London's police chief has apologized to the family of a Brazilian man shot to death during a police manhunt for suspects in a bungled bombing of the mass transit network.
The killing of a 27-year-old Brazilian, Jean Charles de Menezes, has become an international incident, and has set back police efforts to reach out to disaffected British Muslims.
Police shot and killed Mr. Menezes on a subway train Friday during a manhunt for four suspects in the attempted bombing of three subway cars and a bus one day earlier.
Witnesses say Mr. Menezes was wearing an unseasonably heavy coat, and was running away from plainclothes police officers moments before he was fatally shot. Police sources say officers feared he had explosives hidden under the coat.
On Sunday, London Police Commissioner, Ian Blair, offered an apology during interview with Sky News.
"The Metropolitan Police accepts the full responsibility for this. And to the family, I can only express our deep regrets," he said. "But I think it is also important to recognize that the underlying causes of this are not a police action or a police policy or procedures, but actually the fact that we have terrorists using suicide as a weapon on the streets of London and below the streets of London and that is the context in which we are operating."
Mr. Menezes's body was identified by his cousin, Alex Pereira, who is in no mood to accept regrets from the police.
"He had nothing to hide from anyone and I tell you, it is incompetence, it could be you, it could be anyone," said Mr. Pereira.
The revelation that London police have shoot-to-kill orders for suspected suicide bombers has angered some segments of Britain's Muslim community, particularly younger Muslims, who have been under scrutiny since July 7, when four young British Muslim suicide bombers killed 52 people in attacks on London's transport network.
But other Muslim community leaders say they understand the pressure police are under, as explained by the founder of London's Muslim College, Zaki Badawi.
"I sympathize with the police. These are exceptional circumstances, and what happened to the Brazilian is regrettable, but understandable in the circumstances," he said.
In another development, police are investigating links between the July 7 bombers and the four men who are still at large after Thursday's failed bombing attempts. Operators of a white-water rafting company in Wales say two men from each group recently participated together in a river trip there.