An inquest into the death of Yassar Yaqub, who was fatally shot by a West Yorkshire Police officer in 2017 after he pointed a loaded gun at officers and ignored their verbal commands, has concluded that he was lawfully killed.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigated the incident, and their investigation concluded in December 2019.
On 2 January 2017, while carrying out surveillance as part of Operation Fillview, armed officers in unmarked vehicles forced two suspect cars to stop on the slip road at junction 24 of the M62.
The jury was told the Audi was rammed by an unmarked police car to prevent it from making off.
‘V39’ – the officer who fired the shots – said Yaqub had ignored his command to “show me your hands” and instead crouched down before bringing a loaded handgun over the dashboard.
‘V39’ leant out of the window of his police vehicle and fired three shots at Mr Yaqub. Two bullets hit him in the chest and caused “catastrophic blood loss”.
‘V39’ told the jury he had “no other alternative”, saying Yaqub pointed a gun at him before he fired.
The inquest heard a loaded pistol was found in the footwell under the front passenger seat, where Yaqub had been when he was shot.
The officer who fired the shots told the inquest he had “feared for my life and the life of my colleagues”.
He said Yaqub had ignored his command to “show me your hands”, and instead crouched down before bringing the loaded handgun over the dashboard.
Craig Nicholls QGM, Chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation said:
‘Our members are highly skilled, brave and courageous men and women. They put their lives on the line every single day to protect the communities they serve and the people of West Yorkshire.
‘Those Police Officers and staff that were involved in this incident were all treated as witnesses from the very start, and throughout the investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct. No criminal or misconduct proceedings have been brought against any officer or staff member.
‘The inquest heard the care, compassion and professionalism of everyone involved.
‘The loss of life in any circumstance is tragic, and our sympathies remain with the Yaqoob family.’
West Yorkshire Police Chief Constable John Robins said:
“The loss of life in any circumstances is, of course, tragic, and our sympathies remain with the Yaqub family for the loss of their loved one.
“But I also want to acknowledge how difficult the past five to six years have also been for the officers and staff who were directly involved.
“This has been a constant in their lives, from the incident itself, the criminal prosecutions, the investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and finally the recent inquest itself.”
“The IOPC said its investigation found the officer “gave a clear and credible account, which was strongly supported by other evidence, explaining the use of force to IOPC investigators”.
“Based on the available information, we considered the use of force to be necessary and reasonable in the circumstances as he genuinely and reasonably believed them to be,” it added.
IOPC Director of Major Investigations Steve Noonan said:
“Our thoughts remain with the family and loved ones of Yassar Yaqub, as well as all those affected by his death, at this difficult time.
“It is vital that any use of lethal force by police is thoroughly and independently scrutinised. Our independent investigation was comprehensive and detailed, helping provide clarity on the events of 2 January 2017.
“At no stage during the investigation did the evidence indicate that any officer may have committed a criminal offence or breached the standards of professional behaviour.
“The officer who fired the shots gave a clear and credible account, which was strongly supported by other evidence, explaining the use of force to IOPC investigators. Based on the available information, we considered the use of force to be necessary and reasonable in the circumstances as he genuinely and reasonably believed them to be.
“We previously published our recommendations, which were accepted by West Yorkshire Police, based on the findings of this investigation. However, there was no indication the issues we identified had any direct impact on the outcome of the police operation.
“Our work was shared with the coroner and included among the evidence used by the jury in reaching their conclusion, which is consistent with our own findings. I am grateful to them for their careful consideration of this case.”
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