Ian Tomlinson: Metropolitan Police kill innocent man AGAIN

Wednesday, April 8, 2009 18:26 | Filed in Crime & Policing, Media, Politics

I have no doubt that you will already be aware by now that Ian Tomlinson, who was simply walking home from work, not being disruptive, and not attacking the police or anyone else in any way whatsoever, and simply strolling along with his hands in his pockets was viciously shoved to the ground by a Metropolitan Police officer, and died of a heart attack a few minutes later.

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.

The Guardian

You can see the video for yourself.

The video goes on to state that “in a statement after his death, police initially said that protesters had impeded medics from treating Tomlinson”. They lied. Although if you see Indymedia’s photo of a police medic you might consider that keeping him away from anyone (whether already injured or not) might be better for their health. Paul Canning also provides some other witness statements contradicting the police story lies.

There are also suggestions that other footage exists which more clearly shows the officer striking the unarmed, innocent man with a baton (and that said footage with be shown at 7pm on Channel 4 news).

newsflash : We have new ITN exclusive video of Ian Tomlinson – shows police clearly striking out at him with a baton.Krishnan Guru-Murthy tweet (Channel 4 News presenter)

Yes, the Metropolitan Police lied about the protesters actions relating to a man whose death might very well have been caused by their actions. Nor did they seem to feel it was relevant that they the man who had died had been hurled to the ground and possibly struck by a police baton when he wasn’t doing anything wrong. No, they were too busy trying to cover their own backs.

Should we be surprised? No, they’ve lied before. It was of course illegal to take photos or videos of serving officers carrying out their duties, as if there wasn’t any evidence proving the police to be liars, people might take their word for it (indeed, many newspapers did).

Tim Ireland over at Bloggerheads has already talked about this (read it; tweet it; blog it; keep the message going), and he drew precisely the same parallel that I’m about to…

When the police murdered Jean Charles de Menezes (okay, that wasn’t the official verdict, but the jurors were not allowed by the coronor to return a verdict of unlawful killing, whatever their opinions may have been), the police initially said that he had run from the police.

Lie. He had walked to the tube station.

That he was wearing a bulky padded jacket, suitable for hiding a bomb.

Lie. He was wearing a light denim jacket, not suitable for hiding a bomb.

That he had suspiciously vaulted the barriers at the tube station.

Lie. He had used his pass to enter the barriers.

That they had shouted a warning.

Lie. None of the passengers on the train heard a warning. Only the firearms officers did, apparently. This is rather more worrying as it suggests to me that not only did the police lie about initially giving a warning, but they then lied again to the inquest, impugning the reliability of independent witnesses, in order to cover up the fact that they had shot and killed an entirely innocent man.

And the parallels here are striking.

Here, police omitted to mention that they had struck the man and hurled him to the ground. They lied and said protesters had impeded his medical treatment, which they had not.

These eyewitness statements make the point that the protester who provided the medical aid to Tomlinson which was lacking from his ‘protectors’ was “very brave” in the face of police charges.

Paul Canning

In other words, they lied again, to cover their own backs again.

The police are not, and can never be above the law. If a man who caused the death of another by punching him in a supermarket queue can be found guilty of manslaughter, then is being assaulted by a police officer any different? (Indeed, it seems up North, the police may actually be held to account — in Newcastle today a police officer has been found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving, despite claiming that he was driving ‘safely’ at 94mph in a 30mph zone without lights or sirens)

It has also been announced today that the IPCC have requested a second post-mortem on Ian Tomlinson. I am not sure why — presumably they were seeking to determine that he was already ill. This is to miss the point. If I were to punch some guy with an existing heart condition, and he died, I would still be liable presumably at least for manslaughter, even if that condition was likely to kill him within a couple of years. The more important point is that the police should not be assaulting innocent citizens in the first place. Although the IPCC may have some other reason as yet unknown for wanting a second post-mortem…

The police tactics in managing the protest were abhorrent in themselves — the kettling tactics used to prevent perfectly legitimate protesters from leaving the protest are likely to ratchet up tensions, not defuse them. They make it impossible for protesters to leave, which could mean anyone with pre-existing medical conditions gets stuck behind a police cordon.

