On April 1st 2009 an English newspaper vendor was on his way home from work when he came across an area containing a number of G20 protestors and riot police. Around 19.30 he collapsed in the street and died.
The Police initially reported that he had died of a heart attack. Allegations started to emerge that he had been assaulted by police before his death and a statement was released by Police stating that they had had no interaction with him prior to his collapse. A week later a video was obtained by The Guardian newspaper from a New York man who had been in London on business. The footage (above) show Ian Tomlinson walking in front of riot police and dog handlers, walking away from them. One officer then struck his legs from behind with a baton and pushed him to the ground. The footage shows this was an unprovoked attack on an innocent passerby who minutes later collapsed and died.
The first autopsy result confirmed the cause of death as being a heart attack. Dr. 'Freddy' Patel is currently suspended from duty pending an investigation by the General Medical Council and faces at least 26 charges of inappropriate conduct related to 4 other cases. The second autopsy was performed at the request of The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and of Ian Tomlinson's family. It returned the cause of death as being internal bleeding resulting from a blow to the abdomen with complications caused by psorosis of the liver. A third autopsy was requested by the defence and this returned the same verdict as the second one.
Other videos by passersby and journalists have also been made public of the incident but The IPCC claimed that no CCTV cameras existed in the area where the assault had taken place. A newspaper later published pictures of 6 CCTV cameras in the area and the statement was withdrawn by The IPCC. The officer who struck Ian Tomlinson has recently been named as PC Simon Harwood and The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has taken until very recently to make a decision on whether or not to prosecute him.
The CPS announced on July 22nd that there would be no prosecution in the case as the differing opinions in the 3 autopsy results made it too difficult to determine the true cause of death and therefore to bring a case against the officer in question. PC Harwood is facing a disciplinary hearing for gross misconduct.
A picket against The Department Of Public Prosecution (DPP) has been arranged for Friday 30th July and pickets will also be carried out throuhout the UK in support. Those wishing to attend the London picket should be at The Office of Department of Public Prosecution,Rose Court, 2 Southwark Bridge, SE1 9HS at 12 noon. Those unable to attend can look for a protest in their area, or just do one yourself or with some friends. Those unable to do that can show their support in the way that I will be. Change your avatar picture to a picture of Ian Tomlinson for 1 day, and tell everyone you speak to his story.
RIP Ian Tomlinson. Justice must be had.