ITV News has come under heavy criticism after referring to the brave officers who shot and killed a knife-wielding terrorist as a ‘firing squad’.
An inquest into Khan’s death found that he was lawfully killed by armed officers who responded to Fishmongers’ Hall after the convicted terrorist went on an indiscriminate murderous rampage whilst armed with two knives on 29th November 2019. During the attack, and without warning, he specifically targetted unarmed civilians
Khan murdered 25-year-old Jack Merritt and 23-year-old Saskia Jones in cold blood. Two other women were seriously injured, and a Chef working at the building was also stabbed.
Both Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones were attending an event designed to help rehabilitate offenders who had recently been released from prison, including Khan who had served time for terrorist offences.
Armed officers from the City of London Police arrived only minutes after panicked witnesses desperately called 999 for help.
When the officers arrived on the scene, Khan was being detained by several brave members of the public. After pulling the civilians out of harm’s way, officers spotted that Khan was wearing what was designed to look like a suicide vest.
Initially, one shot was fired by one of the ARV officers. It hit Khan but did not kill him. However, owing to the presence of what officers believed was a suicide vest, they withdrew from the immediate area and set up a cordon.
After several minutes, and after additional ARV units arrived on the scene, Khan started to get up. Not knowing that the suicide vest was fake, six officers fired a further eight rounds into Khan, who died a short while later.
During the inquest into Khan’s death, the ARV officers who responded to the call for help explained that they believed Khan was trying to detonate an explosive device.
In a post published on their Facebook page, ITV news captioned their headline of ‘Fishmongers’ Hall terrorist Usman Khan lawfully killed, inquest finds’ with the caption: ‘the 28-year-old was shot by a firing squad of armed officers outside Fishmongers’ Hall after Khan strapped kitchen knives to his hands and stabbed two Cambridge university gradutaes at a prisoner education event’.
Responding to the caption, one social media user said:
‘ITV should be totally ashamed of this headline .You did NOT need an enquiry to justify the police’s actions .They saved more lives in the process of doing what they are trained to do .Protect and uphold the law .Who writes these headlines ? They need to find another job .Well done and thank you those officers who dealt with this threat .If others had done their job properly in the first place the victims would still be alive today .R.I.P to the innocent victims’
One officer, who goes by the name ‘Constable Chaos’ on Twitter said:
‘Even after dealing with an active terrorist who had killed 2 people & was wearing a suicide vest .. the police still have to put up with the pathetic anti-cop narrative of our mainstream media … FIRING SQUAD !!!???
@itvnews care to explain yourselves ??’.
Another officer using the Twitter handle ‘FoxtrotCop’ tweeted:
‘‘Firing Squad’? These journalists need to have a word with themselves’.
As per the Collins Dictionary, a ‘firing squad’ is defined as a ‘group of soliders who are ordered to shoot and kill a person who has been found guilty of committing a crime’.
As well as not being ‘soldiers’ the armed officers shot Khan because they had an honest and genuinely held belief that he was about to detonate an explosive device.
PFEW Chair, John Apter told Emergency Services News:
‘Yet again we see an inflammatory, sensationalist, ill-conceived, sloppy and offensive headline from the media.
‘This is becoming a more regular occurrence, with one time professional media outlets sinking to a new low of gutter press and click bait journalism.
‘Those officers who attended the scene of a terrorist attack thought they were going to die, they were heroes and what they did and for the press to twist it in the way they have is an insult.
‘The media really need to take a hard look at themselves and understand that their sensational and often offensive headlines are damaging. I will play my part in calling this out and complaining when I see such things but I also want the public to do the same, don’t accept this, we deserve better’.
Former police officer, now turned policing analyst, Graham Wettone told emergency services news:
‘Appalling headline – in my view reporting should be factual AND balanced.
‘This is far from either – those officers ran towards what they honestly believed at the time was viable & real explosive vest. I believe the headline has now been amended but I would like to see an unreserved apology posted by the news network to those officers and the police service.
‘I know the headlines are often written by a different person than the author of the piece but this should not have been allowed to be posted in public.
‘There must be increased awareness & acknowledgement of the damage this can do when a respected news network posts such inflammatory & inaccurate reports.
‘This is just designed to attract views & clicks & sensationalise a report – it’s wrong, unjust and grossly unfair to the officers who responded that day and to policing as a whole’.
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