Protesters clashed with police on the streets of Bradford after a 28-year-old man was shot dead by police marksmen in what was described as a “pre-planned operation”.
Mohammed Yassar Yaqub was killed in his car on junction 24 of the M62, just north of Huddersfield, on Monday (2). The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), who are investigating the circumstances surrounding Mr Yaqub’s death, revealed that a “non-police issue firearm” was discovered inside Mr Yaqub’s bullet ridden silver Audi sports car.
West Yorkshire Police said their operation was a result of information they had received of alleged possession of illegal firearms. Three people were arrested at the scene of Mr Yaqub’s death and two other people were arrested at the Chain Bar area of Bradford. Several of those arrested needed hospital treatment but a police spokesman confirmed that this wasn’t as a result of a “discharge of a firearm.”
On Tuesday (3) dozens of demonstrators took to the streets around Leeds Road, Bradford to show their anger over the death of Mr Yaqub, throwing missiles at local police and bringing traffic to a standstill. Police wearing riot gear had to be called as the protesters moved towards the city centre. A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said the three hour protest had caused “minimal disorder” and no arrests were made.
The force added in a statement: “Police empathise with the heightened tensions and engaged with protesters to appeal for calm. They are continuing working with members of the community, partners and local officers to maintain community cohesion and police relations.”
The MP for Bradford West, Naz Shah, said she understood “that tensions are running high within communities” but urged her constituents to allow the IPCC to carry out their investigation into the killing.
“I understand that West Yorkshire police are working fully with the IPCC’s independent investigation into the circumstances of the shooting and there is due process to follow, which may mean certain information cannot be provided in the way that communities feel they need,” said Shah.
She added: “I have been assured that West Yorkshire police continue to be committed in facilitating peaceful protest and will continue talking and listening to communities with real concerns. The vast majority of those who attended tonight’s protest were peaceful in their actions. We must allow The IPCC investigation to take place, which will take its due course. This will require our patience and support.
“I urge our community to remain calm and respect the wishes of the family who have lost their loved one and have appealed for calm and privacy during this very difficult time.”
Mr Yaqub had previously been acquitted of attempted murder back in 2009 after being accused of being one of the gunmen in a drive-by shooting in Huddersfield. The case against him was dismissed at Bradford Crown Court over a lack of evidence.
The father-of-two’s family said they were “shocked and distraught” over his death but would not be making any further comments whilst the IPCC carried out its investigation.
IPCC commissioner Derrick Campbell said: “My thoughts are with Mr Yaqub’s family and all those affected at this difficult time. Though in its early stages, this investigation is making good progress but will be complex. We will be working hard to establish exactly what happened and would ask for patience while our investigation continues.”
A post-mortem on Mr Yaqub’s body was expected to be carried out on Wednesday (4).
Meanwhile, the police continued their investigation the day after the shooting as Mr Yaqub’s family home was one of many properties across Bradford and Huddersfield searched by armed police officers.