4 Sep 2012

Police executed my son, says Azelle Rodney’s mother

The public inquiry into the 2005 police shooting of drug suspect Azelle Rodney releases dramatic film of the volley of shots which killed him, as Rodney’s mother accuses police of ‘executing’ her son.

The inquiry’s chair, retired high court judge Sir Christopher Holland, allowed its release after media lawyers challenged objections raised by the Metropolitan Police.

But he refused to allow extracts from witness statements which have been shown to the inquiry to be published online.

The footage was filmed by one of four police surveillance teams tailing Mr Rodney and two others.

They were believed to be on their way to carry out an armed robbery.

In the film you can hear the thud of eight shots, six then two being fired by one officer known as E7. The inquiry intends to examine this footage frame by frame.

‘He was executed’

The mother of Azelle Rodney has described to a public inquiry how she has never recovered from the moment her eldest son was shot dead by police seven years ago.

Susanne Alexander became the first witness to give evidence at a judge-led hearing into how and why her son died in a volley of shots during a surveillance operation.

She told the inquiry: “I do not accept police had to shoot him, let alone kill him. He was executed. This inquiry must have the courage to hold individuals to account and to publically recognise where things went wrong”

24-year-old Azelle Rodney was shot six times as he sat in the back of a car when police carried out a “hard stop” in Mill Hill, north London, on 30 April 2005.

‘Immediate danger’

Counsel to the inquiry, Adam Underwood QC, today showed extracts from statements from E7, who fired the shots out of the front passenger car window.

“I could see Azelle Rodney’s head leaning forward… suddenly he ducked down… then suddenly his head popped up.

“Everything led me to believe he had picked up a firearm. I felt my colleagues were in immediate danger. I fired several shots.”

Mr Rodney was later found to have been unarmed at the time.

Surveillance operation

It was the culmination of a surveillance operation where police were tailing three men in a car who they suspected were about to rip off cocaine from a Columbian drug trafficking gang in Edgware.

Intelligence supplied by customs had suggested the three would armed with machine guns. Three handguns were later found in the car, one of which was incapable of firing bullets.

Tomorrow, for the first time at a public inquiry, customs intelligence officers will give evidence about the information they had gathered at the time that formed the basis for the police operation.