PC Harwood, by a majority verdict, was found not guilty of the manslaughter of Ian Tomlinson (echoes of the Rodney King case). It has been an uphill struggle for the Tomlinson family. And now Harwood, captured on video hitting Ian Tomlinson with a baton during the G20 protests in May 2009, eluded justice. Catalogue of failures by the police, IPCC and the CPS right from the start.
Lies were told to the family regarding the nature of Ian’s death by the police, Freddie Patel (discredited pathologist) concluded that he had a heart attack (and threw away vital evidence of fluids found in the abdomen) subsequent post-mortem contradicted Patel’s findings by stating that Tomlinson had died of internal bleeding in the abdomen. And what should be reiterated is if it wasn’t for the video footage captured by Chris La Jaunie then the death of Ian Tomlinson would have been down to an unfortunate sequence of events, man getting caught up in the G20 protests collapses and dies of a heart attack. End of. But the video showed Tomlinson, with his back to the line of cops, walking away with his hands in his pockets, Harwood comes charging behind and whacks him where he falls to the ground.
April 2011, the inquest into the death of Ian opened. Harwood took the stand and was astonishingly evasive and indulging in obfuscation. His answers weren’t straightforward to straightforward questioning. He maintained that he used “reasonable force”… Eventually though admitting that it was a “heavy push”. Tomlinson posed no threat. Harwood decided to use excessive force towards a man who was walking away from the police line. The verdict of the inquest was that Ian had been unlawfully killed by a police officer. Harwood would be facing prosecution (which originally the CPS had been reluctant to do so).
Juries, it seems, are loathed to convict cops. Harwood had previous complaints against him regarding violent behaviour (“red mist” mode). He left the police with a disciplinary hanging over him yet was able to be re-admitted ending up in the controversial TSG. It begs the question how could someone with a record like Harwood’s get back into the police? Met’s deputy assistant commissioner, Maxine de Brunner, has stated that Harwood should never have been allowed to re-join the police cold comfort for the family furthermore she didn’t apologise to the Tomlinson family only to express her “sympathies”.
Tomlinson family have said they will pursue a civil case and Harwood will face a public disciplinary hearing. Around 1, 433 have died at the hands of cops yet not one of the them has faced disciplinary action let alone prosecution. Where is the accountability? Where is the justice? Where is the transparency? Harwood on the day of the G20 was a law unto himself all psyched up ‘red mist’ mode encountering Ian Tomlinson, no threat to anyone, walking away from a police line. Harwood isn’t just one “bad apple” instead there are barrel loads of thuggish and violent cops. Behaviour like his and countless others are endemic within the police force, a culture of violence and brutality.
Justice has been denied to all those people who have died at the hands of the police Blair Peach, Harry Stanley, Jean Charles de Menezes, Mark Duggan, Sean Rigg (the inquest into his death is happening at the moment) to name but a few…. Again, no accountability or responsiblity just cover-up after cover-up.
Paul King (outside the court after the verdict), stated: “It really hurts. But this is not the end – we are not giving up on justice for Ian. There has to be one formal and final answer to the question: ‘Who killed Ian?’ And we will now pursue this in the civil court.”
Please show your solidarity and support to this dignified yet defiant and courageous family. The email is email@example.com. There are problems with the PayPal but you can still donate, by sending cheques payable to “Ian Tomlinson Family Campaign” to:
Ian Tomlinson Family Campaign c/o Newham Monitoring Project 170 Harold Rd Upton Park London E13 0SE.
Please note that we are not seeking donations to fund a civil action against the Metropolitan Police, as this is covered by legal aid. All donations received go directly to supporting the Tomlinson family and covering their expenses.