official sources that cannot be questioned that the man shot had nothing to do with terrorism at all.
  7. Jul 24, 2005 #6


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Thats not the question here. Its why he ran and why did he have on such a huge coat. Sure its nice and all to say after the fact that he wasnt a suspect, but it still doesnt account for why he ran and the other odd parts of this case.
  8. Jul 24, 2005 #7
    He ran because the police were not wearing uniforms; as far as he was concerned, they were a bunch of armed men threatening him with guns. What would YOU do if a bunch of armed men threatened you with a gun?
  9. Jul 24, 2005 #8


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Other sources say they announced they were police, ill have to verify that point.

    Ewww ok that is true and furthermore...

    Well, turns out that was because the officer had an automatic pistol... never knew anyone carried those kinds of pistols.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2005
  10. Jul 24, 2005 #9


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    They have cameras everywhere... i wonder if they got this on camera. And wait, what does this have to do with civil liberties?
  11. Jul 24, 2005 #10
    Pengwuino, just imagine that this was either you or one of your friends; how would you feel about it then? If you can honestly say, "It would be ok if I/my friend were accidentally shot because I would deserve it: I wore a coat/ran away from some men chasing me with guns", then... well, I guess... I'm speechless. If some innocent person I know (or even the innocent person I don't know) gets shot by plain clothes police, I can't in good conscience say, "That's ok", not under any circumstances. I guess I have a really weird view of justice, huh?

    Anyway, here's some more information. An eye-witness account:
    This is from the BBC website again, and there's more (also about the coat): http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4706913.stm

    I've also tried to establish whether or not the plain clothes police alerted him to who they were, but the only information I could find was ambiguous - it suggests that he wasn't warned, but doesn't really say one way or the other (I've bolded the most relevant bit for easy identification):
  12. Jul 24, 2005 #11
    I should have the right to wear a "thick padded coat" and enter a subway that is open for public access without being shot by the police.

    I'm sure people will try and obfuscate the issue by bringing up the coat and by asking why he ran, but that is not the issue at hand.

    It doesn't matter in the least why he was wearing a thick coat.
    Is it illegal to wear a coat whenit is warm outside?
    Is it a threat to National Security?

    He could have run for any number of reasons.
    Maybe he didn't hear that they were police- maybe he was wearing a walkman, maybe he doesn't (or didn't) speak English well, maybe he simply panicked.
    To be honest, I don't know what I would do if I was in the subway, sortly after it got bombed and a band of plainclothed men were running after me with weapons drawn shouting at me. I just may run.

    He is an electrician, maybe he was working in a cold computer room.

    Maybe he stole the coat, and was afraid to get arrested.
    Perhaps the police were FULLY justified in wrestling him to the ground.
    It really does not matter.

    All that matters is:
    Was he subdued and immobile before the cop shot him five times and killed him?
  13. Jul 24, 2005 #12
    Pengwuino, all I can think of is that you didn't really think before posting your question. In any case, this is what this has to do with civil liberties: surely as civilians we have the right to life? Is the right to life itself not the most basic of all civil liberties? Maybe I'm just going crazy here, being idealistic or something... I don't know. Perhaps a neocon can set me right. No rights to life any more in this brave new world of ours? Not even if you did nothing at all wrong, nothing to threaten anyone, or even anyone's profit?
  14. Jul 24, 2005 #13
    and who said British are coolheaded/composed in difficult times ?
  15. Jul 24, 2005 #14
    Pengwuino, I've searched for anywhere where it states that the police announced who they were but can't find it. Please provide me with your link.

    Nevertheless, even if they did announce who they were, as one_raven points out he may not have heard them. I can easily imagine myself not hearing what a bunch of threatening-looking people running at me are saying/shouting - I'd be panicking far too much to be able to hear anything, I think.
  16. Jul 24, 2005 #15


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Well you have obviously shown you dont think before you post. The guy has a big coat and starts running when the poliec confront him days after a series of terrorist attacks in the same type of location he is at and some of them were suicided bombers. Then of course, he had just walked out of a house that was under surveillance. If none of those actions raise any red flags in your mind then i surely do hope your not incharge of any sort of security.

