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Family slam police after 'spying' claims

SCOTLAND Yard is embroiled in a fresh scandal over undercover police tactics after it was claimed that officers spied on the family of Jean Charles de Menezes.

Relatives of the young Brazilian, who was shot dead by officers who mistook him for a suicide bomber in July 2005, are now considering legal action against the force. It has been claimed that officers from Scotland Yard gathered information about several grieving families who were involved in justice campaigns, including the relatives of Mr de Menezes, as well as Cherry Groce, whose death sparked the Brixton riots, and Ricky Reel who died in mysterious circumstances in 1997.

Yesterday the latest report on the force's secretive Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) was due to be published, with the unit, Special Branch and senior management at the Metropolitan Police set for criticism. Derbyshire Chief Constable Mick Creedon was to say that rules were flouted over what information should have been kept on record.

The unit was also accused of having infiltrated campaign groups close to the family of murder victim Stephen Lawrence and gathering information to "smear" his relatives.

A spokeswoman for the Jean Charles De Menezes Family Campaign said: "It is shameful that the Metropolitan Police spied on the legitimate campaign activities of a grieving family who were simply trying to get the answers they deserved after their loved one was killed by police officers."

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