Azelle Rodney was born April 22nd 1981 and was brought up in West London. He was one of three brothers and was well known for playing sports. His girlfriend gave birth to their daughter after his death on the 30th of April 2005 just 8 days after his birthday.
Azelle Rodney was shot dead while seated in the backseat of a car, during a police hard stop in North London in April 2005. The court heard that Anthony Long shot eight times while no more than two metres from Mr. Rodney, shooting him in the right arm, back, twice around his right ear and twice into the top of his head. He said the reason he shot Mr Rodney was because he believed that Mr Rodney was reaching for, and preparing to fire, a machine gun. This was after Mr Long saw movements from Mr Rodney as his unmarked police car came alongside the Golf car Mr Rodney was seated in.
What was the legal implication?
The trial followed the Public Inquiry, which took place in 2012 and reported its findings in July 2013 (over 8 years after the death). The Chairman said that he was ‘sure and satisfied’ that there was no lawful justification for the fatal shooting of Azelle Rodney.
In 2015, Anthony Long was cleared of murdering Rodney who he shot six times. Rodney’s mother described how she felt said had effectively seen her son subjected to the death penalty. Rodney was the third suspect Long had killed in his career. Long said he fired in self-defence.
Forensic and ballistic tests suggest five bullets hit Rodney as he was falling, appearing to contradict Long’s account that he continued to fire because the suspect remained upright and posed a threat. Weapons were recovered from the silver Golf but there were no machine guns. One weapon, covered by yellow plastic on the rear seat, could not fire.
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The proportion of BAME deaths in custody where restraint is a feature is over two times greater than it is in other deaths in custody. The proportion of BAME deaths in custody where use of force is a feature is over two times greater than it is in other deaths in custody. The proportion of BAME deaths in custody where mental health-related issues are a feature is nearly two times greater than it is in other deaths in custody.