Not only that, there were reports of police taking photos of and asking the names of innocent demonstrators before they were allowed to leave. It seems that false imprisonment, harassment and threatening behaviour is seen as perfectly legitimate by the Metropolitan Police.

Now I know that some protestors were violent. But the whole point of having a police force is that they are supposed to be able to determine a difference between those people who are innocent, and those people who are guilty. Simply lashing out and attacking whoever is near you at the time is not ‘policing’, it’s, well… assault.

A police officer incapable of discriminating between criminals and innocent people (whether protesting or not) should be sacked. A police force incapable of doing this has failed it’s entire raison d’être, and should be replaced. Immediately, and before there are any more victims.

But more than anything else, the words of the Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, have proved to me that the Met Police aren’t actually capable of policing.

“On a day like that, where there are some protesters who are quite clearly hell-bent on causing as much trouble as they can, there is inevitably going to be some physical confrontation. Sometimes it isn’t clear, as a police officer, who is a protester and who is not. I know it’s a generalisation but anybody in that part of the town at that time, the assumption would be that they are part of the protest.”Peter Smyth, quoted on BBC News

Peter here quite rightly identifies that some protesters were causing trouble. He then suggests that the police mis-identified Ian Tomlinson as a protester, and that’s why they struck him. What? Peter Smyth’s quote would lead me to believe that he thinks it is okay for the police to baton-strike any protester and hurl him to the ground, whether or not he is actually breaking the law. In the views of the Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, protester = criminal, and striking Ian, had he been protesting, would have been perfectly legitimate.

That flagrant disregard for the rights of peaceful protesters sums up the Met’s actions.

Jean Charles de Menezes. Ian Tomlinson. That could have been you. That could have been your brother, your father, your friend. Next time it might very well be you or someone you care about, unless we take action to prevent a ‘next time’. Justice must be done, as opposed to the usual response of ‘covering up for police brutality’.

So I’d like to propose my solution.

  1. Firstly, any member of any police force found to have lied about police action (or protester action) to be sacked. If this person can demonstrate that they were given incorrect information, then that will be a reasonable defence — provided they can identify who gave them that information, so they can be sacked.
  2. Secondly, any member of any police force found to have used violence on an innocent (or violence otherwise inappropriate for the situation) to be charged with the appropriate criminal offense. Being a serving police officer is no defense; if anything this makes it worse as I think we have a right to expect higher standards from our police officers
  3. Thirdly, kettling and similar tactics to be deemed illegal, and any police officer who recommends or allows such a tactic to be charged with “behaviour likely to incite a riot” (or whatever the nearest equivalent is) by the Crown Prosecution Service.
  4. Fourth, the Metropolitan Police Service to be disbanded. They have proved, more than once, that we cannot trust what they say. They have proved, more than once, that they have caused the death of an innocent man. It’s no good simply replacing the man at the top: the entire root and branch of the organisation needs to be replaced. That isn’t to say every officer needs to automatically be replaced, but the existing command structure has proved not to work, and needs to be replaced. We need a police service in London, but we need a far better one than the Met.

Update: after a personal conversation and reading some comments elsewhere, I must make it explicitly clear I am not anti-police. Indeed at one stage in my life I considered joining the police force, and still think that ‘serving the public good’ in this manner is a noble and frequently thankless task. However I expect anyone who does this to be even more law-abiding than everyone else, particularly when on duty, and to respect the rights of others. Even if — as was certainly the case at the G20 — missiles are being thrown, that does not give the police the right to lash out indiscriminately. I would expect those throwing missiles, those being violent, those committing vandalism to be specifically targetted by the police and arrested (with the minimum necessary force). I would expect those exercising their right to protest peacefully to be treated with the respect that the police would afford any other citizen that is not breaking the law. Failure to do this is a failure of policing.

