Thursday, February 16, 2006

Harry Stanley's widow calls for police changes

IRENE STANLEY, whose husband Harry was shot dead by police in 1999 because they thought the table leg in a bag he was carrying was a gun, last week learned that the officers concerned will not face disciplinary charges.
She responded by calling for an end to the police practice of “pooling recollections” after deaths in custody.
The decision, by the Independent Police Complaints Authority, to take no action against the officer was made even though the IPCA had accepted that their “detailed and consistent accounts lack credibility”. obscured
From the beginning, a search for the truth has been obscured by the police officers “pooling their recollections” and writing their notes up together on the night of the shooting.
Irene Stanley doesn’t want other families whose loved ones die at the hands of the police to feel deaths are “covered up” from the start: the police service must put an end to this discredited practice.
Harry Stanley was a 46-year-old Scottish painter and decorator. He was recovering from a successful cancer operation. On 22nd September 1999 he left his home in Hackney telling his wife he was going to visit a friend.
He wanted to collect a table leg from one of his brothers who had fixed it after it had been damaged earlier in the year.
On his return home he visited a public house. Another customer, mistaking Stanley’s accent for Irish rather than Scottish and noticing that he was carrying something long in a bag, telephoned the police to say that a man with an Irish accent was leaving the pub with a sawn-off shot gun in a plastic bag. no reason
Within a few minutes PC Fagan and Inspector Sharman, an armed response unit from the Metropolitan Police service specialist firearms unit SO 19, arrived in the area. The officers approached Stanley from behind. They shouted, “Stop, armed police!” Stanley (who had no reason to imagine that the police wanted him or that they were indeed police officers) did not stop at that command.
The police say that they shouted again, to which Stanley responded by turning around. The police officers opened fire, with one shot hitting him in his head, the other hitting him in his left hand. In the bag was the repaired two-foot table leg, which he had collected from his brother.