Video Surfaces: London Police Accused of Murder over G20 Protest Death

April 8th, 2009 - by admin

BBC News & George Monbiot / The Guardian – 2009-04-08 22:56:32

Criminal Case Call over G20 Death
BBC News

• To see video, go to the BBC Web site.

LONDON (April 8, 2009) — The Liberal Democrats are demanding a criminal inquiry after video footage of the G20 protest showed a police officer pushing over a man who later died. Newspaper vendor Ian Tomlinson, 47, suffered a heart attack shortly after the incident, outside the Bank of England in central London last week.

Lib Dem justice spokesman David Howarth said the footage showed a “sickening and unprovoked attack” by police. Mr Tomlinson, who was not protesting, had been making his way home from work. The pictures, shot at 1929 BST (1829 GMT) at Royal Exchange Passage, initially show him walking away from a group of police officers. He then receives a two-handed push from an officer, landing heavily before remonstrating with the police.

Mr Tomlinson collapsed and died of a heart attack after walking to nearby Cornhill, where he received first aid from police.

A New York fund manager recorded the footage, believed to be the last showing Mr Tomlinson alive. He said he came forward with the video because the vendor’s family “were not getting any answers”.

Reacting to the footage, Mr Howarth said: “This video clearly shows an unprovoked attack by a police officer on a passer-by. It is sickening. There must be a full-scale criminal investigation. The officer concerned and the other officers shown in the video must immediately come forward.”

Daniel Sandford, BBC Home Affairs correspondent, said of the footage: “This is now going to raise some more serious questions about the police behaviour on that night. Why is it that one of the officers walks up to a man who appears to be walking away from him?”

The Guardian newspaper obtained the video and it plans to hand it to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

An IPCC spokeswoman said: “We are now attempting to recover this evidence.We will be assessing this along with the other statements and photographs that have already been submitted.”

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said it would not be appropriate to comment while the IPCC investigation was continuing.

Earlier, Mr Tomlinson’s family made an appeal for witnesses. A statement from the family said: “Ian was a massive football fan and would have looked distinctive in his Millwall top. “He was probably on his way back from work to watch the England match and got caught up in the crowds.”


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G20 Protests:
Riot Police, or Rioting Police?

George Monbiot / The Guardian

LONDON (April 1, 2009) — At the G20 protests in London only one group appears to be looking for violent confrontation – and it’s not the protesters

The trouble-makers are out in force again. Dressed in black, their faces partly obscured, some of them appear to be interested only in violent confrontation. It’s almost as if they are deliberately raising the temperature, pushing and pushing until a fight kicks off. But this isn’t some disorganised rabble: these people were bussed in and are plainly acting in concert. There’s another dead giveaway. They are all wearing the same slogan: Police.

The police have been talking up violence at the G20 protests for weeks. They briefed journalists and companies in the City of London about the evil designs of the climate campaigners intending to demonstrate there, but refused to let the campaigners attend the briefings and put their own side of the story. They also rebuffed the campaigners when they sought to explain to the police what they wanted to do.

The way officers tooled themselves up in riot gear and waded into a peaceful crowd this afternoon makes it look almost as if they were trying to ensure that their predictions came true.

Their bosses appear to have failed either to read or to heed the report by the parliamentary committee on human rights last week, about the misuse of police powers against protesters. “Whilst we recognise police officers should not be placed at risk of serious injury,” the report said, “the deployment of riot police can unnecessarily raise the temperature at protests.”

But there has always been a conflict of interest inherent in policing. The police are supposed to prevent crime and keep the streets safe. But if they are too successful, they do themselves out of a job. They have a powerful interest in exaggerating threats and, perhaps, an interest in ensuring that sometimes these threats materialise.

This could explain what I’ve seen at one protest after another, where peaceful demonstrations turn into ugly rucks only when the police attack. The wildly disproportionate and unnecessary violence I’ve sometimes seen the police deploy could scarcely be better designed to provoke a reaction.

If this is so, they lose nothing. They might get the occasional rap over the knuckles from MPs or the police complaints commission. It doesn’t seem to bother them. By planting the idea in the public mind that the streets could erupt into catastrophic violence at any time, were it not for the thick blue line thrown around even the mildest protest, they establish the need for a heavy police presence. While the public lives in fear, no government dares to cut the policing budget.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.