Jermaine Baker’s relatives say he was not in Tottenham Man Dem crew, as Met appears to row back over status of officer who fired fatal shot
The family of the man shot dead by police in north London last week say media coverage claiming he was a gangster has compounded their grief, according to a community activist who knows them.
Ken Hinds said the relatives of Jermaine Baker were dismayed by claims he was part of the same Man Dem gang as Mark Duggan, whose shooting in 2011 in Tottenham triggered riots across England. “The only similarity is they are two mixed-race boys and they are two boys who got shot by the police. He was no major league player,” he said.
Baker, 28, from Tottenham, was killed by a single shot from a police marksman yards from Wood Green crown court, north London, on Friday morning. It is claimed police foiled an attempt by a gang, including Baker, to free two men who were being driven to the court for sentencing over firearms offences.
On Tuesday Baker’s mother and sister saw his body in a mortuary. He was the father of two children, aged three and six. The shooting is being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which placed the police marksman under criminal investigation. The police watchdog said on Monday it had started a homicide investigation, but did not say why.
On Tuesday, neither the Baker family nor the commissioner of the Metropolitan police were aware why the IPCC had made its decisions. Other recent police shootings have neither been treated as criminal nor has the police watchdog recommended the suspension of officers. Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Met’s commissioner, praised his firearms officers as his force faced a protracted crisis, with the marksman under investigation and relieved of his gun.
The Met’s attempts to appear on top of the situation have run into complications . The force announced on Monday that after the IPCC’s decision to launch a homicide investigation, they agreed to the suggestion that a firearms officer be suspended.” That was contradicted on Tuesday when the Met said: “The firearms officer is not at work and has been relieved of all operational duties, but not yet technically suspended.”
Some 18 Met police officers have been identified so far by IPCC investigators as involved in the operation, and none are believed to have been wearing video cameras, which the Met says it wants its officers to have. Hogan-Howe said: “What’s been a challenge for us is finding the right kit for officers who are covert. Of course what you don’t want is someone to be recognised as a police officer who is covertly on surveillance and armed, by someone seeing the camera.”
Shootings have proven painful for the Met and toxic for commissioners. The Duggan case tested the force – on the streets, in the courts and its fragile relationships with communities. The commissionership of Sir Ian Blair, who resigned in 2008 in part because of his mishandling of the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, an innocent man killed after being mistaken for a suicide bomber.
The heightened terrorist alert after the Paris attacks means some firearms officers in London have been asked to sacrifice rest days to boost armed coverage across the capital.