    What exactly would you have done in the situation? Let him board the train? Just let him go and hope you are right? Travel into the future to find out he wasnt connected and then come back to make the decision?
  17. Jul 24, 2005 #16


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    There have been countless incidents where innocent people have been approached by police with guns drawn and they didnt run away out of some insane fear. Stop assuming about what happened.

    I'll try to find out where this guy got hte info as to whether or not the police announced who they were
  18. Jul 24, 2005 #17
    I am not assuming. Everything I've posted is backed up with evidence. I did not post anything at all about this incident when it first happened (the day it was reported that the young man was shot) because there was nothing to post then. Now there is something important to discuss, because it has implications for all of us. One day you could be going about your ordinary business in the UK and suddenly get chased and shot (in a matter of seconds, before you've even realised what's happening). I find this very worrying and totally unacceptable on any grounds, and I would like to find out what other people think about this. I now know your own opinion about it, but perhaps others agree with me that this is bad news.
  19. Jul 24, 2005 #18


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Thats like saying i have the right to confront police officers with a mock-mp5 bb gun and not to be shot at.

    No it does matter, your just trying to say anyone who doesnt agree with you is wrong and showing how you will refuse any evidence contrary to your view in life.

    Wearing a walkman and just spontaneously decided to run? And yes, he does speak english according to most sources. If he paniced, oh well, as they say "stuff happens". He picked the wrong place to panic. This shouldnt be means for calling the police trigger happy barbarians. Its like a jet/prop plane flying near restricted DC air space and then saying "Oh well, he saw the fighters, he must have paniced and turned right towards the white house... fighters shot him down, the fighters are monsters, i guess we dont have the right to fly anymore"

    He had just left a house under surveillance and was being followed by British police i believe.

    No thats not all that matters. Your trying to narrow down the situation into a black and white situation where you can blame the police without bringing in every implication related to the case. He just made some really bad mistakes that werent really his fault and the circumstances combined to get him killed. Unfortunate accident? Yes. Barbarism? No.
  20. Jul 24, 2005 #19
    It's not about what I or any other private citizen, would have done- it's about what the police SHOULD have done.
    If, as the eyewitness accounts state the police were on top of him, they should have grabbed his arms, pulled them behind his back and kept him immobilized until the situation was under control.
    If the do not have that level of cool-headedness that does not necessarily make them "evil" it does, however, make them unsuitable for the job they have and should be discharged.
    IF, as I said, the eyewitness accounts were correct, which we have no reason to doubt at the moment.

    Again, it doesn't really matter if they announced themselves.
    He MAY not have heard it.
    Even if he did, resisting arrest is NOT a capital offense.
    If he was breaking the law in some way (maybe he had an outstanding bench warrant) he would have run. That is NOT justification for shooting him on the spot.

    in the same type of location
    Are you ****ting me?
    Simply being in a subway is justification for being killed?
    Thousands upon thousands of other people were on the subways that day, I am sure. They were open to the public.
  21. Jul 24, 2005 #20


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    You assumed he didnt heard. Anyhow, you are being horribly unrealistic and ignorant to think that its unacceptable that one day, you may not just be shot runnen down a subway. I may be screwing around and filming amovie where i have a fake gun up to a fellow actors head and a police officer might come by, see me, and open fire. Tragic accident? Yes. Unacceptable? No. You see, i understand that everyoen is not perfect nor omnipotent and when it is perceived that one more multiple peoples lives may be in danger, i can truely understand when certain actions may be taken.

    And isnt it always possible that the police paniced? Is it not right to give the police the same leeway when it comes to panicing as you give the man who was killed?
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Threads for Ultimate Loss Civil Date
The Loss of Creativity as Technology Rises Jan 7, 2018
Ultimate physics challenge - fun Apr 3, 2016
Consciousness The Ultimate Reality Apr 28, 2015
Ultimate pi moment tomorrow morning Mar 13, 2015
Math as the ultimate science Jul 19, 2012