Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Val Swain and Emily Apple - Shocking police footage

The Guardian has shocking footage here of two protesters being manhandled for what appears to be no good reason during the Kingsnorth protests last year. Here is the footage from Youtube:

Val Swain and Emily Apple were apparently arrested for trying to identify the officers involved. What seems to spark it off is when they try to photograph an officer who has refused to identify himself. They are grabbed and bundled to the floor. Pressure is applied to their necks and Emily has her foot stood on, is bound and thrown into the back of a van.

They were then held for 4 days after which they were released without charge. By then the protests were over.

Now I have written about this sort of thing before. The Ian Tomlinson case where a man died some time after being pushed by a police officer during the G20 protests sparked a great deal of public concern and anger. I said not long after that that the use of new technology would eventually force the police to change.

Now the events shown here took place last year before the repercussions of the Ian Tomlinson case had been felt but I think it is a prime example of what the public is concerned about. It certainly shows that the sort of things we saw at the G20 were not isolated incidents or indeed confined to the capital (Kingsnorth is in Kent and the police officer who refused to identify himself was apparently from West Yorkshire according to the footage). There are distinct parallels with the sort of things we saw at the G20 protests, refusal of officers to identify themselves, disproportionate force seeming to be used when it seems unwarranted etc. I hope this footage gets wider coverage and other abuses like this come out into the open.

Emily and Val are members of Fit Watch, an organisation which aims to film and record police officers as they record the public at things like demonstrations. This is exactly the sort of thing the public should be doing and as long as the police are acting correctly then there should be no problem with people doing this.

As I said before, the technology will eventually force the police culture to change. This is another example that will hopefully contribute to this.

UPDATE1: Updated to include the Youtube footage. Hattip to Fausty for this.

UPDATE3: The original Youtube footage I embedded has been removed so I have replaced it with another version which is the same footage (I think, from memory).


Constantly Furious said... film and record police officers as they record the public at things like demonstrations. This is exactly the sort of thing the public should be doing.

I can think of 1,000 things that the public should be doing that are more important than this..

Mark Reckons said...

I think that holding the police to account like this is vital. For exactly the reasons that the cases like Ian Tomlinson's demonstrate.

I am not suggesting that we all grab our cameras and film the police all the time but it is important in my view that it happens enough to change the culture.

It doesn't even have to take that much effort. Most of us have the facility to do this on our mobile phones these days.

And am I to assume that if you think there are 1,000 things more important than this then you are OK with the sort of actions shown on this footage and all the other ones we have seen recently?

marcuscleaver said...

Thank you for highlighting this Mark. I have watched the video and the behaviour of the police is almost beyond brutal and may be considered as torture; especially looking at the pressure applied to the neck of one of the protesters.

It is so important that we are able to hold police to account. The law stating we cannot film police officers seems absurd, particularly if they refuse to identify themselves.

At the same time it is equally important that the public do not lose confidence in the police service. Many officers do a good job often under difficult circumstances.

Constantly Furious said...

"I am not suggesting that we all grab our cameras and film the police all the time".

..and that's what worries me. I've recently spoken to people before demos, and got the feedback "I've got the camera";"I painted the banners";"I'm doing the videoing".

Great. What are you protesting against? "Errrr..."; "I've got the camera"..

What do you object to? "Errrr..."; "I know my rights"

There's a generation of 'professional' protesters, well-versed in the law and their rights, and available for any gig.

And that's NOT a good thing.

Bill Door said...

Whinge, whine, whinge, whine ... these women obviously haven't got anything better to do with their sad little lives other than be professional protestors and police antagonists.
You've only got to watch their "professional victim" videos !?!
People like that make me sick.
They're part of the reason we've got such a fucking dysfunctional society and lame culture.
I think they should have been taser'd ... that's teach 'em a lesson ... and make them think twice before doing it again ... then maybe they'd fuck off to do something else as equally pathetic ... like campaigning for asylum seekers or something.
They are fucking idiots !

Mark Reckons said...

How charming Bill. Of course I completely disagree with you.

I want there to be a debate about this but I don't really feel that Bill's post adds to it. I haven't deleted it as I would rather not go down that road but if the comments here continue in this vein then I will turn comment moderation on and may start deleting blatantly insulting comments.

