source: VICE News
published: 20 August 2021
In April 2005, West Londoner Azelle Rodney had a lot to look forward to. He’d just turned 24 and he and his heavily-pregnant girlfriend were expecting their daughter any day. What could never have been anticipated was the way in which he died just days after his birthday.
On 30 April 2005 in Edgware, Rodney was shot dead in the backseat of a Volkswagen Golf driven by two men who had been under police surveillance.
During a hard stop – the interception and obstruction of a vehicle by armed officers – three cars surrounded the vehicle, with one hitting the rear of the Golf. Firearms officer Anthony Long, formerly identified only by the pseudonym of E7, fired eight rounds through the passenger window at Rodney. He was shot in the arm, back and head six times.
It wasn’t long before the press began reporting that Rodney had been holding a gun when he was shot (the Independent Police Complaints Commission later confirmed he was not) and described him as a “drugs baron” and a “crack dealer”.
A 2013 public inquiry concluded that Long had no lawful justification for killing Rodney, rejecting his version of events as at odds with forensic evidence. When Long was subsequently charged with murder in July 2015, he was found not guilty by a majority verdict.