Ombudsman to probe fatal shooting

The police ombudsman is investigating after a man was shot dead at a police checkpoint in County Down Sunday. Media reports are sketchy and even a day later say only that the police believe a suspected stolen car was heading towards the town. Shots were then fired at the driver as he remained in the car. The three men and two women travelling with the victim were arrested. Local DUP councillor, Jim Wells said he wanted to assure local people it wasn’t a “terrorist incident”.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’ve heard an unsubstantiated grapevine version of this story, which is that the car arrived at a checkpoint which had been set up to stop the alleged joyriders. They then slammed into the police car and pushed it into the car in front. The driver got out of the car and attempted to run away, and the police shot him.

    It’s going to be a tough one for the cops to claim self defense on, but you have to wonder what sort of muppet rams a police car at a checkpoint, especially given the history in this country of people being shot dead after speeding through police or army positions like that. The death penalty is excessive for joyriders, but having seen the number of deaths coming from their dangerous antics over the years the police could well have saved lives.

  • fair_deal

    Maybe it is with the decline in the troubles but this seems to becoming a more common occurrence.

    I wonder if new officers were involved or not. I have met long-standing officers complaining (among a long list of other complaints)that the post-Patten recruits pull their guns too quickly.

    Then again joyriders becoming more willing to try and run a roadblock doesn’t sound surprising either.

  • TAFKABO

    Comrade Stalin.

    Obviously we have to little information about this specific case to make judgements on it, but I have to say that I disagree absolutely with the notion that joyriders can be summarily excecuted when they either drive through a checkpoint or run away from the scene of the crime.
    The police don’t employ firearms in the pursuit of vehicular crime elsewhere in the UK, why would any police officer feel the need to do so here?

  • Comrade Stalin

    TAFKBO,

    In no way do I condone the level of force used here. I hope the Ombudsman completes a full investigation quickly and if it is found that the police used excessive force – as appears to have been the case – then full disciplinary measures should be taken. The police should never draw their weapons unless they are under threat, and even then I’d expect them to fire into the air in a case like this rather than use lethal force.

    What I am saying is :

    – you must be as thick as champ to run a roadblock in this place, knowing the history and knowing that the police are armed. That doesn’t excuse the likely outcome.

    – If we are talking about a joyriding case here (as appears to be the case; the roadblock where the shooting occurred was set up to catch a joyrider, and the car clearly had six occupants, so assuming it wasn’t a people carrier it was illegally over capacity) then the world isn’t going to shed a tear that another one has been taken out of circulation. That said, I’d much prefer the individual had been caught and prosecuted.

  • barnshee

    Salutary justice of kind I suppose- god help the poor parents

  • elfinto
  • willis

    “Mr Colwell is believed to have had family connections in west Belfast’s Shankill area.”

    Shorthand for?

    Fair Deal

    “I have met long-standing officers complaining (among a long list of other complaints)that the post-Patten recruits pull their guns too quickly”

    I’m sure you have

    Tell me the name of any police force in the world where the old hands think that the youngsters are doing a better job!

  • elfinto

    I wonder would any of the complaints (of the long standing RUC officers) against the new intake be along the lines of ‘some of them are fenians’

  • Shore Road Resident

    Congratulations Elfinto – that post says far more about you than it does about the PSNI.

  • smcgiff

    Being reported in Irish news (I’m paraphrasing) as Protestant youth with connections to terrorist Adair was shot dead. The youth was given THE LAST RITES because he was wearing a Celtic Jersey.

    Fact stranger than fiction.

  • James

    “Being reported in Irish news (I’m paraphrasing) as Protestant youth with connections to terrorist Adair was shot dead. The youth was given THE LAST RITES because he was wearing a Celtic Jersey.

    Fact stranger than fiction.”

    It’s not that strange. It’s well known that Loyalists have attacked protestant homes wearing Celtic jerseys in the hope that Catholics would get the blame.

    It’s always worked so far, and I doubt that even this incident will incline our rather biased media to be any more sceptical in future.

