Wednesday, April 28, 2010

meet the new cops, same as the old cops

The Metropolitan Police have released papers from their investigation into the death of Blair Peach.

Peach died in April 1979 after being hit on the head by a police officer during a counter-demonstration against the National Front, the forerunner of the BNP.

After a large number of witnesses said they'd seen Peach hit by an officer from a specific Special Patrol Group riot van, all six officers concerned had their lockers searched. Assorted coshes and other illegal weapons were found, along with Nazi regalia.

The police had an internal inquiry, and the officers under investigation lied, then stopped answering questions at all. Don't take my word for it. The newly released Cass report talks of the 'easily recognisable lies', and says of the officers' version of events

It would be impossible for all three to have come by the same story innocently. All must have conspired to pervert the course of justice in this manner.

The report ended with a recommendation to prosecute three officers for conspiring to pervert the course of justice and obstruction of police. No charges were brought against any of them, for that or for the killing itself.

Ask yourself - if it finally came to light that you and a group of five friends had stockpiled weapons and killed someone 30 years ago, what do you think would happen next? Answers on the back of a police pension slip to the usual address.

The Guardian's coverage of the Peach papers tells us about the present head of the Met, Sir Paul Stephenson, and his comparison with the death of Ian Tomlinson.

He said that, 31 years on, the Met was a "completely different" force, citing what he said were rigorous inquiries following the death of Tomlinson at last year's G20 protests.

Stephenson might say it's changed, but the facts say otherwise.

The police said Ian Tomlinson hadn't had any contact with the police before he collapsed. They said their medics had attended to Tomlinson, under a hail of bottles and missiles. Video shows none of this is true, and in fact protesters called an ambulance but officers refused to talk to the ambulance service.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission, working alongside the police, said they'd looked at 'many hours' of CCTV, but sadly there was no CCTV in the area of Tomlinson's assault. When it became apparent to anyone who could look up that there were at least eight cameras covering the area, they said there are cameras after all but they just weren't working. We're supposed to believe that, even though they were at the centre of an area for which the police had spent weeks setting up a control room to monitor the CCTV feeds and put over a hundred officers in to monitor footage.

The post-mortem by a police pathologist - just one, not Forensic Pathology Services, the body of nine independent forensic pathologists which usually deals with suspicious deaths in London - quickly said that Tomlinson had died of a heart attack. This was untrue, as a later post-mortem proved.

There's a similar litany with Jean Charles de Menezes. As with Ian Tomlison, crucial CCTV cameras 'weren't working'. But we now know that, despite what police said, he did not jump the barrier at Stockwell tube and run to the train, the police did not identify themselves as armed police, and de Menezes did not move towards them.

The claims were part of an attempt to evade responsibility for killing someone, just like they did with Ian Tomlinson. Just like a 'completely different' force did with Blair Peach.

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