Anonymous said...

You're full of crap, ConstantlyIgnorant.
It's past time to beat these guys back into the legitimate role of the police, which is to protect and serve the citizen, NOT the corporations, jerkoff.

Zoompad said...

Glad that you have left Caveman Bills ug ug remarks up for all to see - I do the same with the paedophile trolls who haunt my anti child abuse sites.

It's great what Val and Emiuly have done, because if this type of "policing" is not stopped the whole of Great Britain will soon become a gulag.

Zoompad - friend of Norman Scarth, 83 year old war hero who was persecuted by the West Yorkshire police for complaining about the illegal murder of his friend Andy McCardle and the oldest, bravest and more determined human rights activist I have ever met - this guy even stood against Tony Blaire at Sedgefield in the election!

Anonymous said...

Constantly Furious...

They are protesting against a surveillance state. They are protesting against being treated, cataloged and tracked like a terrorist simply because they are exorcising their freedom of speech and right to voice dissent.

"Watching the watchers" is a statement to that effect and lets them know that they cannot continue to deny citizens of human rights without there being consequences in the court of public opinion and, as a result, in the very system that sent them out to do their dirty work.

The few of them cannot suppress an informed and motivated public...."Constantly Furious" and "Bill Door" do not fall under that definition and so therefore deserve to be the best slaves they can be in the slave state of Britannia.

"Bill Door"...I request a demonstration of the type of tasering you suggest to be performed on you. I think you might make good victim fodder as I'm sure you'd cry like a baby and plead for help from the very people you've condemned. You are clearly a pathetic coward...also a fine slave for the police state....good run along.

Constantly Furious said...

"also a fine slave for the police state"

Spare us your tired and tedious rhetoric.

It's just lazy and stupid to try to conflate those who don't wholeheartedly agree with your narrow views with instruments of some imaginary fascist state.

I have many grievances with the government, and with the way our state is run. Just because I choose not to address these issues by screaming and spitting at a policeman while a fellow "protester" films him to see if he dares to react, doesn't actually make me a "slave for the police state", does it?

Oh, and get this:
"You are clearly a pathetic coward"
says ... says ... Anonymous. Hahahahahahahahahahaha!!

You couldn't make it up.

Kalok said...

Whose decision it was to blur the faces of the police officers and was it for any legal reason?

Suzanna said...

Well for starters, these two bimbos brag on their website how their IRA tactics made the police in Ireland totally dysfunctional back in the day. Apparently, they are advocating making the British police totally dysfunctional as well.

Personally, I think "protesters" who advocate IRA tactics should be monitored by the police. Just to know who threw the brick through the window, who put the bomb under the car, who cut the power lines, who burnt down the building and a host of other things these "sweet innocent" IRA bred people do.

The "mom's" argument is also completely false. An on-duty uniformed police never has to stop what he's doing to ID himself. That's only for plain clothes officers serving warrants. Does any buy into the argument that she's asking for badge numbers because she honestly thinks these guys are police impersonators?

Think about it folks. Suppose you are getting your brains beaten out by a thug. A unformed police sees this and runs up to arrest the thug. But, the thug's buddy who's watching all this the steps between policeman and the thug and asks "Can I have your name?" What's your badge number?". "Which station are you out of?" "Who is your supervisor?". etc. etc. What if the thug has 10 inquisitive buddies? What do you REALLY think the on duty uniformed policeman should do?

If you turn off the sound track of the commentator( big brother media - who is telling you what to see) and just watch the actions on the tape, then it quite clear what happened. These trouble makers are running around harassing the police any way they can and the police are ignoring them. Unable to make trouble that way, they walk straight trough the police pylons and get arrested. As they should be.

I would love to learn from these bleeding hearts "Where is this imaginary land where you dash through police tape or pylons and DON'T get arrested?"

Emerson said...

Did you noticerd that this video was removed????

I ahd also posted about this, gonna find another one...

Mark Reckons said...

Thanks for letting me know Emerson. Could you also let me know if/when you find another copy of it so I can link to it?

I wonder if this is linked to the latest climate change protests?