  • James-

    According to the Irish News:

    “The tradition of young loyalists from the Shankill wearing Celtic tops is believed to have originated with Johnny Adair, who wore Celtic jerseys while travelling through nationalist areas to plan attacks on Catholics.”

    Johnny Adair is quoted in the paper commenting on the person who was shot, as he knew him. Will be interesting to see the Ombudsman’s outcome on this one.

  • smcgiff

    James/El Matador,

    Serves him right then to get the last rites! Now that’s irony at its best.

  • DK

    Some loyalists do support celtic. There was a funeral of one blown up by his own blast bomb a couple of years ago & it was decked out in Celtic gear as he was a Celtic supporter.

  • Dr Strangelove

    I think we are getting off the point here…

    Do we know for certain that the car had been stolen ?

  • TAFKABO

    Yes, there’s speculation that he knew Johnny Adair, so serves the bastard right, eh Smcgiff?
    What kind of mind enjoys the thoughts of a person recieving sacraments from a church they don’t belong to?
    To take pleasure in the idea that the last moments of this young mans life were spent in doing something he may have found personaly against his own beliefs is just sickening.

    But sure, we’ve already established that he had “connections” to the greater Shankill area, so everythings now fair game, eh?
    The haste with which some people dehumanise others is not something to be proud of.

  • elfinto

    #

    I wonder would any of the complaints (of the long standing RUC officers) against the new intake be along the lines of ‘some of them are fenians’
    Posted by elfinto on Apr 17, 2006 @ 08:19 PM
    #

    Congratulations Elfinto – that post says far more about you than it does about the PSNI.
    Posted by Shore Road Resident on Apr 17, 2006 @ 08:50 PM

    SRR,

    Wide of the mark again! As I’m sure you’re well aware the DUP, with whom Fair Deal – who made the comments concerned – seems to be connected, have been seeking to abolish 50:50 recruitment for a number for years now. It’s bad for the force apparently.

  • elfinto

    Some loyalists do support celtic. There was a funeral of one blown up by his own blast bomb a couple of years ago & it was decked out in Celtic gear as he was a Celtic supporter.

    That was the Branagh kid who was in the Tigers Bay UDA. He was buried in a Celtic top. Macabre.

    The loyalist Celtic top phenomenum is part of the Johnny Adair cult of personality. It would seem that the deceased in this case was an admirer.

    Irony One is that he received the last rites. Irony Two is that it is nationalist politicians who are asking questions about the incident while the DUP have adopted the ‘we must support the police’ line – for the time being at least.

    My personal feeling is that while joyriders are scum who pose a lethal threat to other road users, they should not be executed and a full independent investigation should be conducted by the Police Ombudsman.

  • Dr Strangelove

    Well the cynic might believe that the DUP will wait to learn the young man’s religious/community affiliation before deciding at which side of the fence to stand. If he is a catholic then the police will be supported, if he is a protestant then they will call for an inquiry.

  • smcgiff

    Tafkabo,

    Hopefully you can hear me all the way up there on your very high horse.

    Leaving aside my belief that ALL religious belief is one of humanities greatest weakness I was going on the assumption, and my remarks were prefaced as such, that said person was not wearing the Celtic shirt for legitimate reasons.

    Given such an assumption I don’t feel any great sympathy for any person (Nationalist/Unionist) that would dress up in sporting clothing to shit stir a nationalist/unionist backlash.

    Ironically, spies are shot during wartime i.e. those dressed up in a uniform of the enemy.

    As far as I know the youth that was killed could be the exception, but if he isn’t you won’t see much tears from me.

  • elfinto

    Well the cynic might believe that the DUP will wait to learn the young man’s religious/community affiliation before deciding at which side of the fence to stand. If he is a catholic then the police will be supported, if he is a protestant then they will call for an inquiry.

    The cynic might well be right. Although, if the deceased was an Adair supporter the DUP might not be too concerned. The former loyalist folk hero’s stock is currently running at an all time low. However, the DUP’s bigotry knows no bounds and I still thnk they will call for an inquiry.

