A police marksman who shot dead a gangster who was part of a plot to break out of prison could be sacked despite being found to have killed him lawfully.
Officers suspected he was one of three men waiting to try and break inmate Izzet Eren, a member of notoriously violent gang, the Tottenham Turks, out of a prison van.
An inquiry would later find that despite the Tottenham-native being unarmed at the time he was shot and a series of failings in the police operation, the officer who fired the bullet – known only as W80 – had done so lawfully.
But now the unnamed officer faces losing his job as the police watchdog is preparing to bring gross misconduct proceedings against him, The Telegraph reports.
Jermaine Baker, pictured, was shot to death by armed police in north London as officers tried to foil a plot to spring a gangster from prison
An inquiry later found that the father-of-two, pictured, was lawfully killed by an officer known as W80
It is claimed that the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) could announce the decision later today, with a source telling the paper the timing is ‘unfortunate to say the least’.
It comes amid raised tensions within the firearms unit at the country’s largest police force, after a Met marksman was charged with murder following the fatal shooting of rapper Chris Kaba.
The officer – known as NX121 – appeared in court last week, with the decision to charge him sparking a revolt among his colleagues as more than 100 armed officers handed in their weapons permits and refused to carry guns while on patrol.
It sparked a rush to find cover, with the Ministry of Defence offering to send members of the Armed Forces into the capital to cover for counter-terrorism officers, while Home Secretary Suella Braverman announced a review into armed policing.
The source, who works in the same field as W80 and NX121, told the Telegraph the decision meant firearms officers across Britain are ‘contemplating their future right now.
They said: ‘Not only do they risk being charged with murder when things go wrong, but even if they are cleared by the courts they could still be sacked for gross misconduct.
‘The system is unfair and it doesn’t make any sense. How can you be cleared of wrongdoing by one system but found guilty in another?
‘Nobody is saying we shouldn’t be accountable for our actions, but there has to be some consistency so we know where we stand. If things don’t change then I’m afraid nobody is going to want to do the job and we are going to have a major crisis on our hands.’
Jermaine Baker had been 28 year’s old when he was fatally shot by W80 near Wood Green Crown Court in the winter of 2015.
The counter-terrorism specialist firearms officer (CTSFO) claimed he thought he had seen the father-of-two reaching for a weapon when he pulled the trigger. An imitation firearm was later found in the rear of the Audi.
Despite being arrested and investigated by the IOPC, W80 was never charged – with the Crown Prosecution Service saying there wasn’t a realistic prospect of conviction should he be taken to court.
Mr Baker was fatally shot by an officer during a Metropolitan Police operation which thwarted a plot to snatch Izzet Eren (above) and his co-defendant in December 2015
Officers at the scene in Bracknell Close, Wood Green north London in 2015 after Jermaine Baker died after being shot during an ‘intelligence led’ police operation
In a criminal court he could have claimed self-defence by arguing he had an honest held belief that his life was in danger, even if this was later found to be mistaken.
However, the IOPC recommended he face a gross misconduct hearing as these are held under a civil test meaning such a belief must also be reasonable.
The Met took the matter to the Supreme Court which rejected the forces claims – and subsequent appeal – that the criminal test should apply in this misconduct hearing as well.
MailOnline has contacted the Metropolitan Police and IOPC for comment.
In 2022 His Honour Clement Goldstone QC concluded in an inquiry that, while Mr Baker was lawfully killed, there were police failings at almost every stage of the operation, which would ‘serve as a loud wake-up call’ to the next Metropolitan Police Commissioner, following the resignation of Dame Cressida Dick.
He said police chiefs were ‘fixated’ and ‘obsessive’ with their mission to stop the release of Eren and crack down on the Tottenham Turks that they couldn’t see the flaws in their approach.
Mr Goldstone suggested the operation ‘would have little effect on disrupting the activity of the Tottenham Turks or on achieving sustained public protection’.
He added: ‘The idea that this operation could succeed in ridding the streets of North London of lethal firearms was delusional – in reality, one firearm was the best the MPS could hope to recover.’
Bizarre decisions included an insistence not to consult Serco, the firm running the prisoner van, of the operation plans due to fears of corruption within the company, which Mr Goldstone described as ‘unspecified, undocumented and unsubstantiated.’
