The New York Post published a video that allegedly shows a suspect in the Times Square bomb attempt —
In a chilling surveillance video, the man is seen at the end of Shubert Alley peeling off a sweatshirt he’d been wearing over a short-sleeved red shirt, furtively glancing over his shoulder, then stuffing the sweatshirt into a bag.
Yes, some guy removing a sweatshirt on a warm spring day is certainly suspicious. So I looked at the NY Post video, which was made with a phone camera, and I have no idea why this particular guy was more of a “suspect” than anyone else seen in the video.
At times like this I think of Jean Charles de Menezes. If the name doesn’t ring a bell –
Think back to the 2005 London subway bombing. In the aftermath of the bombing, London police spotted a Middle Eastern-looking man acting very suspiciously —
[The man] was wearing a thick coat when he ran into the Stockwell subway station in south London Friday. Temperatures in London on Friday were in the 70s. Police began following the man when he left his home in an effort to arrest him as part of their investigation.
The man “was challenged and refused to obey police instructions,” Blair said. Witnesses said about 10 armed police in street clothes chased the suspect, he tripped, and, after telling bystanders to get down, police then shot him; the man died.
“They pushed him onto the floor and unloaded five shots into him. He’s dead,” witness Mark Whitby told the British Broadcasting Corp. “He looked like a cornered fox. He looked petrified.”
Whitby said the man didn’t appear to have been carrying anything but said he was wearing a thick coat that looked padded.
Another witnesses, Anthony Larkin, told the BBC that the man appeared to have “a bomb belt and wires coming out.” Sky News reported that there were no explosives found on the man after he was shot.
If you read the early news stories about the guy, he certainly sounded suspicious, if not downright guilty. However, after a few days it finally came out that the man who was killed was 27-year-old Jean Charles de Menezes, a Brazilian national. Menezes had been working as an electrician in London since 2002.
His visa status was questionable; some news stories suggest his visa might have expired, but that was never completely clear. Other than the possible visa violation, however, the guy had no criminal record and no ties to any terrorist group that anyone ever turned up.
Basically, Menezes was killed for being at the wrong place at the wrong time while looking sort of Middle Eastern.
I appreciate the NYPD might have some reason to suspect the balding white guy in the video that they’re not telling us. But to call the bit of video at the NY Post “chilling” is just silly. It’s a video of an average guy taking off his shirt. And I think whipping up hysteria over this guy (going on at some rightie sites; the usual ones) is irresponsible.