  • TAFKABO

    There seems to be some bizzare concensus that being a Protestant and wearing a Celtic shirt is indiciative of a sectarian slur against the nationalist community.
    It’s already been pointed out that people from the unionist and protestant community support this football team.
    But this young man has already been judged and found to be guilty of belonging to some personality cult based around Johnny Adair, on what evidence I don’t know, but some people seem quite certain that he’s guilty.

    So there you have it, a young man has been shot dead and the thread has turned into nationalist gurning about their community being dissed by protestants wearing Celtic tops.

    That’s some set of priorities you have there folks.

  • smcgiff

    ‘The former loyalist folk hero’s stock is currently running at an all time low. However, the DUP’s bigotry knows no bounds and I still thnk they will call for an inquiry.’

    DUP support or not – Surely an enquiry is guaranteed as a person was shot by the police?

  • elfinto

    TAFKABO

    I don’t have a subscription to the Irish News but hopefully the story entitled ‘Adair link to fatal shooting by police’ will be available on newshound.com tomorrow.

    I look forward to you eating your words.

    smgiff,

    You are of course right and there will be an enquiry by the Ombudsman, DUP support or not. I predict that they will shift from Jim Well’s inital robust support for police action’s to a more equivocal stance.

    elfinto

  • smcgiff

    Wow, Tafkabo, does your empathy know no bounds?

    So very understanding. Sure, it’s not a bit strange that your average protestant joyrider would be wearing a celtic shirt, and it would have nothing to do with the cult of Adair. Sure, whatabout the loyalist bomber that got blown up in a Celtic jersey, and that so normal it barely raised an eyebrow.

    It’s a pity that some will see your own remarks as a gurning against what some would consider the most likely of circumstances.

  • TAFKABO

    Elfinto.

    If anything emerges that supports the claim that this young man was a member of some personality cult based around Johnny Adair, I’ll certainly admit as much.
    But if all we get is a nod and a wink from some journalist, with little or no substance I wont be changing what I have said here.

    Here’s a tip.

    Why not apply the same rigourous standards of proof you would give to anyone accused of being involved with the republican movement to this guy?

  • TAFKABO

    Smcgiff

    The young guy that blew himself up was a supporter of the football team Glasgow Celtic.
    You seem to be arguing that the only possible explanation for a protestant wearing a celtic football top is that he was doing it for nefarious reasons, but the very example you provided shows that sometimes a Celtic top is just a football Jersey (to paraphrase mr Freud).

  • missfitz

    Tafkabo

    There is a reasonable amount of certainty that the group in the car were out on a mission of one kind or another, and it was not a mission of mercy.

    Johnny Adair brought in the trend of ‘tefloning’ many years ago. This was where he had his team wear celtic tops when entering nationalist areas for missions.

    While I wholly support the idea that the police cannot be judge and jury, I think that our judgement on the actions of the police need to be contained until we determine if deadly force was about to be used against the officer or any others in the vicinity.

    And yeah, there was great irony. Ironic that wearing the celtic top to get one over on the taigs resulted in being labelled as one and getting last rites. That may not be funny, may not be to your taste and might make some people very uncomfortable. It still defines irony.

  • elfinto

    Here’s a tip.

    Why not apply the same rigourous standards of proof you would give to anyone accused of being involved with the republican movement to this guy?

    I quite agree. The IRA did not carry out the Northern Bank robbery. All suggestions to the contrary are baseless and politically motivated!

  • TAFKABO

    There is a reasonable amount of certainty that the group in the car were out on a mission of one kind or another, and it was not a mission of mercy.

    Missfitz.

    If it transpires that this was some sort of operation that was foiled, I’ll not feel too much sympathy for the deceased, even though I still think we need an investingation everytime the police discharge their weapons.
    But so far, you are the first person that I have heard suggest that this is what happened.

    Can you point me to some other sources for your claims that there is a reasonable amount of certainty?
    So far the most I have heard is that the vehicle may have been stolen.
    The police haven’t uncovered any weapons at the scene, which is odd if what you say is true.

