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  • Policing, U.K. style



    Scene from the G20 protest, London, April 2, 2009

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    • #3

      April 15, 2009 -- A woman left covered in bruises after apparently being slapped in the face by a police sergeant at the vigil of Ian Tomlinson says she is shocked by the incident.

      The Metropolitan police last night suspended the sergeant involved, a member of the Territorial Support Group. He had concealed his badge number before lashing out at the woman with his baton at the memorial protest on 2 April, the day after newspaper seller Tomlinson collapsed and died after apparently being assaulted by police.

      The woman, Nicky, who is from Brighton, said: "I'm shocked at the way the police treated me."

      She also expressed thanks to Tristan Woodwards, the 25-year-old IT assistant who filmed the incident and passed his evidence to the Guardian after uploading it onto Youtube. "I just want to thank the guy who took that video," she said.

      The Independent Police Complaints Commission announced it would investigate the alleged attack, although the woman has said she has yet to make a formal complaint.

      However, after returning from the vigil at the Bank of England, her family took photographs of her injuries and she is believed to have a medical report.

      The footage and series of photographs appear to show the sergeant hitting Nicky across the face with the back of his hand, and saying: "Go away."

      Nicky, clutching a carton of orange juice and digital camera, remonstrates with the officer and can be heard swearing. The sergeant is then seen drawing a baton from his pocket and striking her on her legs.

      The footage is not clear, but Nicky appears to fall to the ground. The crowd erupts angrily with chants of "shame on you".

      Her sister, Natalie Thomson, said: "We've been watching the news and it has turned into such a big story now. I was shocked when all the bruising came up. She was struck at least twice with his baton. She went there as a peaceful protester. She has no criminal record and she has been assaulted."

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          • #6

            June 9, 2009 -- A third Metropolitan police officer is under investigation for allegedly assaulting a woman at the G20 protests, the official police watchdog announced today .

            The woman claims she was attacked on 1 April by an officer at the Climate Camp protest, a largely peaceful demonstration lines of riot police charged with batons.

            The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said in a statement that the complaint related to "an incident that occured ... while a group of people were held in an alleyway".

            Although the details of the woman's complaint are not known, video footage from the Climate Camp showed police charging hundreds protesters in an attempt to clear the streets. The demonstrators resisted passively, holding their arms in the air and chanting, "This is not a riot."

            The IPCC said it had received more than 270 complaints about the actions of officers during the demonstrations, in City of London. Of those, 131 were deemed eligible for investigation, and 52 related to allegations of "excessive force with reported injuries".

            The IPCC launched full and independent investigations into five incidents, including the criminal inquiry into the death of Ian Tomlinson, a 47-year-old newspaper vendor who died of internal bleeding after being hit and pushed to the floor by an officer from the Met's Territorial Support Group (TSG).

            The officer, who had covered his badge number, has been suspended and questioned under caution for manslaughter. In a separate IPCC inquiry, the Met and City of London press offices are under investigation over complaints that they deliberately misled the public over Tomlinson's death.

            The other full IPCC investigations all relate to alleged assaults by police officers against women, including Nicola Fisher, 35, who was slapped across the face and struck on the legs by a TSG sergeant who had covered up his badge number.

            A further 78 separate G20 complaints related to police tactics have been passed to Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary, which is conducting a national review of tactics used to police protests. It is expected to release interim findings by the end of the month.

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            • #7

              July 19, 2009 -- The Metropolitan police's controversial tactic of containing large numbers of protesters against their will, known as "kettling", will be challenged in a case lodged tomorrow with the European Court of Human Rights that claims the practice is a fundamental breach of liberty. The case is being brought by Lois Austin, one of about 3,000 anti-globalisation demonstrators corralled by police at Oxford Circus in May 2001, the first major protest where the tactic was used. Protesters were held there for several hours without access to water or toilet facilities and Austin, a peaceful demonstrator, was prevented from collecting her 11-month old baby from a creche.

              The Met used the tactic extensively at April's G20 demonstrations in the City of London, placing tight cordons around protesters who gathered at the Bank of England and in nearby Bishopsgate. Austin, 40, an administrator from London, has fought an eight-year legal battle against the Met, seeking compensation for what she claims was her unlawful imprisonment. In January, the law lords ruled that the Met had been acting lawfully in containing Austin and other peaceful protests because doing so was necessary to control some elements within the crowd who were committing violence. The law lords said theirs was a "pragmatic approach" that took into account the reason police decided to contain the demonstrators. However, for containment to be lawful, they ruled police must use the tactic in good faith, proportionately and for no longer than is necessary.

              Recently, it emerged that Met commanders at the G20 were unaware of their legal obligations in the Austin ruling. They also appear to have authorised containing protesters from the outset, and before there had been any significant cases of violence from people. Bindmans solicitors, which represents Climate Camp activists, has made a separate application to challenge the Met's kettling of protesters at Bishopsgate in a high court judicial review.

