Human Rights


I am sorry, but this is the most awful thing.

Watch the video.

If this film shows what it appears to show, and if the context is as we understand it to be, this is very possibly evidence of the ‘unlawful act’ manslaughter of a blameless man.

If that is so, how will the police retain the trust of the public?

This is what The Guardian says:

Dramatic footage obtained by the Guardian shows that the man who died at last week’s G20 protests in London was attacked from behind and thrown to the ground by a baton–wielding police officer in riot gear.

Moments after the assault on Ian Tomlinson was captured on video, he suffered a heart attack and died.

The Guardian is preparing to hand a dossier of evidence to the police complaints watchdog.

It sheds new light on the events surrounding the death of the 47-year-old newspaper seller, who had been on his way home from work when he was confronted by lines of riot police near the Bank of England.

The submission to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) includes a collection of testimonies from witnesses, along with the video footage, shot at around 7.20pm, which shows Tomlinson at Royal Exchange Passage.

The film reveals that as he walks, with his hands in his pockets, he does not speak to the police or offer any resistance.

A phalanx of officers, some with dogs and some in riot gear, are close behind him and try to urge him forward.

A Metropolitan police officer appears to strike him with a baton, hitting him from behind on his upper thigh.

Moments later, the same policeman rushes forward and, using both hands, pushes Tomlinson in the back and sends him flying to the ground, where he remonstrates with police who stand back, leaving bystanders to help him to his feet.

The man who shot the footage, a fund manager from New York who was in London on business, said: “The primary reason for me coming forward is that it was clear the family were not getting any answers.”

The Guardian’s dossier also includes a sequence of photographs, taken by three different people, showing the aftermath of the attack, as well as witness statements from people in the area at the time.

Via Pickled Politics


Sunder Katwala at Next Left says:

Only a week ago, Times Comment Editor Daniel Finkelstein wondered if the presence of four LibDem parliamentarians as legal observers at the climate camp protest the same day was Nick Clegg’s idea of an April Fool’s joke, condemning it as “an extraordinary insult to the police, [which] it misjudges the public mood about the protests”. That was strongly challenged by LibDemVoice.

Finkelstein’s comments did reflect the endurance of an instinctive trust in the police which may well be shaken by this case.