The trial of a police officer filmed assaulting a man who died of internal injuries sustained during the attack has started in London.
The assault took place during the G20 protests in April 2009 when Ian Tomlinson, a 47-year-old newspaper seller uninvolved in the demonstrations, was attempting to make his way home through central London. Riot squad officer Simon Harwood was filmed striking Mr Tomlinson from behind with a baton, before violently shoving him in the back and sending him flying to the ground.
The shocking footage shows Mr Tomlinson, who reportedly had alcohol problems, ambling past a police line with his hands in his pockets. He was clearly not provoking the police, or posing any kind of threat. After landing heavily on the ground Mr Tomlinson managed to stagger 70 yards, before collapsing and dying. An initial postmortem suggested Ian Tomlinson had died from a heart attack, but tests later proved he had suffered abdominal bleeding caused by trauma.
PC Harwood, who is pleading not guilty to charges of manslaughter, should not even have been operating amongst the front lines that day as he had been assigned as a police van driver.
In the footage Harwood can be seen wearing a balaclava that obscures his lower face, making his identification difficult, and he had also removed the shoulder ID from his police jacket.
Harwood also failed to make a note of the incident, or tell anyone about it. Extraordinarily, he is claiming that his actions that day were ‘necessary, proportionate and reasonable’ in the circumstances.
In addition to exposing the brutality of one police officer, the case highlights the much wider issue of how the establishment tries to cover up, when one of their own stands accused of a crime. Astoundingly, no charges were initially going to be brought against Harwood.
Keir Starmer, Director of Public Prosecutions, said in July 2010 that there was no prospect of conviction because experts could not agree on how Mr Tomlinson had died. He said that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had considered assault charges, but prosecutors thought they could not prove PC Harwood's push had 'substantially harmed' Mr Tomlinson.
Evidence was also withheld from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). Three police constables reported witnessing the assault on Ian Tomlinson to senior officers, 48 hours after the attack and before video footage of the incident had emerged. City of London officers did not pass this information on to the IPCC, the pathologist, the coroner, Mr Tomlinson's family, or the media.
Mr Tomlinson's family understandably described the CPS's decision as 'outrageous' and Jenny Jones, a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority, admitted that the "reputation of the police is poor, and morale won't be very good if public perception is that the police constantly get away with crimes and are never brought to justice."
The trial continues; hopefully Ian Tomlinson and his family will see justice, with Simon Harwood being found guilty of manslaughter, and a wider investigation launched into serious allegations of an institutional cover-up.
This article first appeared at ResistRadio.com
Brit Dee's ResistRadio.com is an independent media website approaching global news, politics and conspiracy theory from a radical, but critical and rational perspective.
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