    I think people are moulding what little information there is to their own agendas.

  • Henry94

    Serves him right then to get the last rites! Now that’s irony at its best.

    If he was wearng a Rangers top he may not have been shot. That’s the real irony.

  • missfitz

    Taf
    We agree about the need for an investigation when firearms are discharged. Police are not judge and jury and should not act as such. There are very, very clear and explicit guidelines for the use of deadly force and all I am suggesting is that we wait for the full story to emerge before we judge the actions of the use of such force.

    Cant point to a published source as yet for the idea that there may have been something less pleasant than a nice Easter Sunday drive at play here, but give that a little time. The following link from the Times is probably the first intimation of what might have been the provocation for the checkpoint here.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2137941,00.html

    You are also right that there is little information, but I think that it is correct and right to start looking at that information in a dispassionate way.

    Its a fine line isnt it? Leaving aside the whole poitical affiliation/ Adair angle, there is room for ambivalent feeling when someone loses their life, but loses it while engaged in a criminal act. Joyriding is criminal and while execution should not be the penalty, is there a level of personal responsibility we need to take for our actions?

    If he had not stolen the car, either an act in and of itself or as part of further criminality, he would not have been at risk of a violent response. The punishment may not fit the crime, but does it mitigate it?

  • Here’s a tip – one of those bailed is a relative of Johnny, another is a relative of Wassy Paul

  • Dr Stangelove

    This story as outlined above in The Thunderer sits a little odd with how these sorts of events have taken place in the past.

    How good a marksman was the policeman who shot the driver if the car was travelling at speed ? In the good old days the car would have just been riddled with bullets with all occupants getting hit, thus to fire at the car, several times according to the report, and only kill the driver really is outstanding marksmanship. Off course, if the car was stationary then the thought of premediatation of the side of the police looms large. If the car was stationary I think I might have to rescind the Officer’s gold medal for marksmanship also.

    How did the police know that the car was stolen ? Was it from the owner, a member of the public or a tip off. I do not think it is standard practice for police to fire at a car which fails to stop at a checkpoint, especially in these heady days of peace. Surely they would have had a stinger nearby the checkpoint to disable the car if it did burst through the checkpoint and they were acting on information that the car was on a more deadly mission than a joyride.

    If it was a more deadly mission then there seem to have been an awful lot of people in the car.. not the usual modus operandi of terrorists.

    Watson, the game is afoot….

    I think there is more to this story once one scratches the surface.

  • TAFKABO

    Joyriding is criminal and while execution should not be the penalty, is there a level of personal responsibility we need to take for our actions?

    Missfitz.

    I have to say that I fundamentally disagree.I don’t agree with the death penalty for a start, and I really think it’s a bad idea to start taking away people basic human rights based upon how good or bad they are as a person.
    Another important aspect, and one I touched upon in my very first post on this thread is that this part of the UK seems to operate a completely different set of rules when it comes to Police officers discharging weapons in the course of their normal everyday duties.I fail to understand any reason why this should be so, apart from some reasoning that Northern Ireland life is not worth as much as lives elsewhere in the UK.
    The case of Peter McBride and his families search for justice is a sad example, where it would be unfeasible for members of the establishment to commit the murder of an english person and recieve the same treatment.

    I have always been a supporter of law and order, but only on the understanding they they are our employees, not our judge jury and excecutioners.

  • Comrade Stalin

    On the subject of the DUP’s position, Jim Wells said rather clearly that people must give the police their support, and he avoided suggesting that the police were automatically in the wrong. This is uncharacteristic of the DUP’s attitude towards loyalists, which is generally to condemn the police when the UVF or UDA are on the receiving end of the law and order jackboot.

    On the matter of football shirts and why people would wear them .. well I’ve a really hard time believing that a teenager in the middle of Tiger’s Bay would strike out and take the opposite line from his peer group in that way. While there are oddball teenagers, the fact that this poor kid got mixed up with the UDA suggests that he wasn’t one of them. Sectarianism underlines all old firm football support here, irrespective of who it is, and I rather sincerely doubt that this kid was upset when Neil Lennon was receiving LVF death threats.