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25 Comments to Ian Tomlinson: Metropolitan Police kill innocent man AGAIN

  1. JackP says:

    April 8th, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    For that matter, it’s not just Ian Tomlinson. Every police officer lashing out with batons should face an investigation — and if they cannot prove that the people they were attacking were violent lawbreakers, they should be investigated and prosecuted, and potentially sacked or jailed, accordingly.

  2. paul canning says:

    April 9th, 2009 at 12:30 am

    I think the focus needs to come off the officer and onto those who enabled the officer.

    It is established, through experiment, that given power human beings will not necessarily behave decently. Therefore it is up to those in authority over them to contain them.

    This is what broke down. This officer was enabled by someone – who – to feel he/she could get away with this behaviour.

    It is traditional in these circumstances to blame ‘bad apples’ rather than ‘the system’.

    Doh, it’s the system. his/her boss needs to be up before the IPCC.

  3. JackP says:

    April 9th, 2009 at 8:12 am

    That’s a fair point Paul – and that’s why I think the Met is not fit for purpose – but individual officers must also be made to accept responsibility (and culpability) for their own actions.

  4. Alistair Scott says:

    April 10th, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    More and more footage is coming to light on this incident.

    Here’s one that shows the extreme force with which Ian Tomlinson was hit.


    And here’s some taken at the spot where he collapsed.

    The police seem to be surrounding him. At 19 seconds a plastic water bottle is thrown and other protestors call out to stop as there’s someone hurt.

    Then between 23 and 30 seconds someone is jumping up and down, waving his hands and shouting ‘Back up. Back the fuck up. There’s someone hurt.”

    Finally pause at 56 seconds and count the number of police with their faces masked. Why the masks?


    The police lied about this incident right from the start. Without film-makers and photographers this incident would have been quietly buried in misinformation and lies.

    That’s why the Counter Terrorism Act 2008 is dangerous for our liberties.

  5. JackP says:

    April 10th, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    …hmm, yes, I’ve already talked about the Counter Terrorism act with regards to photography, and am currently wotrking on another post relating to it.

  6. Alistair Scott says:

    April 12th, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    Here’s an interesting article on the subject of photography and the police (with reference to this incident) from a Guardian columnist …


  7. Anonymous says:

    January 30th, 2010 at 7:26 pm


  8. for the love of god says:

    March 18th, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Looking at the blog and reading the comments, i surprise myself by even replying, however here i am typing anyway.
    It is my firm opinion that the police should’nt police any public order protest or have any power to restrain people whatsoever, then when it all gets out of hand, people and property is injured or destroyed, you can all sort it out for yourselves and let the police deal with real victims who need and appreciate their help.
    That is what they tend to do, help people, not that they are given credit as, and i am sure you know, they are barred form speaking their minds for fear of “the sack” as quoted above.
    It upsets me greatly when the same old tired lines of “power corrupts” etc etc are dragged out, any decision made in a split second by a human under pressure and then disected in slow time by many minds is bound to throw up errors and ommissions, if your any better do the job yourelves for a week and see how you feel then or failing that how about form a political party devoted to changing the face of modern policing? lets look at what would happen then eh? no force used by police whatsoever, an interesting situtation, 9pm on the high street your being robbed of your car keys, your wife is screaming in terror, quick you think call the police, they arrive promptly and apprehend the suspect asking him politely of course to get in the panda car, he refuse, the officer walks away saying there is nothing he/he can do as all their power was removed and they might face the “sack” should they wrongly identify someone as a suspect for a crime and or use foce. How would that work? who knows but it would amuse me.

  9. jiff davis says:

    June 22nd, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    The police across the world are being used as weapons of war by the global elite against the people and in the USA we have many recorded incidents of police killing civilians execution style as was the case with Oscar Grant.

