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British Jury Finds London Police Guilty in 2005 Subway Killing


A British jury has found London police guilty of endangering public safety during a tense anti-terrorist operation that led to the 2005 killing of a Brazilian man mistaken for a suicide bomber.

Police shot 27-year-old Jean Charles de Menezes seven times in the head, after he boarded the London subway in July of 2005. Police had mistakenly identified him as one of four suspects who tried to attack the city's transit system a day earlier.

In Thursday's verdict, the jury fined the Metropolitan Police force more than $360,000 and ordered it to pay court costs of nearly $800,000.

Shortly after the verdict was announced, London police chief Ian Blair rejected new opposition calls for his resignation. Blair has steadfastly said his officers did their best under extraordinary circumstances, and says the killing, while tragic, was an error and not a crime.

No individual police officers have been charged in the death.

Lawyers representing police had argued that a criminal prosecution on health and safety laws was not warranted.

They said de Menezes was shot because he did not comply with police orders when challenged.

The killing shocked London residents already traumatized by suicide bombings two weeks earlier that killed 52 pedestrians and wounded hundreds more in the London transit system.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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