Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Street protests in Bradford after police shoot drug dealer dead

BRADFORD: The shooting of an alleged drug dealer gunned down by police on the M62 has sparked street protests overnight. More than 100 people shut down Leeds Road in Bradford as they chanted anti-police slogans and accused officers of murdering Yassar Yaqub, 28, on Monday evening. Many wore scarves or balaclavas to hide their identity as they hurled abuse at police who sent in riot officers and the force helicopter but stood back. A group of about eight men started protesting Mr Yaqub’s death just after 7pm this evening but numbers quickly grew to more than 100 people. One member of the group said: ‘We are here to let people know what goes on and to show we are upset about yesterday’s killing by the police.’ Yassar Yaqub was shot dead at junction 24 of the M62, just north of Huddersfield, on Monday night. The 28-year-old was shot by police marksmen in a ‘pre-planned operation’ – police have revealed a gun was found in the car carrying the father-of-two. Video footage shows a large group of men waving placards as they march through the streets. Cars were brought to a standstill and buses were forced to take diversions because of the demonstration in Leeds Road, a main road that runs into the centre of Bradford. Mr Yaqub’s death is being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which said in a statement: ‘What appears to be a non-police issue firearm was discovered in the vehicle in which Mr Yaqub was travelling, and is being further examined.’ A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said: ‘A spontaneous protest commenced in Bradford around 7.15pm this evening. ‘Officers from West Yorkshire Police deployed to the area to facilitate a peaceful protest and to provide public reassurance. ‘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.

‘Crowds are starting to disperse and traffic is now passing with minimal disruption. ‘There was minimal disorder, which quickly de-escalated after dialogue with officers at the scene and there was no necessity to make any arrests. ‘Officers will remain in the area to provide a visible presence and to offer reassurance to members of the public.’ Firearms officers in six unmarked vehicles blocked in a Mercedes E Class, a Jaguar, a VW Scirocco and an Audi at junction 24 of the motorway before opening fire on Monday evening. Three bullet holes could be seen in the windscreen of the white Audi on its driver’s side, which also had four sets of keys left on its bonnet in the hours after the shooting. Photos of Mr Yaqub’s £136,000 Huddersfield home show the property covered in surveillance cameras, with at least 10 sited around the outside of the house. In a photo taken from social media, he is seen lounging on the bonnet of a yellow £409,000 Lamborghini sports car. The IPCC said a post-mortem examination on Mr Yaqub’s body is due to take place and its investigations are ongoing. 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 force spokesman said: ‘West Yorkshire Police can confirm the operation related to information received about criminal possession of a firearm, as a result of which vehicles were stopped at two separate locations.’ Tearful family and friends gathered outside Yaqub’s parents’ house in Huddersfield this afternoon, hugging as they left flowers and cards. Several cars full of armed police arrived at the house this afternoon.

A statement released by a solicitor on behalf of his family said: ‘Mr Yaqub’s family are in shock, and are distraught. They added: ‘The family are fully aware that the incident that led to the death of Mr Yaqub is currently being investigated by the IPCC and they do not wish to make any further comment at this stage.’ Mr Yaqub was put on trial in 2010 accused of attempting to murder two people in a drive-by shooting in 2009 but was acquitted when the case collapsed. One neighbour claimed that he was allegedly a drug dealer and they had put up CCTV after hearing gunfire next door. West Yorkshire Police said three other people in the cars were arrested and taken to hospital under armed guard for treatment’not related to firearm discharge’. In a simultaneous raid, two more men were arrested after police pulled over another vehicle in the Chain Bar area of Bradford. The five arrests are not terror-related, the force added. Yesterday forensics teams have sealed off the M62 sliproad and were photographing the luxury vehicles and a section of grass verge where the shot man may have died. Tributes have been made to Yassar, who is believed to be in his late 20s and from Huddersfield, on social media as friends stated their sadness at the incident. A user on Facebook posted about the incident saying: ‘The news I have just heard has broke my heart in two!! Yassar Yaqub was one of my closest friends growing up!! ‘How did this happen!! RIP MY BROTHER I can’t even speak right now!! Thoughts are with your family & baby girl!!! I’m so sorry x.’ While another user said: ‘Cannot believe what I’m hearing this morning. RIP Yassar. Thinking of you and your family.’ Lisa Collins posted: ‘R.i.p yassa. such a shock, justice should be served’. While another posted a picture of Yassar with the caption: ‘They took our guy, rest easy bro love you.’

