IPCC Commissioner Cindy Butts' statement on the investigation into the fatal shooting of Jermaine Baker
The following statement was given by Commissioner Cindy Butts to a community meeting in Tottenham:
Good evening. I want to start by thanking you for giving me the opportunity to come and update you on our investigation into Jermaine Baker’s death. The number of you here this evening is an indication of how important it is to you to hear about the progress of our investigation.
I want to give as full an update on the progress as I am able to. But first let me reassure you that the information I am providing you with tonight has been shared with Mr Baker’s family who we continue to liaise with as our investigation progresses and I am sure all of our thoughts are with them at this terrible time.
I must though stress from the outset that although we are making good progress with our investigation into Mr Baker’s death, we are limited in what we can say by the fact that we are conducting a criminal investigation.
It is in nobody’s interest if I undermine the integrity of the investigation by disclosing information that, at this time, it would not be appropriate to make public.
Therefore I will be as open as I possibly can with you, but I understand that you will probably want a level of information that I simply cannot provide at this stage.
So the facts I can provide you with are that on Friday 11 December, Jermaine Baker, a 28 year old man of mixed race, from Tottenham, died during a police operation in Bracknell Close, Wood Green. Mr Baker received medical treatment at the scene but sadly died as the result of a single gunshot wound.
We were informed by the Metropolitan Police and our investigators were immediately sent to the scene, where they engaged in the forensic retrieval and preservation of evidence.
At the scene was a black Audi. The evidence suggests that Mr Baker was in this car when he was shot. In that car was what appears to be a non-police issue firearm.
Further forensic examinations will take place on the non police issue firearm and the firearm that was discharged by the police officer.
I am not able to provide information about whereabouts in the car the non-police issue firearm was found or where Mr Baker was sat. These questions are the focus of our investigation.
The examination of the scene took more than 24 hours to complete to ensure all potentially relevant material was recovered, and was not fully released until gone 3pm on Saturday. The Audi was removed for a full forensic examination.
We are in the process of seeking to take detailed statements from a number of members of the public who were identified as significant independent witnesses. We completed preliminary house to house enquiries in order to trace further witnesses on Saturday and we will be conducting a one week anniversary witness appeal on Bracknell Close tomorrow morning.
A CCTV trawl has been undertaken and at this stage no relevant CCTV has been identified. No Body worn cameras have captured the incident.
I am aware of the concerns and frustrations the community have on this issue and would like to reiterate that we the IPCC support the widest possible use of body worn video.
At the same time as attending the scene additional IPCC investigators went to a police building where the officers involved in the operation gave their initial accounts of what happened. As is standard practice the officers were warned about conferring with each other, both by a senior Metropolitan Police Officer and by an IPCC investigator.
On Sunday there was evidence to indicate that a potential criminal offence may have been committed by the officer in his use of lethal force. We therefore made the decision to begin a criminal homicide investigation.
This is not a decision we took lightly. Our decision followed careful consideration of the evidence available and whether that evidence met the legal requirement that meant a criminal investigation should be carried out.
This afternoon a firearms officer has been arrested and interviewed under caution. All the other significant firearms officers have provided detailed statements as is normal practice.
The evidence we have at this stage does not mean that the officer definitively committed a criminal act and nor does it mean he will necessarily be charged with a criminal offence.
Ultimately once we have gathered all the evidence and concluded the investigation I will make the decision whether to formally refer the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service – if that happens it will be for them to decide whether to bring charges and what they should be.
The investigation is only a matter of days old and the evidential picture is continuing to develop and just as we took the decision that the investigation should be criminal, further evidence could mean we reconsider that decision.
We are independently investigating Mr Baker’s death. We are open minded about what happened and we will follow the evidence no matter where it takes us and what implications it holds.
As and when it is appropriate we will provide updates. But again I stress this is a criminal investigation and your desire for information may not be satisfied by what we are able to say.
I may also add that since Mr Baker’s death there has been a wide variety of speculation about his background and what happened that morning.
This speculation in the mainstream media and on social media is not helpful. It can undermine our ability to comprehensively investigate, by potentially influencing the accounts witnesses provide to us and their willingness to provide them.
In the last couple of days we have taken action to prevent prejudicial reporting through our press and social media statements as well as supporting efforts by David Lammy MP to try and prevent this prejudicial reporting. This has resulted in the Attorney General issuing advice to the media yesterday in respect of their reporting.
Finally I want to appeal directly to everyone in the room. On your seats are witness appeal leaflets with contact details for our investigation.
If you have information or if you know people who do, please get in contact or ask them to get in touch. You can call 0800 151 0020 or email [email protected] .
Thank you for your time this evening and I would ask for your patience and co-operation in assisting us to get to the truth.