              The Met's containment policy at the G20 also contributed to events surrounding the death of newspaper vendor Ian Tomlinson, who was prevented from passing three police cordons as he tried to find a route home from work. He died after being attacked from behind by a police officer. "It saddens me to say that it took the tragic death of Ian Tomlinson to throw light on police tactics," said Austin, who believes there has been a "mood change" since her case was first heard at the high court in 2005.

              Austin's solicitors, Christian Khan, say their client's case was hampered by highly prejudicial findings by the judge in that case, Mr Justice Tugendhat. He found that as many as 40% of the crowd inside the kettle were hostile and, he said, Austin should have known before attending the protest that it was likely to end in serious violence. Tugendhat said that even though Austin was held in cold rain and prevented from collecting her child, who she was breastfeeding, the experience had not significantly distressed her.

              However, in today's ECHR application, Austin's lawyers focus on what they believe was an inappropriate "manipulation" of law in January's ruling, which they said should not have considered police's purpose in holding demonstrators when deciding whether Article 5, an absolute right to liberty, was engaged.

              A second application to the ECHR is also being made by a bystander who found himself caught up in the Oxford Circus kettle. George Black, 60, who is represented by Liberty, claims he was swept inside police cordons as he was trying to walk to a nearby bookshop.

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              • #8

                August 4, 2009 -- The Metropolitan police learned today that one of its officers could face prosecution for the manslaughter of Ian Tomlinson at the G20 demonstrations. The officer, a member of the Met's Territorial Support Group (TSG), struck Tomlinson with a baton and shoved him to the ground moments before he died. Announcing that it had completed its criminal inquiry into the newspaper vendor's death, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it had handed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Senior lawyers from the Special Crime Division of the CPS will now consider the evidence provided by the IPCC to decide whether to prosecute the officer, and if so, on what charges. The IPCC questioned the officer under caution for manslaughter in April. The officer came forward after the Guardian broadcast footage of him striking Tomlinson with a baton and shoving him to the ground at the 1 April protests.

                In determining whether he should face trial, CPS lawyers will consider the footage, along with other documents and witness statements. The nature of the case means the director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, will be involved in deciding whether charges should be brought. His lawyers are bound by a two-test rule requiring a "realistic prospect of conviction" in a prosecution that is deemed to be in the public interest. In the event that the CPS successfully prosecutes the officer for Tomlinson's killing, he would become the first British police officer ever to be convicted for manslaughter for actions while on duty. The maximum penalty is life imprisonment.

                In a statement, the IPCC said the investigation had been one of the largest it had ever undertaken and had been "the subject of huge public scrutiny". More than 40 IPCC investigators and other members of staff from all five regional offices were involved in the case, it said. "We have had a remarkable response from the public and I would like to thank those people who have contacted us for all their help," said Deborah Glass, the IPCC commissioner for London.

                Tomlinson's widow, Julia, said: "It has been a very difficult four months since Ian died and it is a relief to see some progress. The last information that the coroner put out was Dr Cary's view that Ian died from internal bleeding. "Video footage made it clear to us, and everyone else, that Ian was the victim of an unprovoked assault by a police officer. If there is going to be any justice then it must be left for a jury to decide if the police officer is guilty of killing Ian. I hope the CPS will get the case in front of a jury as soon as possible. We would like to thank everyone who came forward as witnesses."

                Glass said most of the video evidence passed to the CPS was collected by members of the public on cameras or mobile phones. "Over 190 premises were visited during a CCTV trawl. This resulted in footage being obtained from more than 220 cameras. In addition, police footage has been reviewed, including that taken from police evidence gatherers and the police helicopter, as well as footage from people's mobile phones and cameras. This amounted to over 1,200 hours of footage, which has been reviewed by a dedicated team of IPCC investigators." Statements were taken from 193 members of the public, as well as police officers and staff, and medical experts.

                The 47-year-old Tomlinson had been trying to walk home from work past police cordons around the Bank of England when he was attacked on Royal Exchange Buildings, a pedestrianised passage, at about 7.20pm on 1 April. The officer's badge numbers were covered and his face concealed beneath a balaclava. Tomlinson had his hands in his pockets and his back to the officer when he was attacked. No police officer went to his aid, and it was left to a bystander to lift him to his feet. He stumbled around 100 metres down Cornhill, clutching his side, before collapsing a second time. The officer is understood to have faced allegations of aggression earlier in his career, after becoming involved in a road rage incident while off duty. The Met's vetting procedures are said to have failed to notice that the officer had an unresolved disciplinary matter.

                Tomlinson's death led to widespread criticism of police brutality at the G20 demonstrations. Two parliamentary inquiries and a national review of policing by the official policing inspectorate have criticised the Met for tactics used against what were largely peaceful protesters in the City of London. The IPCC has received an additional 277 complaints about policing of the demonstration. Police initially led Tomlinson's wife and nine children to believe he died of a heart attack after being caught up in the demonstration. In statements to the press, police claimed attempts by police to save his life by resuscitation were impeded by protesters.

