Metropolitan Police Kill Again

I’ve written before about the way in which officers in the Metropolitan Police have killed with impunity and then had their actions covered up by senior colleagues. But this isn’t Jean Charles DeMenezes – his name was Ian Tomlinson. And video has now emerged of the unprovoked and unwarranted attack by riot police on this man, who was merely passing through the G20 protests and not even looking at them. Minutes after the attack he collapsed and died of a heart attack, after being trapped in a police ‘kettle’. You watch the video and you tell me what you think led to his death. Bear in mind too the disinformation the Met spread immediately after his death. Shades of DeMenezes? If you think the brutal, multiple assault caused his death, then you can only conclude that Ian Tomlinson was murdered by the Metropolitan Police.

The footage is below. Let me know what you think of what you see and what should happen as a result.

Duncan Campbell suggests:

The two lessons must be that, as always, we should never assume that the first official version of a death in suspicious circumstances is accurate. The second lesson must be that the police have now to review their tactics for future demonstrations.

A man with a weak heart died. Was he prevented from leaving a scene of mayhem, of police, mounted and in riot gear, of barking dogs and bonfires? We were meant to recall the G20 summit as the start of a new world order. It may now turn out to be a rather less glorious view of the mechanics of law and order.

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23 responses to “Metropolitan Police Kill Again

  1. “Let me know what you think of what you see and what should happen as a result”

    My initial thoughts are that the man was allegedly on his way home from work but appeared just to be loitering in the midst of a demonstration.

    I would also think the Police made the decision to knock him down because he appeared to be getting something out of his pocket whilst simultaneously loitering between a police line and a group of protesters.

    Furthermore, I’m not sure if a shove like that would be conducive to a heart attack and I guess we’ll have to ask the medical professionals the answer to that.

    That’s what I see but I remain open minded and look forward to the introduction of medical evidence.

  2. Except it wasn’t just a shove, it was a hit too. And witness statements are now all pointing to his having also been attacked by them earlier as well.

    What can be drawn from what we know is that the police tactics presumed that everyone around them was hellbent on violence and was thus a threat. The evidence they had on the day was the exact opposite, but remember Bob Broadhurst had promised Met violence would be doled out. If that had an effect on the general public, is it any wonder that it had an influence on the police themselves? We know what the TSG’s recent behaviour has been, that criminal charges are being considered against them – this video follows on directly from all of these things we know.

    I suspect it’s unlikely we’ll get a conclusive, medically proven cause and effect between the attack and his subsequent death. It doesn’t however take a genius to put 2 + 2 together though. This is what they do.

  3. Thank goodness this footage has come to light. If your entire experience of the police were based on Dixon of Dock Green, you’d never believe such things happened. Unless you’ve actually seen hundreds or thousands of police behaving mob-handed in this way, as I — and I’m sure you — have on a number of occasions, you just would never accept that they do this. I was once with Arthur Scargill at a relatively un-policed demo and I turned to him and stupidly said: “What do make of this then?” He smiled politely, dismissively: “I was in the miners’ strike mate!”. That told me.

    Keep writing. It’s always good :)

  4. I don’t want to disregard your opinion on the matter but for me, lots of things remain unsettled in this case, and that’s why I don’t want to vilify anyone just yet.

    For example, I’d like to know why he was there?

    We were first told he was on his way home from work but now we’re told he was a ‘bystander’.

    Which one was he?

    I’d also like to know where he’d been working whilst simultaneously looking at a street map in more detail to examine if the heart of a highly publicised and potentially volatile demonstration was his only route home?

    I’d like to know why he was just standing in such a potential danger zone in that gulf area between police and demonstrators? Was he goading the Police (as Millwall fans are infamous for) or was he genuinely trapped having arrived in the zone quite innocently?

    I remain unconvinced by either side right now – be it the Police version (which to be fair hasn’t really be fully set out yet) and the eyewitness reports from people who are undoubtedly going to be biased anyway.

  5. Sitting open mouthed listening to the police federation spokesman on Today http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_7989000/7989221.stm

  6. @James – We know he was caught after this assault in a ‘kettle’. We know he was prevented before the assault from getting home from another direction. He had no choice but to be caught up in the danger zone, which he was lawfully present in.

    Unconvinced by either side? The eyewitness versions have corroborated one another without much difficulty so far. The police on the other hand have lied and lied and lied.

  7. I’d be interested to know which part of the interview caused you to be aghast Paul?

  8. @James – re: ‘goading the police’

    Remember that before the SOCPA legislation was introduced in 2005 you had to actually be guilty of an offence or be threatening the police before they could take action against you; not so now. They don’t need a reason, they can just arrest you. That it’s in essence no longer legal to goad the police (if they don’t like it) doesn’t make the legislation just or even moral for that matter.

  9. James – all the stuff which made Evan Davis aghast and got the police union rep rapidly backtracking and changing his language.

    they are completely out of touch with public opinion – go look at the Daily Mail comment thread if you don’t believe me.

    people believe the police are capable of the worst and who’s fault is that?

  10. James – watch the witness statements here http://paulcanning.blogspot.com/2009/04/g20-death-witness-statements.html

    see how they behaved to the public trying to help the guy when he’d fallen down.

    or watch the video of them laying into the peaceful climate camp. [http://paulcanning.blogspot.com/2009/04/fools-and-bulies.html] video shows people with hands up, no one throwing anything and protesters all yelling “peaceful protest”. They could do this to a bunch of parents peacefully protesting a school closure or huntspeople protesting the ban — they could do this to YOU.

