Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Ian Tomlinson Decision?

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will announce its decision on whether a police officer will stand trial over the death of Ian Tomlinson on Thursday. And although other blogs have already mentioned and drawn attention to this impending announcement which will obviously if not nervously and painfully be awaited by his long enough suffering family.

This may not bring closure, depending on what the decision is, and our thoughts and warmth must in the first place be with them and their loss.

Ian Tomlinson died on April 1st 2009 when he unintentionally walked through the G20 protest in London on his way home. Footage was later made public of a policeman pushing him to the ground. The CPS originally told his family that a decision would be reached by Christmas.

We understand that the family will be informed on Thursday morning if any criminal charges will follow from its investigation. The police officer in question could be charged with manslaughter, assault and misconduct in public office, or not at all.

The Tomlinson family has been extremely critical of the amount of time taken to come to a decision.

The police originally led the family to believe that Mr Tomlinson, a newsagent and for a time homeless man who happened to walk into a demonstration against the G20 summit in London when he died, had been killed by a heart attack.

The media were fed the lie that officers had been hindered in their efforts to resuscitate Mr Tomlinson by protestors throwing missiles and projectiles.

But video footage given to the Guardian newspaper days after the protest showed that Mr Tomlinson had been struck by a baton and shoved to the ground, by a masked officer with his identification number concealed, seemingly without provocation.

There was no evidence of projectiles being thrown at police.

The public interest in the case resulted in investigations and inquiries, and a full reappraisal of the policing of protestors, including the concealment of identification numbers and the practise of 'kettling', where demonstrators are kept in a given area by police.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) only took over the investigation into what happened after the video emerged.

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