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Officer who shot unarmed man being investigated for ‘gross misconduct’

A FIREARMS officer who shot dead an unarmed man in Coventry more than two years ago has been served with a gross misconduct notice, it was announced today.

The family of Sean Fitzgerald expressed its shock that the West Midlands officer will not face a criminal investigation after the police watchdog said there was “no indication” that an offence had been committed when the 31-year-old was shot on January 4 2019.

Mr Fitzgerald was killed by a single gunshot to the chest as he left a house in Coventry during a planned police raid involving the Warwickshire and West Midlands forces.

Derrick Campbell, the Independent Office for Police Conduct’s Midlands regional director, said today that the investigation had been “particularly complex” and that “due to the nature of the issues involved we have had to await expert advice.”

But Mr Fitzgerald’s brother, Liam, said: “We have only been given limited information to date, but that information indicates that the officer should be under criminal investigation in close co-ordination with the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service], with a charging decision being made without delay.

“We also call upon West Midlands Police to reconsider the status of this officer. Sean was totally unarmed when he died as a result of this officer’s actions and we don’t believe he should be able to continue carrying a firearm when potential gross misconduct has been identified.”

Deborah Coles, director of the Inquest charity which is supporting the family, said: “We share the frustration of Sean’s family that too often deaths in police custody in this country are not investigated to the criminal standard and police rarely face prosecution.

 “At the very least you would expect firearms officers potentially involved in gross misconduct would be prevented from continued public duties, as you would be in any other profession.” 

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