Neighbours of Yassar Yaqub who has been named locally as the man shot by cops on M62 referred to him as a ‘drug dealer’ and heard ‘gunshots’ at his home. A female neighbour in her 40s, who wished not to be named, said: ‘He [Yassar] was a drug dealer, there were cars coming and going all the time. She added: ‘I once heard gunshots and his house was being shot at – that’s when I decided to put up CCTV on my house.’ Meanwhile, a family friend claimed Yassar had also been caught up in a gun attack two years ago when he was injured with shotgun pellets. He said: ‘Everyone is shocked really – and we’ll find out from an investigation what actually happened. ‘I know Yassar was shot just a few metres from his home about two years ago. ‘I know this because the street was all cordoned off and I couldn’t get to my house.’ The friend added: ‘He’d got married about three years ago, I’m not sure how many children he had though. He was his dad’s only son and Yassar had three sisters. It’s shocking and sad, his parents must be devastated.’ Huge bouquets of flowers were brought to Yassar’s home by two females which were handed to Yassar’s associates and taken into the house. Relatives and friends outside Yassar’s home in the quiet cul-de-sac declined to comment on the death, but when asked what happened in the consequences of Yassar’s death they replied: ‘We do not know’. Pictures show an ambulance and numerous police cars surrounding a group of five vehicles, which include an E Class Mercedes and an Audi. Behind them are two 4×4 vehicles, a van and another car, although it is not known how many of the vehicles were involved in the police operation. Bullet holes could be seen in the windscreen of a white Audi, with a host of car keys on the bonnet, as forensics officers examined the scene early this morning. No officers were injured in the incident, which  has been referred to the IPCC.

An IPCC spokesman said: ‘An IPCC independent investigation is underway following the death of a man during a pre planned police incident in Huddersfield. The IPCC understands that the man was shot by a West Yorkshire Police firearms officer shortly after 6pm on Monday January 2 close to Junction 24 of the M62 motorway. ‘IPCC investigators remain at the scene and are attending post incident procedures in order to gather evidence during the early stages of this investigation. The man’s family has been informed’. West Yorkshire Police has said it is ‘fully co-operating’ with the watchdog’s investigation, which was started in line with normal procedure. Gemma Wilson, a local councillor, said that high-class cars including a Mercedes E Class and a Jaguar what at the centre of what had happened. Shahnaz Malik’s house is the closest to the scene and overlooks the slip road from the village of Ainley Top. The 54-year-old said she was not aware straight away that there had been a shooting, first thinking it was a major accident. Ms Malik said that once she realised something out of the ordinary was under way, she looked over her back fence and saw large numbers of police vehicles and officers. ‘There was like a swarm,’ she said. ‘There was a lot. It was dark as well.’ She said: ‘It was surreal. It was like time had stood still, so many police buzzing around. ‘It all happened so quickly. I was just stood there freezing cold.’ Asked why she had looked out in the first place, she said: ‘It just didn’t feel right. I thought it must be a major accident. ‘I didn’t know what I was looking at, to be honest. It was like time had stood still but, obviously, all this movement was going on. I didn’t even occur to me there might have been a shooting.’ Ms Malik said Ainley Top was a tight-knit community and the shooting has shocked people living in the area. ‘It’s quite frightening. It’s a little village and we all sort of know who’s who.’ She added: ‘It’s absolutely horrendous. This is a major incident. Somebody has been shot and killed. You hear about this on the news.’

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