    In the UK we have the case of Ian Tomlinson’s death who was murdered by a policeman for being in the wrong place at the wrong time but with the elite owning the justice system lock stock and barrel many of the perpetrators of these crime against “We the people” are allowed to walk away scotch free by the courts and that’s if the case makes it to court.

    Hollie Greig, who is a downs syndrome girl was systematically raped whilst under the protection of the British establishment charged with protecting a vulnerable child.

    Hollie’s mother Mrs Ann Greig would like to see some justice for member of the establishment, who through their positions were given access to this little girl and abused her as their own personal little sexual play toy. The reason Mrs Greig has never had the opportunity to have her day in court is because the accused paedophiles include British lawyers, police and a local High Sheriff.

    Various request under the freedom of information act (FOA) have been ignored and several people including her mother and Mr Robert Green have been silenced using gag orders including the BBC’s Panorama documentary channel in an effort to keep the story out of the public domain and the establishments have even gone so far as to make legal threats against Google.

    This fight to bring justice for Hollie has been raging for several years and despite millions of people knowing about the case, it still seems that the British justice system is unable to live up to its name Mr Cameron is hereby put on notice that ‘we the people’ demand this case should go to trial in open court where both sides may present their case.

    Time we took to the streets and took back our freedoms and the corrupt justice system because it is clear to a blind man that the game is rigged and the elite will stop at nothing because we are not worthy to be in there presents.

  10. 7ev says:

    August 19th, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    I was woken on a Monday morning, by my dauhgter, saying “Dad there are some people at the door” I looked out of the window and saw a group of males about 3 or 4. I went to the door and opened it and said “Does ****** live here”? I replied “yes, he is my son and he is in bed” Then the first male said “Go and get him” I said what do you want him for and who are you”?
    The first male replied “It does not matter who the F*$k we are get him now”!!

    I started to fear for my safty and that of my familys aswell. So i said that i am going to shut my door and proceaded to do so, at this point the first male put his foot in the door and the rest of them started to rush me. At this point i was in FEAR of my life and my wife and childrens life and safety.

    I then went behind the second door witch is glass square pannels, and i manage to close that but not fully, So i put my left hand on the door, palm opened to the left on the door and my right hand palm up on the door lower down, in line with my stomach, opposite me on the other side of the door was a male to mr right and a male to my left, both where pushing the door towards me, at this point, with the force they both were pushing caused my left hand to go through the glass panel which recieved a cut on the inside of the middle finger on the top joint, it was a deep cut.

    I then retreated to the living room, when i saw a secound male making his way up my stairs, and placing his hand on my 9 year old daughter chest and pushing her out of his way. Before i could do anything i was jumped on by two males, At this point i realised that they were police as i saw one of them reach for a pair of cuffs. I was told to put my arms behind my back, bearing in mind that one of the officers had his knee in the back of my neck.

    I said to them that i will comply and that i could not put my right arm behind my back as i suffer from a frozen shoulder. ( that is why i could only put my right arm waist high, when i was trying to hold the door shut )

    The officer to my right was imformed again about my condition by my wife, and yet he choose to ignore my self and my wife, and continued to forcably bend my arm back so he coul puy my hands in the stack position, which caused me great deal of pain.

    I was told that i was under arrest for assault on a police officer and was told to stop struggling, i told them that i was not struggling and that i would comply with them, The officers kept repeating them selfs “Stop struggling”
    My wife said ” He is you dont have to hurt him”

    I was then Dragged out bear footed through the broken glass were my left foot recieved a cut.

    To cut a long story short, i have been charged with assaulting a police officer.

    The charge is that i punched a police officer through a glass door. I that was the case how come i NEVER recieved any cuts to to my fist, and if i did do what im accussed of there is know way i could recieved the cuts to the inside of my leff fingers,

    Iam right handed, so if iwas going to throw a punch it would of been with my right as my left is my weaker arm.
    The officers story does not match the evidence. Only time will tell

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