Tuesday, 2 December 2008

A convenient cliche

Today's Telegraph says that
An investigation is under way into whether a man who was shot dead by police on the steps of a cathedral goaded officers into firing at him as a means of committing suicide.
but how true is this? The paper claims that:
Mike Franklin, the IPCC Commissioner for the South East, confirmed that the theory of "suicide by cop" would be "one line of inquiry".
But the press office at the Independent Police Complaints Commission said it was unaware of any such comment. It's a very convenient cliche, not least because it automatically exonerates the police involved even before the investigation starts.

As the de Menezes whitewash draws to a close, we see how easily a phrase like "mistaken for a suicide bomber" can colour the public's understanding of such events.

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