  • missfitz

    Dr S
    On the reports, it has certainly been said that there was an alert that the car had been stolen from a car dealer and that a roadblock had been set up.

    Pretty good going and an amazing police response given that it was 11 oclock on Easter Sunday morning, and there was a large police presence in Newcastle for the Sinn Fein parade.

    The car owner had to have recognised a car was stolen, phoned the police, who figured out which road it was taking, set up a road block and then had themselves out and ready?

    Excellent.

    Leads me to wonder why I never got my motorbike back when it was stolen, and why this high level of policing cannot be our every day standard.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Strangelove, the version of the story I’ve heard suggests that the individual was actually making his escape, ie running, when he was shot. Either my source is bad or the media reporting is wrong – we’ll have to see. Either way it’s hard to see how the police can make a self defense case here for discharging their weapon.

  • smcgiff

    ‘The young guy that blew himself up was a supporter of the football team Glasgow Celtic.’
    As was mentioned earlier. But this is more of an exception that proves the rule.

    The use of sporting attire in the attack on ones own community to further inflame big-otry is a new one on me and reading it here angered me no small amount.

    As I said previously, IF the case is as surmised I’ve no sympathy for him or any person whether Catholic or Protestant if they wore a Celtic or Ranger top for such a despicable purpose.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    I think I’m right in saying that any time a police officer discharges his or her firearm, the Ombudsman automatically carries out an inquiry.

    I thought Henry’s post was the most interesting – would he still have been shot had he been wearing a Rangers jersey?

  • missfitz

    Tafkabo

    Even in the piece you quote from me, I say very clearly that execution is NOT the appropriate penalty for joyriding. No question, no doubt.

    However, and this is the tricky bit…. if you go out, steal a car, ram a police vehicle, endander lives and generally act in a violent and threatening way, do you raise the risk of being shot? Do you place yourself in greater risk of harm by becoming involved in these activites?

    I know that this is a fine line, but my contention would be that by becoming involved in illegal acts, you have placed yourself at greater general risk of harm.

    There are certain activities I partake in that are legal, but if or when I was to be harmed, I would know that I placed my self at greater risk by going to riots or whatever else it is that I do.

  • TAFKABO

    However, and this is the tricky bit…. if you go out, steal a car, ram a police vehicle, endander lives and generally act in a violent and threatening way, do you raise the risk of being shot? Do you place yourself in greater risk of harm by becoming involved in these activites?

    It entirely depends on which part of the UK you happen to be in at the time.And that’s what bothers me.

  • missfitz

    Comrade
    That version appears to be discounted, with the further explanation that he was removed from the car after having been shot for administration of first aid.

    Asking if he would have been shot if wearing a rangers top only serves to conflate a sectarian agenda that has no purpose here

  • missfitz

    Tafkabo
    I would have some sympathy with your view, but I dont think facts would support you. Its probably too easy, but Jean Carlos Menenez springs to mind.

    The same rules on deadly force that are used in GB are used in NI.

  • Dr Stangelover

    If, as the evidence suggets Missfitz that the police were acting on a tipoff, I find it odd that so little information has so far come out. There appears to have been no weapons in the vehicle and again the number of people in the car does not make it appear as if they were on there way to a “hit” or another similarly eregious deed.

    I know it does not take much for the police to open fire, you only have to be carrying a chair leg or wearing a denim jacket and running to catch the tube. Why shoot to kill a guy who is running away and why did the driver only run, if indeed he did so ? Did the police think he was armed, did they shout a warning..etc, etc.

    6 people in a stolen car driving on a easter sunday morning… sounds more like up all night at a party doing various substances, no easy way home, steal a car and get a cap popped in your ass for the hassle.

  • TAFKABO

    Missfitz.

