Finally, after 2 years of some of the most disgraceful behaviour by any Police Force, Ian Tomlinson’s family have a verdict in the inquest into his death that gives hope to the idea that justice can prevail.
Two years ago at the G20 demonstrations, a series of events were triggered which led to a cover up, the closing of ranks, call it what you will of the Police Force that was simply disgusting to see. Time after time the public have been lied to and misinformation liberally spread by the authorities, but now it is official, Ian Tomlinson was UNLAWFULLY KILLED by the Police officer PC Simon Harwood.
What we saw that day, back in 2009, was the other side of the Police force that many see from time to time but that we are told is a thing of the past. The two faces of the Police, that split personality, has been seen more and more as the stresses in our society gather pace. Those who demonstrate take extreme risks with the tactics of the Police from time to time, and in the case of the G20 protests, literally took their lives in their hands.
Ian Tomlinson was a completely innocent by stander just trying to get home to his family. Turned away on various occasions from routes home, he finally met his fate at the hands of a Police Officer who used excessive and unnecessary force against the unarmed, bystander, whilst walking away from the officer.
If we did not live in the social media age, no doubt this crime would have gone unpunished and unnoticed.
Within days of the death, it was clear as video images began to emerge on the internet, of the incident and of members of the public giving their accounts. The Guardian began to run these videos and asking questions.
From then on we had a closing of ranks. First denials; then a post mortem stated that he died from a heart attack; it was denied that the Police had any contact with Mr Tomlinson prior to the video footage of him being struck by Police; No Police man owned up to the incident.
Then as time went on more video tape, the discovery of ctv images, and the admission that Mr Tomlinson was a completely innocent by stander trying to get home from work and who had been turned away several times by the Police and the truth began to emerge. Two more post mortems revealed internal bleeding and trauma.
Still the white wash continued as the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), began a criminal enquiry that eventually decided in July 2010 that no charges would be brought against the officer, PC Simon Harwood, because the disagreement between the pathologists meant prosecutors could not demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt a causal link between the death and the alleged assault. A disgraceful decision that has now been brought into question by the inquest verdict.
PC Simon Harwood will become the first Police officer to be subject to a public Metropolitan Police disciplinary inquiry. The family of Ian Tomlinson have for the first time in two years seen the prospect of Justice for their loss.
I wish them well. What this sad and disgraceful episode shows is that any powerful state institution can become the barrier to justice, and use it’s power against the people rather than for it. The Police are no exception, indeed are even more prone to it.
The videos of Simon Harwood’s behaviour throughout that sorry day in April 2009, showed how out of control he was. A rogue thug, under the cover of a Police Uniform, and protected by the closing of ranks after the event.
Ian Tomlinson 7 February 1962 – 1 April 2009