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Top Cop denies cover up of Brazilian shooting

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August 19, 2005 10:33 IST

Scotland Yard 'initially resisted' moves for an independent inquiry into the death of Jean

Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian wrongly shot dead by anti-terror police in July, the Independent Police Complaints Commission has said.

The police watchdog claimed that Yard's resistance had delayed its inquiry and that it had to 'work hard' to recover lost ground.

But Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair has denied any cover-up of the shooting and dismissed the notion that he had tried to block an inquiry.

"These allegations strike to the heart of the integrity of the police and integrity of the Met and I fundamentally reject them. There is no cover-up," he said.

His comments came after lawyers for the family of de Menezes called for a public inquiry into his death.

Harriet Wistrich and Gareth Peirce, who are acting on behalf of de Menezes' family, met investigators from the IPCC at offices in Camden, north London.

Following the meeting, Peirce said "a public inquiry is, in fact, the only kind of inquiry that can deal effectively with the big policy issues brought up in this case, whether or not there is a prosecution or inquest."

Peirce said the family still wanted to know why the IPCC was not brought in immediately after the shooting and why the police had become involved in "investigating themselves."

Peirce said, "This has been a chaotic mess. 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."

The lawyers said they had not gone into the details of the IPCC investigation, and they still did not know the "exact circumstances" that led up to de Menezes' death.

Earlier, it was reported that the senior officer at the centre of the operation that led to the death of de Menezes had ordered him to be taken alive.

Commander Cressida Dick instructed officers to 'detain' him minutes before he was shot, The Daily Mirror said.

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