Result Of Distortion In Social Cognition

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Man’s behavior towards other people depends on his internal cognitive structure about other people. Every action, whether it is planned or spontaneous, is driven by the social cognitive structure of mind. Hence, it won’t be wrong to say that the killing of Mr. Charles de Menezes, who was shot dead after being mistaken for a terrorist called Hussain Osman (Swaine 2008), was actually not a case of mistaken identity, but was a result of the distortion in the internal cognitive structure of people who were responsible for the killing. Mr. Charles de Menezes was shot seven times in his head by the plainclothes officers, without giving him a warning or without making sure that he was the right person (Swaine 2008). The intention of the police operation was to keep a watch of the flats where Osman lived and stop anyone leaving the flats or arrest them quietly for investigation (Bailey 2008). When Mr. Charles de Menezes left the flat, he was folowed by differnt officers to the tube station where he boarded the subway car (Bailey 2008). During this whole process, officers ‘James’, ‘Frank’,‘Ivory’ and ‘Laurence’, who were following Mr. Menezes, were not sure if he was the man they were looking for. In fact ‘Laurence’ told the team that he did not believe the person was identical to the man they were looking for (Bailey 2008). After all these signals from the surveillance officers about Mr. Menezes not being ‘their’ man, Commander Cressida Dick chose to send SO19 (the firearms team) to stop him, instead of sending SO12 (surveillance team) or SO13 (the armed debriefing team), thinking about the risk involved (Bailey 2008). An innocent man, who had no idea what was going on, was killed because of the distorted internal cognitive structure of the officers who were under pressure of threat from terrorists.