Tag Archives: G20

IAN TOMLINSON REQUIRES JUSTICE: Ian Tomlinson unlawfully killed – inquest ruling

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.

R.I.P.

Ian Tomlinson    7 February 1962 – 1 April 2009

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Do the Police have a split personality?

The Police are one of the most important institutions in our democracy. They uphold the democratically made laws which make up our complicated constitution under very difficult circumstances trying to adhere to human rights issues and public concerns. They have to deal with financial constraints and political interference. Yet most people support the police up and down the country when it comes to protecting communities and individuals.

This good will people have is suddenly thrown away however when it comes to the Police handling of demonstrations. Over the past few years, time and again the Police make themselves look, well, thuggish and dishonest.

At climate camp, attended by families, children and lots of well meaning people the Police employed disgusting tactics to police the event. Using unlawful means of stop and search and misusing anti-terrorism legislation. Using loud noise to disrupt the camps lawful activities and brutal behaviour to police crowd control.

The Police even engaged in disgraceful politicking by preparing press conferences attributing finding chains and knives in the surrounding area and without any evidence whatsoever attributing them to the climate camp. They didn’t mention the childrens toys confiscated at the gate of the climate camp so obviously a threat to security!

At the G20 demonstrations we had again the use of brutal behaviour used against people doing nothing more than sitting down and singing! Hitting people in the face and trampling over people. The assault of a man leading to his death and what appears to have been a cover up with an inept (or corrupt?) autopsy hastily convened.

Kettling the favoured tactic by Police to constrain crowd behaviour does exactly what it says on the tin. It creates the conditions where pressure is exerted which leads to the frustration and the release of that pressure sometimes leading to violence.

The government does it’s best to politicise the Police which dates back to the miners strike of the 1980’s and beyond. Amazingly members of the Police manage to have removed their identification numbers when policing these demonstrations which we are supposed to believe is not deliberate.

For democracy to work effectively, we have to facilitate demonstrations and Police tactics need to evolve to deal much better than they have done in recent years. The scenes we have seen over the past few years puts ordinary people off from demonstrating and this is a crying shame for our society.

It now transpires that there WERE UNDERCOVER POLICE at the G20 demonstrations when previously this was denied. Members of the press and of the crowd demonstrating were adamant that there were and the Police flatly denied this. Now they have been proved to have lied over this. This again undermines the public’s confidence. (Londonnet)

I am not some lefty tree hugger who goes to each and every demonstration for a day out (not that I have a problem with lefty tree huggers!). But I believe it is every persons right to demonstrate peacefully and for the reputation of the Police to be upheld and to be seen in a good light by the general population and for democracy to function properly.

This split personality of the Police needs addressing. The next 2 years I fear will be the most socially turbulent we have seen since the early 1980’s. Demonstrations will become commonplace and anger will be running high. Effective and trustworthy policing allowing our democratic rights to be facilitated is essential.

Londonnet, (2009), Police now admit undercover cops were at G20 protest, [online], Loondonnet website, available at http://www.londonnet.co.uk/news/2011/jan/police-now-admit-undercover-cops-were-fatal-g20-demo.html