The relative of an innocent Brazilian man killed by armed police on the London Underground more than 16 years ago has said Cressida Dick should have resigned then.
Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead at Stockwell Tube station in south London on 22 July 2005 after an officer mistook him for a suicide bomber in a counter-terrorism operation led by Dame Cressida, who was then assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.
She revealed she was stepping down as commissioner of the UK’s biggest police force in a shock announcement on Thursday just hours after she insisted she had “absolutely no intention” of leaving her post.
It came after mayor of London Sadiq Khan put the police chief “on notice” following a series of scandals and the exposure of racist and sexist messages sent by officers in the force.
But a cousin of Mr de Menezes has said she should have stepped down years ago after the 27-year-old electrician’s death.
Patricia Armani da Silva, 47, told the i: “My feelings about this lady are very simple. I think she had to resign 16 years ago.”
Ms Armani da Silva said her family was “offended” and found it “very distressing” when Dame Cressida was made commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in 2017.
Asked if Dame Cressida should resign she told the newspaper: “Yes, of course. She made a big mistake 16 years ago and she has carried on making mistakes. Absolutely she has to resign.”
Mr de Menezes was boarding a train to work shortly after 10am on Friday 22 July 2005 when he was shot seven times in the head in front of horrified passengers by an undercover policeman.
Officers had mistaken the innocent electrician for terrorist Hussain Osman, who they were hunting after the failed 21 July tube bombings the previous day.
They believed Osman, who was later convicted of planting an explosive at Shepherd’s Bush tube station, lived in the same building in Tulse Hill where Mr de Menezes shared a flat with Ms Armani da Silva and another cousin.
In 2007, a jury found the Metropolitan Police had broken health and safety laws and was guilty of endangering the public over Mr de Menezes’ shooting, but Dame Cressida was cleared of any personal blame.
The police chief also insisted her officers were not to blame and none were ever prosecuted over the killing.
Ms Armani da Silva, however, believes responsibility for her cousin’s death lies with Dame Cressida “because she was in the controls, she was in the room, she sent the orders”.
She told the i: “I think it is a disgrace. She has had many chances to send orders to send orders to stop him, to arrest him.”
Appearing on Desert Island Discs in 2019, she described it as an “awful time”, adding: “I think about it quite often.”
She said: “I wish, wish, wish it hadn’t happened, of course, but if anything it has made me a better leader, a better police officer and it has made me more resilient.”