Had the force included them in planning, officers could have controlled Eren’s van as well as who else was inside and the route it took from the prison to the court, he added.
Reporting on the shooting itself, Mr Goldstone said: ‘I conclude that, when W80 shot Mr Baker, he held an honest and genuine belief that Mr Baker was moving in order to reach for the firearm.
Wormwood Scrubs, where Izzet Eren, a member of notoriously violent gang, the Tottenham Turks, was being held
‘As such, W80 perceived that Mr Baker posed a lethal threat… I draw the conclusion, on the balance of probabilities, that the perceived threat from the actions and movement of Mr Baker was such that W80 honestly believed that it was reasonably necessary for him to shoot at Mr Baker.’
Izzet Eren: The Turkish gangster police said Jermaine Baker was trying to break out of prison
Officers suspected Mr Baker was one of three men waiting to try and break inmate Izzet Eren, a member of notoriously violent gang, the Tottenham Boys, out of a prison van.
Eren – a Turkish gangster – was jailed for 21 years earlier in 2015 after being caught carrying a loaded pistol and a machine gun in north London while allegedly on his way to carry out a shooting.
He was described by police as ‘a senior member of a Turkish crime group’, who had reportedly returned to the UK in breach of a deportation order having been sentenced for drug trafficking offences.
His gang, the Tottenham Turks, had a long-running feud with the rival Hackney Turks, which resulted in multiple shootings, both in London and in Turkey, dating to 2009.
Eren, now 39, was transferred to a jail in his homeland in August 2019, but absconded from that prison a month later, before being busted by police in Moldova in May this year.
Commander Fiona Mallon, Specialist Crime, said: ‘I thank the Moldovan authorities, the National Crime Agency and the Crown Prosecution Service for their assistance in achieving this significant outcome.
‘The Metropolitan Police Serious Crime Manhunt team works around the clock to track down the criminals ‘most wanted’ by the Met. In this case, a hugely complex investigation was launched to establish Eren’s whereabouts, with a wide range of investigative and sensitive intelligence opportunities exploited.
‘This arrest sends a clear message to all those who commit serious crime in London: if you run, we will locate you and you will be brought to justice.’
Mr Baker’s mother, Margaret Smith, said her son was ‘no angel’, but that he ‘should have gone to prison’ rather than be fatally shot, and called on the inquiry chairman to consider whether her son being black could have been a factor in him being killed.
But Mr Goldstone said he ‘found no evidence to support a finding that race played any part in Mr Baker’s death’.
He also said that W80’s ‘overall credibility’ as a witness ‘remained largely intact’.
The inquiry chairman highlighted a number of failures, including that public safety should have been – but was not – the primary objective of the operation, that intelligence that the conspirators had only been able to source an imitation firearm was not passed on to W80 and others, and the ‘delusional’ idea that the operation would succeed in ridding the streets of north London of lethal firearms.
The inquiry heard that Mr Baker may have been asleep at the time he was shot, and may have misunderstood contradictory instructions shouted by armed officers who challenged the men in the Audi.
A police bug in the car captured a wall of noise with some officers telling the group to raise their hands, while W80 said he had instructed Mr Baker to put his hands on the dashboard.
No live firearm was found in the car in which Mr Baker was a front seat passenger, but a replica Uzi was discovered in the back of the car.
Officers had intelligence that the group had been unable to obtain a real gun, but this information was not passed on to the firearms team who confronted the men.
W80 told the inquiry he was convinced that they would be armed and would fight their way out rather than surrender when challenged by armed police.
In a statement released after the end of the inquriy, a Met Police spokesperson said: ‘Our thoughts are with the family of Jermaine Baker as the Public Inquiry into his death publishes its report. We offered every support to the Inquiry and submitted detailed evidence which can be found here.
‘The Inquiry report criticises how the policing operation was planned and carried out.
‘The Inquiry’s conclusions, however, were that these failures did not cause Mr Baker’s death, it was reasonable in the circumstances to assume that someone in the vehicle would be armed with a real firearm, and that Mr Baker was lawfully killed.
‘Since Mr Baker’s death we have made changes to how our firearms command operates in London, including how operations are run and overseen, how we train and support officers involved and how we keep records.
‘We are always open to improving our capability to tackle the threat of firearms. We will now take time to carefully study the Inquiry’s recommendations before responding in more detail.’