Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Ian Tomlinson

The blogosphere has exploded today following the recent release of video footage by The Guardian which shows that during the G20 protests, a police officer hit a man across the legs and pushed him onto the floor, from behind. The man appears to have had nothing to do with the protests and was walking away from the police. There is no indication that there was any sort of provocation. The man died a few minutes later of a heart attack. His name was Ian Tomlinson.

At first the police made no mention of the assault on Mr Tomlinson and indeed their statement suggested that the police were trying to help him and protesters were throwing missiles at them as they tried to do so. Although I am sure that later on police did try to help him (the footage is only for a couple of minutes prior to Mr Tomlinson's death) it is seems that the police (or at least one officer in particular) acted in a disproportionate manner towards an innocent bystander and this could have been a contributing factor to his death a few minutes later.

I fear that were it not for this footage having been taken and thus providing incontrovertable evidence of what happened that the police would not have volunteered the information, despite the fact that there were at least 5 of them who could clearly see what happened. There has been no indication in the last few days that they were intending to make this public themselves. I am sad to say that this seems to be par for the course. The jury in the De Menezes case in their verdict thought that the police had not been honest about their claims that an officer had shouted a warning before the fatal shots were fired. Independent witnesses had contradicted the police record and they were believed by the jury over the police. I was and still am very uncomfortable about the idea that the police would tailor their stories to all match with each other like this.

It is precisely for this reason that the recent stories about it being made unlawful to take photographs or film the police cannot be allowed to happen. It is only because footage is available that what happened to Mr Tomlinson can be fully investigated.

UPDATE: Following the revelation that Ian may well have died from internal bleeding, not a heart attack as was first thought, I have some further thoughts on how the Police will have to change.

9 comments:

Miller 2.0 said...

Spot on.

LFAT's stuff was v. dense, have replied to it back at my place.

Oranjepan said...

Yeah, and Labour recently banned taking pictures of the police - surely there must be some cctv of the incident too.

Anonymous said...

The police blatantly lie all the time and are becoming an uncontrollable force. The murder of an innocent Brazillian without a single person being punished should have warned everybody that they are out of control. And why is no-one asking why this officer (or the others) have their badges removed or why the coward who shoved Tomlinson is masked? Nor did they "help" Tomlinson when he was down-it was medical officers who have a duty to assist.

Matt Green said...

This is a terrible story. I fully expect that nothing more than a slap on the wrists will happen as that is all that normally happens when people complain about such events. It is interesting to note that the identification number doesn't appear to be visible even though that legally it should be.

Mark Reckons said...

Matt - That is another of my concerns also about the obscuring of badges and identity of officers. I have read comments that digits were missing or that police deliberately covered them up to avoid being identified.

I am not sure if this is true but if it is then it is worrying.

Anonymous said...

Let me take a guess what's happening next:
1) The police chief will whitewash the officer who committed the act.
2) This officer will get paid vacation
3) Nothing will happen to the other officers through complicit whitewashing by police and justice
4) The story will fade from our collective memory as soon as the press cant draw ad-revenue out of this news
5) The widow, son and daughter will have to live with this for the rest of their lives...
Sad story...

Vivifiant, Ohio

G B M said...

I agree with you Sir; the IPCC have simply become another barrier used to protect the reputation of the police. This is what happens when admission standards to the police are lowered to such an extent that bullies and thugs are taken on. I used to be a silent supporter of the police but now I am a vocal critic. What can we expect when we have a Home Secretary (Jackboot Jacqui) who thinks nothing of fiddling her expenses and defrauding the taxpayer.

Oranjepan said...

Mark Pack is reporting that the Police don't have any CCTV footage of the incident... at least the Police said there were no CCTV cameras, then they said the CCTV cameras weren't working...

http://www.libdemvoice.org/cctv-footage-ian-tomlinson-g20-death-13515.html

Anonymous said...

I am from Oregon, USA, and was unaware of this story until about an hour ago. I read the wikipedia article and then went on an hour long hunt for the name of the man who killed mr. tomlinson. I can not find his name. Does anyone know why that is? Obviously the police don't want someone taking the law into their own hands, but this seems a bit beyond that.