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Brazil probe over London killing



Should London's police chief resign over the shooting death of an innocent Brazilian man mistaken for a bombing suspect?
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Terror bombings

LONDON, England (CNN) -- Brazil says it is launching its own investigation into the fatal shooting of an innocent national mistaken for a bombing suspect in London's July terror attacks.

Brazil's Foreign Ministry said it would send a mission to Britain next week to question police about the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, saying new reports have "outraged" the government.

"The most recent news, accompanied by images with a strong visual impact ... heightens the sense of outrage of the Brazilian government," news agencies quoted the ministry as saying in a statement on its Web site.

Meanwhile, a cousin of de Menezes accused Scotland Yard chief Ian Blair of lying about the shooting and demanded he resign.

"I have always believed that those who break the law should be punished, and some people have broken the law," Alessandro Pereira, 25, told a news conference Friday.

Undercover police shot de Menezes in the head seven times after following him onto a London Underground train on July 22, believing he was linked to four failed attempts to bomb the city's transport system a day earlier. On July 7, four bombs killed 52 commuters on a bus and three Tube trains.

"They have killed Jean and then told lies. ... My family wants the truth. For the sake of my family, for the sake of the people of London, in Jean's name I say that those responsible should resign. Ian Blair should resign," a tearful Pereira said.

Police later admitted that de Menezes, a 27-year-old electrician, had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks and apologized to his family and the Brazilian government.

Pereira's statement followed campaigners' calls for Commissioner Blair to resign if he is found to have deliberately misled de Menezes' family over the killing.

Former Cabinet minister Frank Dobson added to the pressure this week, saying Blair's position was "very difficult" as he was partly responsible for people being misled.

On Thursday, Blair rejected calls for his resignation and denied accusations he initially opposed an independent investigation into de Menezes' killing.

"This is not a cover-up. ... Those allegations, I have to say, do strike at the integrity of this office and the integrity of the Metropolitan Police, and I fundamentally reject them," Blair told London's Evening Standard newspaper.

"I am not going to resign, I have a job to do," he said.

Blair's comments followed a statement by the deputy chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) that the police "initially resisted us taking on the investigation but we overcame that."

"It was an important victory for our independence. This dispute has caused delay in us taking over the investigation but we have worked hard to recover the lost ground," the UK's Press Association quoted the IPCC's John Wadham as saying.

Scotland Yard has said Blair wrote to senior officials on the morning of de Menezes' death "to clarify the role of IPCC if, as it then appeared," the shooting involved a suicide bomber who had been involved in the previous day's attempted bombings.

"This was because it was crucial that the terrorist investigation took precedence over any IPCC investigation at that time," the force said.

The latest developments came after a TV news report this week cited leaked documents and photographs that contradicted witness and police statements that de Menezes was dressed and behaving suspiciously when he was killed. (Full story)

ITV News reported de Menezes was not carrying any bags when he entered the Stockwell Tube station where he was killed and was wearing a denim jacket, rather than a bulky coat as police had previously said.

De Menezes walked at a normal pace, did not vault any barriers and even stopped to pick up a newspaper, ITV reported.

He descended to the train slowly on an escalator, then ran toward the open subway car and took a seat, according to ITV, which based its account on a document outlining what was captured on surveillance footage.

On Thursday, lawyers for de Menezes' family met with the IPCC and demanded that the police watchdog conduct a fast investigation.

"This has been a chaotic mess," lawyer Gareth Peirce said after the meeting in London. "What we have asked the IPCC to find out is how much is incompetence, negligence or gross negligence and how much of it is something sinister."

De Menezes' family and lawyers have called for a judicial inquiry into his death. (Full story)

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