    I think there is a difference between what happened to Menenez which was not ordinary police in pursuit of ODCs.That’s not to excuse it, but just to say that I don’t think the comparison is valid.
    It’s also worth noting that the police who shot the guy with a chair leg thought they were in pursuit of an Irishman.

  • missfitz

    You could be right Doc, you could indeed. Yours actually makes sense.

    I suspect that the wearing of the jersey has provided a lot of fodder for theorists on this occasion, particularly since it was Adair who started the trend, and this chap had an association with the Mad one.

    I also thought it was strange how the media treated it. It was top story on Sky on Sunday night, and indeed my parents saw it on the news in Florida. On the other hand, it didnt make the 10 oclock BBC national news, as far as I saw, although it had made the earlier bulletin. That led some people I know to ask if more information was known earlier by some who knew it had the makings of a big story

  • Dr Strangelove

    Indeed Tafkabo…. with the commonality in both cases being bad intelligence.

  • Henry94

    missfitz

    Asking if he would have been shot if wearing a rangers top only serves to conflate a sectarian agenda that has no purpose here

    The only argument against asking the question is that we can’t answer it. But if I had to be driven in a stolen car through a PNSI checkpoint then given a choice, I’d take a Rangers top over a Celtic one.

  • willis

    The Belfast Telegraph are reporting that the shot man had a previous gun related conviction and that the car was being followed by its owner.

    I do wonder why Jim Wells initially said that this was not a terrorist incident?

  • missfitz

    So Taf, what exactly are you saying? That there is a higher potential for catholics to be shot in the North? Come on….

  • Dr Stangelove

    Of course Missfitz, were Sky motivated by the fact that the killing could mean:
    a ) further problems for the peace process
    b) infringment of civil liberties
    c) filling air time on their rolling news channel until a bigger story or the facts come along ?

  • TAFKABO

    So Taf, what exactly are you saying? That there is a higher potential for catholics to be shot in the North? Come on….

    There’s a higher potential of being killed if you are a catholic in the north since all (and I mean all) actors in the troubles have done a sterling job of killing catholics.
    But that wasn’t my point at all.
    My point was that there’s a higher risk of being a car thief who is shot if you are in this particular part of the UK.

    I haven’t seen anything that would suggest the religion of the car thief is a mitigating factor, but I’d be happy to look at any evidence you have.

    I also hope you understand that I voiced my concerns based upon everyone deserving the same basic right not to be excecuted, regardless of geographical location or religion.

  • missfitz

    Perhaps. I mean my first thoughts were just the same as yours, but someone ‘in the know’ asked whether there were other factors that were going to make this bigger than usual.

    Again, there are fairly uniform international rules on deadly force, so it may just have been seen as a real aberration in accepted practice on that larger scale.

    None of that is any good for a conspiracy theory though….

  • elfinto

    It will be interesting to see if any suspicious deveices turn up near the scene of republican Easter commemorations in the Newcastle or Castlewellan areas in the coming days.

    It seems that the police had prior intelligence and had cause to believe the suspects could be armed. An informer at work?

  • Apparently the police made a split second decision to shoot at the car to save the lives of a young child and a pedestrian.

  • Dec

    Apparently the police made a split second decision to shoot at the car to save the lives of a young child and a pedestrian.

    …according to Jim Wells, whom I believe, did not witness the incident.

  • That’s what eye-witnesses said. There was a kid in a car that was in the way of the BMW, and as soon as it would have completed its u-turn, the child was in the direct line of escape for the joyriders. The shot stopped the completion of the u-turn, and thus stopped the child in the car getting rammed, assuming this report is accurate.

  • Dec

    You say eyewitnesses, I say Jim Wells

  • Dec

    Incidentally, does it not strike people as absurd that an officer, whom the Police themselves describe as ‘Traumatized, is judged fit to carry out his normal duties and allowed to remain on duty?

  • Dec-

    As you concede, Wells was not there at the time, so by definition his secondary account must have been based on what he had been told. Whether the assertions made by witnesses, police, or politicians are accurate is a different matter. Just because Wells said what he said doesn’t mean that a witness did not say the same, as you seem to be asserting. Needless to say, all of this is speculation, and the Police Ombudsman’s report will shed more light on the incident. As a slight digression, it’s interesting to note the Daily Ireland’s entirely predictable reporting on the event.

