Thursday, April 09, 2009

New evidence of police attacks on G20 victim.

At first the Metropolitan Police claimed that protesters impeded medics from aiding Ian Tomlinson after he collapsed during to G20 protests. Then this video appeared on the Guardian's website, showing Tomlinson clearly being assaulted by a police officer.

Tomlinson was not a protester, but an Evening Standard newspaper seller trying to make his way home. He took a heart attack and died three minutes after this incident.

All of this is shocking enough, but there are now reports that Tomlinson was assaulted a total of three times by the police as he made his way home.

Ms Branthwaite told this newspaper how she witnessed two initial attacks further up the street as Scotland Yard's riot police swarmed the area.

"The dog handlers [believed to be City of London Police] were just starting to sweep the street and form a police line when Ian Tomlinson arrived. I saw a riot police officer charge him from behind and propel himself forward with his body weight," she said.

"Mr Tomlinson was on the ground and I saw him [the policeman] stand over him with a baton, hitting him twice. He was completely taken by surprise. He didn't know what hit him."

She added that he tried to get to his feet. "His natural instinct was to get up to run. The same riot police officer then grabbed him and ran with him for two strides and threw him forward." She then lost sight of Mr Tomlinson as she was hauled away by police. She was adamant that the filmed attack occurred seconds after the ones she witnessed. "He was not engaging with them [the police]. He was not taunting them. He was not shouting. It was completely unprovoked." Ms Branthwaite has made a statement to the IPCC, which will now pursue the investigation independently.

The shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling described the revelations as "alarming" and said they left, "big questions to be answered by the police".

The gravity of the situation facing Scotland Yard was reflected in a statement yesterday by its Commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson: "My thoughts are with Mr Tomlinson's family at this time. The images that have now been released raise obvious concerns and it is absolutely right and proper that there is a full investigation into this matter, which the Met will fully support."

We all understand that the police have an incredibly difficult job to do under these circumstances, but this kind of unprovoked assault is simply beyond the pale.

And there's another disturbing trend we see here, where all too often, the police simply lie about what has transpired.

Initially the Metropolitan Police spoke of how officers had on 1 April tried in vain to save Mr Tomlinson's life, claiming they had even been pelted with missiles, after he collapsed outside the Royal Exchange Building in the City. Investigators were told that there had been no contact with police before he collapsed.

All of this contributes to an impression that the police not only keep the law but that they themselves are above the law. And I will be very surprised if this investigation leads to any charges as that has certainly not been the case in the past.
No police officer has been convicted of a firearms offence in 15 years, despite the deaths of 30 individuals, many of whom were unarmed. Rather than learning from this poor record, the police have relaxed their guidelines for firearms officers. New rules of engagement were introduced several years ago (without a sniff of public consultation or parliamentary debate) allowing the police to shoot suspected suicide bombers without issuing a warning or identifying themselves. This unaccountability is accompanied by reflexive secrecy.
I well remember when Jean Charles de Menezes was shot at Stockwell tube station that an immediate flurry of utterly untrue stories emerged from the police, stories which a jury later found to have been false.

And, were it not for the person who gave this video to the Guardian then the chances are that the police story of this event would be accepted as gospel truth. We all realise that the police carry out an incredibly difficult task and this means, wherever possible, we give them the benefit of the doubt.

But public trust in the police force is inevitably eroded when the police are found to simply be barefaced lying.

Click title for full article.


Anonymous said...

I think it is an absolute outrage, If that had been a member of the public attacking another member of the public they would of been arrested within minutes.
But at this stage only a suspension and a investigation are the police above being arrested for what is blatantly a major case of assault ??????

Kel said...

Oh, it is outrageous. And, as you rightly state, anyone else who did this would be subject to instant arrest.