Ian Tomlinson lies dead or dying after being hit with a baton and then knocked to the ground by policeman Simon Harwood. As in the Jean Charles De Menezes case the Crown Prosecution Service refused to bring any charges.
Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions, claims there is no realistic prospect of a prosecution against Police Officer Simon Harwood for the death of Ian Tomlinson succeeding despite video evidence and many eyewitnesses (1) – (3). Two reputable pathologists also say Tomlinson died of internal bleeding caused by “blunt force trauma”. They say the likely cause is the baton attack on Tomlinson by Harwood and/or him pushing Tomlinson over onto the pavement (4) - (5).
Liver disease caused by Ian Tomlinson's alcoholism made him more vulnerable to these kind of injuries according to the pathologists. It's also unlikly Harwood was deliberately trying to kill Tomlinson, but his actions were clearly assault - and since they also caused Tomlinson's death - manslaughter
Mr Starmer claimed the lack of a prospect of a successful prosecution was due to the “fundamental disagreement between the experts about the cause of Mr Tomlinson's death”, as if the word of Dr. Patel, who is facing multiple disciplinary hearings from the General Medical Council over his conduct of previous pathological reports – and is banned from carrying out further ones for the Home Office, is testimony as reliable as that from two other pathologists, neither of whom are facing any charges (5).
The delay of over 6 months by the DPP in coming to a decision on whether to bring charges against the policeman involved is very convenient for that officer as it means no assault charge can be brought against him (6).
The Crown Prosecution Service’s website claims that “The CPS exists to ensure that wrongdoers are brought to justice, victims of crime are supported and that people feel safer in their communities.” (7)
After going out of their way to prevent anyone being brought to justice for the killings of Jean Charles De Menezes or Ian Tomlinson, perhaps they should add the qualification “unless those responsible are police officers, in which case we’re here to make sure they get off with it”.
They might as well put up recruitment signs saying “Join the police and get away with assault, GBH, mansalughter, maybe even murder!”.
Those newspapers which reported false police claims that officers had tried to help Tomlinson while being pelted with bottles and bricks by protesters should be made to correct those false claims with headlines just as prominent (8). Multiple eye-witnesses say Tomlinson was helped by protesters who phoned an ambulance while police ordered them to “move on”. They also said the only bottles thrown were plastic ones, by people in the centre of the crowd who didn’t know what was going on – and stopped when they were told (9).
In China a woman was beaten for 15 minutes by police officers for trying to petition a Communist Party Official about a problem. The beating stopped when police realised she wasn’t a petitioner but the wife of the official, which, apparently, is the only reason it’s news, as it’s common to assign police to beat up petitioners to discourage them from complaining to officials (10). So much for free market reform bringing democracy to China. So far, at least, it’s clearly not working.
In the US something similar happened to a black man suspected of being on drugs when he refused to change into a medical gown in a hospital. Hospital security guards began beating and tasering him until they found out he was the nephew of Supreme Court Justice Thomas Clarence (11).
It seems that wherever you go in the world, democracy, dictatorship or one party state, police can break the law by beating people for little or nothing, even commit manslaughter or murder, and get off with it. That doesn’t seem that democratic.
(1) = CPS ‘The death of Ian Tomlinson - decision on prosecution’, http://www.cps.gov.uk/news/articles/the_death_of_ian_tomlinson_decision_on_prosecution/ , (for summary see BBC News 22 July 2010 ‘G20: No charges over Ian Tomlinson demo death’,http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-10723274 )
(2) = Guardian 07 Apr 2009 ‘Ian Tomlinson death: Guardian video reveals police attack on man who died at G20 protest’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/apr/07/ian-tomlinson-g20-death-video
(3) = Guardian 08 April 2009 ‘Ian Tomlinson death: G20 witnesses tell of dogs, batons and an attack by police’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/apr/08/g20-ian-tomlinson-death-witnesses
(4) = BBC News 22 July 2010 ‘G20: No charges over Ian Tomlinson demo death’,
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-10723274 - see sub-section headed ‘Analysis’ half-way down the page and to the right of the main report, which says ‘In the case of Mr Tomlinson, two pathologists - one instructed by the police and the other by his family - agreed that he died partly from internal bleeding caused by "blunt-force trauma".But the first examination was carried out by Dr Freddy Patel, a Home Office pathologist, who says Mr Tomlinson died of a heart attack. ‘
(5) = BBC News 22 July 2010 ‘Tomlinson pathologist facing GMC’,http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-10729545
(6) = BBC News 22 July 2010 ‘G20: No charges over Ian Tomlinson demo death’,http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-10723274 ‘Jenny Jones, a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority, said......."If everybody had moved a bit faster wemight have actually been in the time-frame for an assault charge to be brought," ‘
(7) = Crown Prosecution Service ‘Your CPS’, http://www.cps.gov.uk/yourcps.html
(8) = e.g Evening Standard 02 Apr 2009 ‘Police pelted with bricks as they help dying man’, http://www.chickyog.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/esp67-02042009.pdf
(9) = Guardian 08 April 2009 ‘Ian Tomlinson death: G20 witnesses tell of dogs, batons and an attack by police’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/apr/08/g20-ian-tomlinson-death-witnesses
(10) = Guardian 22 July 2010 ‘Chinese police beat official's wife by mistake’,http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/22/china-police-beat-wife-official
(11) = ABC News 09 July 2010 ‘Judge Clarence Thomas' Nephew Derek Tasered by Hospital Staff, Family Says’, http://blogs.abcnews.com/thenote/2010/07/judge-clarence-thomas-nephew-derek-tasered-by-hospital-staff-family-says.html