  • slug

    While the death is to be regretted, and I feel sorry for the family, it seems a reasonable judgement for the police officer to take under the circumstances, and will send a clear message to joyriders and those who fail to stop at police checkpoints, which is a most serious thing to do.

  • Dec-

    “Incidentally, does it not strike people as absurd that an officer, whom the Police themselves describe as ‘Traumatized, is judged fit to carry out his normal duties and allowed to remain on duty?”

    Yes, it does.

    That’s why on Monday I called for his suspension here:
    http://elblogador.blogspot.com/2006/04/ballynahinch-shooting-questions-must.html

  • Dec

    As you concede, Wells was not there at the time, so by definition his secondary account must have been based on what he had been told.

    I didn’t concede Wells wasn’t there, I pointed it out.

    Just because Wells said what he said doesn’t mean that a witness did not say the same, as you seem to be asserting.

    And vice versa, so we arrive back at my main point: that the ‘eyewitness account’ turns out to be a version of events given by a man who did not witness said events. Interestingly, Jim Wells also called on politicians not to jump to conclusions until the facts were established. Clearly elected representatives of the DUP don’t do irony.

    Needless to say, all of this is speculation, and the Police Ombudsman’s report will shed more light on the incident.

    Wise words, missing from your original post.

    As a slight digression, it’s interesting to note the Daily Ireland’s entirely predictable reporting on the event.

    They probably should have got Jim Wells to write the story up, to spare your frustration.

  • slug

    I certainly don’t think the policeman should be suspended. Hopefully people will FEAR the police a bit more after this.

  • Dec-

    “that the ‘eyewitness account’ turns out to be a version of events given by a man who did not witness said events”

    Again you miss my point that just because Wells echoed that account of events does mean it was not also the view of witnesses (on whose accounts he may have based his opinions), nor does it indicate whether it is accurate or inaccurate. As I said in my original post ‘Apparently…”. It is up to the reader to decide whether they believe that account.

    “They probably should have got Jim Wells to write the story up, to spare your frustration.”

    A thinly veiled attack on myself which detracts from the debate and fails to address the thrust of my point. Well done.

  • slug

    What is the particular problem with Jim Wells ?

  • “What is the particular problem with Jim Wells?”

    It seems that as soon as Wells puts his name to a report on the incident which already existed, Dec et al instantly rubbish it, regardless of whether it is true or not. As it happens, I disagree with Wells’ automatic support for the shooting- perhaps a stinger should have been used instead. To be honest, it’s too easy to judge in retrospect, and the Ombudsman will hopefully tell us what went on. The account which Wells referred to may or may not be accurate- it remains to be seen.

  • I also note that in today’s News Letter “a source close to Sunday’s events” gave a similar description of events, which I think shows that such an account is not solely attributable to Wells, as Dec claimed. Whether that ‘source’ is reliable is a completely different matter- the ‘source’ could be a police officer, it could be a DUPer, it could be Osama Bin Laden, but at least now we know that Wells did not simply invent the account as Dec alluded to when he referred to it as: “a version of events given by a man [Wells] who did not witness said events.” Rather, he got it from a source, be it reliable or not.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Slug

    “What is the particular problem with Jim Wells?”

    The first thing he said was that this was not a “terrorist incident”. It quickly became clear that he could not have made that statement with any confidence had he been in possession of all the facts that we are now in possession of. We’re talking about a car packed with Adair-linked Shankill loyalists, some of whom were wearing Celtic jerseys, in classic Adair style. Now, all of these facts may or may not mean what one might think, but clearly no-one could confidently assert that the incident was not a “terrorist incident”.

    However that was Wells’ snap judgement. The fact that he arrived at that conclusion, given all the evidence now available, means one of two things: one, that he didn’t know the facts before he spoke; or two, that he did know the facts and was moving to obscure the facts and to protect those who may indeed have been involved in a “terrorist incident”.

