You can read all the details leading up to this shooting in Chelsea at The Daily Mail. Or any of the dozens of other UK media outlets fascinated by the coroner’s inquest into Mark Saunders’ death. For my part, I reckon once you refuse a police order to put down your weapon, you shouldn’t be surprised when the cops shoot you. But still, as this illustration makes clear, by the time the cops put five bullets into Mr. Saunders, the distraught lawyer wasn’t a threat to anyone other than the Old Bill. Wearing body armor. At stand off distances. And then there’s this . . .
Coroner Paul Knapman told the jury the police operation had been described as chaotic and as having an unusual chain of command.
‘You will hear it said that it was a bit chaotic, to say the least, and there was a very strange command structure,’ he said.
Sergeant SE replied: ‘I would call it busy and not chaotic.’ . . .
Patrick Gibbs QC, who represents Mrs Saunders, said the next officer in the hierarchy did not know who Sergeant SE was and said there was ‘fundamental confusion’ in the management of the dropped’ operation.
Sergeant SE admitted that he had not kept in direct contact with the ‘silver commander’ he believed was his immediate superior.
But the officer denied he had failed to carry out his duty, insisting he was in constant contact with his silver commander’s tactical adviser, Inspector Nick Bennett.
However Superintendent Michael Wise told the inquest that as far as he had been concerned, SE had not been the bronze commander, and Inspector Bennett was in that role as well as the tactical adviser role.
The court heard how the operation was presided over by the disgraced Metropolitan Police Commander Ali Dizaei.
Now serving a four-year jail term for corruption, Dizaei, as the ‘Gold Commander’ was the officer nominally in charge of the operation. However he had left the practical running to his second and third in command and did not make the decision to fire on Mr Saunders.
Superintendent Wise said he did not know what had been written on the notes from Mr Saunders, in which he asked to speak to his wife.
Some of these had been dropped from the window. ‘I was not aware of the content of the notes but I was aware that something had been dropped which had been written on,’ he said.
What’s the British term for a cluster-you-know-what?