Thursday, July 22, 2010

ian tomlinson's attacker walks free

In April Sergeant Delroy Smellie, a cop who shoved and then batoned a non-violent G20 protester to the ground, was acquitted. At least that case came to court.

Today - five years to the day since the police shot Jean Charles De Menezes - we're told that the officer who attacked Ian Tomlinson won't face any charges. Not manslaughter, not ABH, not assault, nothing.

Watch the video again.

As with Sergeant Smellie, the officer who attacks Tomlinson is not in the heat of a riot but is acting in a calm, slow, premeditated way on a member of the public who poses no physical threat.

I wrote several posts about different aspects of the case at the time. The obscene partisan nature of the 'Independent' Police Complaints Commission, the way the police lied about what contact they'd had with Tomlinson, they lied about protesters trying to hinder gallant cops (when in fact protesters tried to help and cops refused to speak to ambulance services). They lied about Tomlinson dying of natural causes, they lied about there being no CCTV cameras, then had to admit there were but said they weren't working. There was even the suggestion from a senior investigating officer that Tomlinson's attacker might have been a member of the public dressed up as a copper.

It's the same treatment of smear and lies they gave the De Menezes case, and with the same outcome. The officers who did it keep their jobs, those in charge saw a job well done, only the public were beaten and killed.

It's the same story with the Blair Peach case. It's the same closing ranks and protecting their position that we see over and over, be it the Guildford Four or the Hillsborough Disaster.

What would they need in order to prosecute? There can be no clearer evidence of an unprovoked assault than the footage of what happened to Ian Tomlinson. Yet the officer is free, and ready to be policing London once more.


UPDATE 15:02 : The Crown Prosecution Service have published a statement explaining their decision. Basically, the dodgy first autopsy said it was natural causes, and this would be enough to cast doubt on the subsequent two autopsies that place the blame for the death on the assault, so no manslaughter charges. Assault has a time limit of six months, which has passed.

Their explanation for Actual Bodily Harm and misconduct in Public Office is less clear. They say that they can't prove the push caused any harm. But in this part they don't mention the baton strike - wholly unnecessary and disproportionate for a man walking slowly away with his hands in his pockets - which they say earlier left bruising. This, then, is surely ABH. It also appears to meet their stated criteria for Misconduct in Public Office.

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