    Either way, one is entitled to question anything further that Jim Wells might have to add.

    “I certainly don’t think the policeman should be suspended. Hopefully people will FEAR the police a bit more after this.”

    Er, they have a name for states in which the police are FEARED. Is that really what you want?

    If it’s any consolation to you, I grew up terrified of the police. All the fellas I grew up with did. One fella I knew ended up being persuaded to take up a gun and kill a policeman. Trust me, fearing the police is not a good thing. It’s a really, really terrible thing.

  • Dec

    A thinly veiled attack on myself which detracts from the debate and fails to address the thrust of my point. Well done.

    It wasn’t an attack on yourself. Its just that you introduced the following remark into the debate, someewhat out of the blue:

    As a slight digression, it’s interesting to note the Daily Ireland’s entirely predictable reporting on the event.

    Glossing over my reservations over the inclusion of the word slight in the above sentence, since you didn’t appear to have any problem with Jim Wells’ reporting of the event I was merely hypothesizing whether you would have been happier if they’d run with a similar version. As to whether your views on Daily Ireland and its ‘predictability’ added anything to the debate on a fatal shooting in Ballynahinch, I’ll let others decide.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Matador

    The News Letter “source close to Sunday’s events” might well be Jim Wells. In fact, I would suspect it probably is.

  • slug

    Billy.

    “One fella I knew ended up being persuaded to take up a gun and kill a policeman [because he hated the police]”

    Disgraceful.

    I hope your friend was placed behind bars, where criminals belong.

  • TAFKABO

    I certainly don’t think the policeman should be suspended. Hopefully people will FEAR the police a bit more after this.

    There’s something seriously wrong with wanting to live in a society where the police are feared.
    Be careful what you wish for.

  • slug

    I want people such as those joyriding, organised crime, drug dealing, and rioting to FEAR the police. It is partly the fear of the intervention of the police that keeps people from stepping over the line from lawful to law violation.

  • Dec

    Hopefully people will FEAR the police a bit more after this.

    I’ll not be sticking on a Celtic top anytime soon, thats for sure.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Slug

    I’m trying to say something serious here. Getting to a situation where the policed fear the police is not a desirable thing.

    “One fella I knew ended up being persuaded to take up a gun and kill a policeman [because he hated the police]”

    First off, you should NEVER tamper with someone else’s quote. It’s an unequivocal no-no.

    We’ve come through a terrible time here, in which a lot of killing has gone on.

    “I hope your friend was placed behind bars, where criminals belong.”

    I didn’t say a friend, just a fella I knew growing up. Only the most sheltered people people here (and people too young to remember the bad days) didn’t know someone who did something. It’s hard to be so strident and sanguine when you can put a face on the issues you’re dealing with.

  • Billy-

    “The News Letter “source close to Sunday’s events” might well be Jim Wells. In fact, I would suspect it probably is.”

    An interesting view, but are you seriously suggesting that Wells (or indeed any politician) would be happy just being known as a ‘source’ when they could bask in the glory of their ‘detailed knowledge’ of an event? 😉

  • Billy Pilgrim

    El Matador

    “An interesting view, but are you seriously suggesting that Wells (or indeed any politician) would be happy just being known as a ‘source’ when they could bask in the glory of their ‘detailed knowledge’ of an event?£”

    You wouldn’t believe the games that politicians and reporters play between themselves.

  • TAFKABO

    This article by Brian Feeney covers all the important points.
    I know it was mentioned upthread, but thought it was interesting enough to deserve a link.

  • Dec

    Thers also an eyewitness account in todays Irish News which differs markedly from Jim Wells’ version of events. The main points in this version being that a police officer fired at the driver from point blank range despite the car being wedged in by other vehicles and unable to move (though the account mentions that the driver was still attempting to perform a u-turn). The witness also claims that he was warned by a PSNI officer to be ‘careful’ as to what he said to Ombudsman investigators.