Last Wednesday Ian Tomlinson died during the G20 protests in The City. He was not actually a protester but a newsagent walking through the area later in the evening to get back to the shelter he had been staying at. In their original statement, the police claimed Tomlinson had not been attacked by the police, but merely collapsed in a nearby street and died of a heart attack. According to the Met, protesters showered the police and ambulance crews with bottles while they tried to help him. This was shown as completely false by a number of eye witnesses in evidence given to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
Anyway, it turns out today that the police were lying. Tomlinson was walking away from a line of police (with dogs in tow) when an officer stepped up behind him and hit him in the leg with a stick. The officer then proceeded to violently hit Tomlinson from behind which caused him to fall forward hard against the pavement. A bystander helps him up. Minutes later he’d collapsed and died around the corner.
Video evidence of these events can be found on The Guardian website here.
It was obvious from the start the police were twitchy about Mr Tomlinson’s death, immediately releasing false information. They did the same when an innocent Brazilian man Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead on the underground by police who claimed he was running away from police officers, not responding to their calls to halt, jumping over the ticket barrier, wearing a large jacket and rucksack which the officers claim led them to shoot him as they suspected him of being a terrorist. An independent commission revealed all these claims to be fabrications. CCTV footage of the event mysteriously went ‘missing’ due to ‘technical problems’ while the company which maintains the CCTV equipment claimed they were working properly. During the investigation a woman came forward claiming to have been raped by a man matching de menezes description. Forensic tests cleared de menezes and many claim this was an attempt to smear the man’s reputation And so on and so on. All the usual conspiracy fair, outlined in more detail in the Wikipedia page linked to above. I just mention it to be clear that the police have many priors on this kind of thing, and are very effective in covering their tracks.
Of course the police lie and they cover up their misdemeanours/mistakes. Maybe I should get over it. Maybe Mr Tomlinson deserves justice. Maybe, but for the grace of God, that could have been me last week, attacked by the police when I had no intention of violence/aggression against them at all. Punishment for the death of an innocent man must be sharp and swift (through the IPCC/legal system), unless we wish to see further deaths at the hands of the police.