  11. Paul, I’ve tried to get a somewhat more impartial comment on the Daily Mail site since last night to no avail.

    My more pro-Police stance doesn’t seem welcome even at the Mail, LOL!

  12. sorry, missed that post of your :}

  13. James, it’s not a matter of being pro or anti police. Of course we need police but what we don’t need is police who are corrupted by power and who are unaccountable. They are our servants not masters.

    re: Daily Mail – same experience here for my attempts, I don’t think that dilutes the point about them being out of touch with even ‘middle england’ – look at The Sun’s thread as well

  14. But sometimes just becauses there are two sides of a story, it doesn’t mean they’re both equal and both valid. The police attacked the Climate Camp protest – they didn’t ‘move it on’, they waded into a 100% peaceful protest with riot police and extreme violence. They kept people ‘kettled’ throughout the protest area for many hours, unable even to go to the toilet. When they finally deigned to allow them to leave – protesters and bystanders alike, they took their details and their pictures, which they no doubt will already be adding to their secret FIT database – free from parliamentary, judicial or even Metropolitan Police Authority scrutiny. Precriminalising innocent bystanders!

    Law students and accredited NUJ journalists and photographers alike all saw what happened to Ian Tomlinson, they all reported almost exactly the same circumstances leading up to his death. I don’t see why impartiality is needed when as even Brian Paddick has said there will likely be cause for manslaughter charges.

    Which of course will never be allowed to happen.

  15. Thanks for clips and links boys.

    I have actually been watching this stuff obsessively over the last few days – particularly at Indymedia.

    I’d suggest impartiality is required for the simple reason that no one can yet be sure if the shove and subsequent fall triggered his heart attack or not.

    We can of course debate if we think Police operational tactics for moving people who seemingly don’t want to move were harsh, but I don’t think they necessarily were.

    We get this kind of thing in London at football all the time. It’s not unusual to be shoved. But that’s all part of the bigger picture of protecting us all at a game. They can’t Police big crowds at football matches or anywhere – restrained to verbal requests, so I just wonder what kind of Police force are people now advocating for Britain when the Lib Dem Home affairs spokesperson says the shove could be construed as ‘assault’ maybe even grievous bodily harm’ .

    They may just as well resign en-masse with immediate effect.

    I do allot of work down at Catford TSG. That’s the HQ for London’s territorial support group. They are the main supply for riot police for London based demonstrations. I go to lots of their family functions to provide the entertainment and I’ve got to know lots of them and their wives and their kids – and they are just normal decent kind people.

    I’m not naive enough to think all coppers are good, but I think the ferocity and vigorousness of this current anti-Met campaign is a bit over the top.

  16. and they (TSG) are just normal decent kind people.

    Read this:

    http://cosmodaddy.wordpress.com/2009/03/18/metropolitan-police-use-torture-as-arrest-tactic/

    Noone advocated ‘verbal requests’, that isn’t even the issue. The issue is about whether the Met have the right to use tactics which many believe infringe fairly basic human rights, to presume that people protesting or in an area where protesters are are all criminals or likely to be, and whether they have the right to use violence to enforce their will with people who haven’t broken a single law.

    Over the top? Wait till you’re coshed over the head by a ‘decent, kind’ TSG officer when you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.

  17. I know coppers. Of course they’re mostly decent.

    The problem is in their superiors who have to constrain the natural (it’s been found in numerous experiments) outcome of power: thinking you’re better than others and resorting to excessive force.

    It was the same in the Meneses case. It wasn’t the cops doing what they were told who were the issue it was their superiors who dreamt up Krazos (or whatever it was called).

    I don’t think the cops at the protests are psychos but the tactics devised by their bosses enabled that part of all of us to come out in those cops.

    Plus the ‘ordinary, decent’ cops should stop covering up (‘canteen culture’) and start behaving like fellow citizens and call out bad behaviour when they see it.

  18. Pingback: Tomlinson Inquiry: Police Wavering « Cosmodaddy

  19. Pingback: Metropolitan Police: A Brutal Assault « Cosmodaddy

  20. It’s nice to see that everyone get’s their say. Everyone that was struck by police gets to explain how their inocent protest was interpreted by the biggoted Police as an act of violence. Nice to see that we can play each shot over and over again and break it down into fractions of a second so we get a clear view of what happened. Oh…of course we haven’t actually got the most important angle though have we? The angle that shows it from the perspective of the man that we’re accusing…the man that can’t explain his actions because he is not allowed the same freedom of speach as the rest of us. The one that has to put up with the spitting and the pushing and the missiles without reacting, because…well that’s what he’s paid to do isn’t it? Lets all go out and prod a bear, film it and then act all suprised when it bites us!

    • If you’re a policeman who said you weren’t allowed the same freedom of speech? You certainly are on this blog – how else can people’s actions on that day be eventually understood, and both police and public come back together, without all perspectives honestly out in the open?

      I hope however that you’re just writing on their behalf. ‘Prodding a bear’ is not an analogy which should sit well with anyone when it comes to the police, be it beat coppers or riot police – are you implying that riot police have the right to attack when merely wound up? Are you ignoring the preemptive violence which the TSG was universally understood to be guilty of with the climate camp protesters on Bishopsgate? I have time and again reiterated my acknowledgment that good policing was done that day, and it’s a tragedy that their good work was undermined by the abuse of those who initiated and maintained (and ordered) the ‘kettling’, not to mention by the (you guessed it) TSG. I’d be interested to know your thoughts on that!

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