The IPCC investigation into the shooting of Nathaniel Brophy by Metropolitan Police (MPS) officers has found that officers were entitled to believe there was an immediate threat to life and were therefore justified in their decision to fire their weapons.
Mr Brophy, 36, and from Fulham, was shot and injured at his former home address at Tilson Gardens, Brixton on 21 August 2015 after police had responded to reports he was threatening unarmed officers with a firearm.
Officers from the MPS Specialist Firearms Command attended the address and were involved in a lengthy period of negotiation with Mr Brophy. He then emerged from his home with what officers believed was a firearm and the officers believed their safety to be threatened. Two officers fired two shots each.
Officers commenced first aid immediately at the scene until paramedics arrived. Mr Brophy was then taken to hospital where he recovered from his injuries. He was subsequently arrested, charged and imprisoned for 16 months for two counts of possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
The IPCC investigation examined the actions of the officers who fired the shots and the tactics, strategy and information the MPS used to respond to the allegations against Mr Brophy. The police officers involved were treated as witnesses during the investigation.
The non-police firearm discovered at the scene of the shooting was identified as a gas-canister powered ball-bearing, or BB, gun. The BB gun was loaded and resembled a handgun.
IPCC Commissioner Jennifer Izekor said:
“This was a difficult set of circumstances for all the people involved including Mr Brophy’s family, the officers involved and the community of Tilson Gardens who were displaced from their homes during the incident which took place over several hours. Concerns were raised about the reasons for officers attending the property and about whether there was any connection between Mr Brophy’s tenancy, which had come to an end a few weeks prior to this incident occurring.
“Our investigation examined all of these issues in great detail. It concluded that armed police responded to a member of the public (a housing officer) and a police officer being threatened by Mr Brophy with what appeared to be a firearm in the course of their normal duties.
“It also concluded that shots were fired in response to a genuinely perceived escalation in the threat posed by Mr Brophy. The IPCC investigator was satisfied that the officers’ actions were appropriate in the circumstances and it was a justified use of force.”
The investigation also concluded that the decision to declare a firearms incident was justified and the overall the tactics used by the MPS were sound. The presence of BWV formed a key part of the investigation. As a result of the poor quality of images recorded during the incident, the IPCC made a recommendation to the MPS to review mounting positions for BWV and improve the reliability of date and time stamps on footage. This was recognised as a technical issue for the suppliers and the investigator was satisfied about the integrity of the footage recorded during the incident.
The MPS has agreed with our recommendations and we are aware that these have been incorporated within the wider learning emerging from the pilot project in place around BWV at the time the incident occurred.
Finally the IPCC also took on board comments made by residents of the estate in relation to its own role in the overall handling of the post-incident procedure and the impact on tenants. The IPCC has learnt lessons from this and will continue to improve its engagement with community stakeholders following major incidents.
Due to protected personal data, the full report is not being published at this time.