                The IPCC did not launch its criminal inquiry until six days after Tomlinson's death, when the Guardian gave the watchdog a dossier of evidence, including video footage and witness statements, that contradicted the police version of events. Before then, City of London police were allowed to run the inquiry with some supervision from IPCC investigators. After watching the video of the attack, a senior City of London investigator told the family Tomlinson's assailant could be a member of the public "dressed in police uniform". The IPCC is still conducting a second inquiry into whether the Met and City of London police misled the public over his death.

                An early postmortem examination concluded that Tomlinson died of a heart attack. Police released a statement that he "died of natural causes" on the way home from work, but failed to mention the numerous injuries the pathologist found on his body, including bruises, lacerations and large amounts of blood in his stomach. A second examination concluded that Tomlinson did of internal bleeding in the stomach, discrediting the first, which was conducted by a forensic pathologist who has since been suspended from an accredited government register of experts pending two investigations into his conduct.

                The IPCC said it had asked the CPS to consider charges against a suspended TSG sergeant who is accused of assaulting two women in the space of 24 hours. The sergeant was caught on film striking one of the women, Nicola Fisher, at a memorial vigil for Tomlinson.

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                • #9

                  August 4, 2009 -- Five days after Ian Tomlinson lay dying on a noisy London street, blood seeping into his stomach, the police officer who attacked him amid the chaos of the G20 demonstations had still not come forward. The 47-year-old newspaper vendor died, so his family were led to believe, of natural causes on his way home from work. A postmortem appeared to show he succumbed to a sudden heart attack. Had the last 30 minutes of Tomlinson's life not been recorded on dozens of digital cameras and mobile phones, his story might have ended there. Instead, his assailant – a van driver from the Metropolitan police's Territorial Support Group (TSG) – could potentially face a jail sentence if he is charged with manslaughter for an attack that has already been watched by millions of people across the world, and has transformed the face of British policing.

                  Footage of him striking Tomlinson on 1 April, filmed by a New York hedge fund manager and released by the Guardian six days after the death, has now been submitted in a file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). It was part of a file submitted to prosecutors by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which announced today it had completed what has been one if its largest ever criminal investigations. In total, investigators sifted through 1,200 hours of footage obtained from CCTV systems, digital cameras and mobile phones. Experts in computerised scene reconstruction and video enhancement were drafted in to analyse images. "Much of the video evidence we have passed to the CPS was collected by members of the public on cameras or mobile phones," said Deborah Glass, the IPCC commissioner who ran the inquiry. The watchdog said that 40 investigators, many drafted in from regional offices, helped interview almost 200 members of the public. The IPCC was criticised, however, for taking six days to launch a criminal inquiry.

                  Tomlinson arrived at Royal Exchange Buildings, a pedestrianised street near the Bank of England, at about 7:15pm. He was forced to take a detour from his normal route home after being prevented from passing controversial police cordons used to contain, or "kettle" protesters. The video, taken minutes later, showed a line of riot police, some with dogs, corralling protesters out of the passage. Tomlinson was obeying orders, walking away from police with his hands in his pockets when the TSG officer approached him from behind. The officer's badge number was covered and he was wearing a balaclava. He lunged forward, struck Tomlinson with a baton and pushed him forcefully to the ground. A second video, shot by a protester standing nearby, showed how – unable to break his fall – Tomlinson slammed against the pavement. No police officer went to his aid, and it was left to a bystander to lift him to his feet. Dazed, unable to walk properly and clutching his side in visible pain, he stumbled 50m down the road and collapsed.

                  Contrary to initial reports that Tomlinson died of a heart attack, severe internal bleeding is now believed to have caused his death. Investigators believe his injuries could have resulted from the assault by the officer – a TSG van driver who, 10 minutes before attacking Tomlinson, had become isolated from his unit during an unrelated altercation with a protester who sprayed graffiti on a police van. Several bystanders with cameras also captured that incident. Their images show how the officer grabbed the male protester by the scruff of the neck and appeared to strike his head against a van door before dragging him into the crowd.

                  A manslaughter trial would be the worst outcome for the Met commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, and could mean his commanders are called to the witness stand to explain their tactics at the G20 protests. They have already been interrogated by two parliamentary inquiries and government's official police inspectorate. Releasing his interim findings three weeks ago, the chief inspector of constabulary, Denis O'Connor, said the shocking scenes captured on video at the G20 threatened "a sad erosion of the faith in British policing". Nothing less than a national overhaul in the way demonstrations are policed is now required, he said, adding: "On that day during the G20 all of these issues crystallised together. For better or worse, we have taken a view today that it's time to change and move on."

                  The IPCC has received 277 complaints about the G20 demonstations. Many allege injuries caused by unjustified aggression by police, and in private senior officers concede an unwelcome spotlight has focused on the TSG. A third of all 720 TSG officers had complaints lodged against them in the year preceding the protests. The commission said it had also asked the CPS to consider charges against a suspended TSG sergeant who is accused of assaulting two women in the space of 24 hours. The sergeant was caught on film striking one of the women, Nicola Fisher, at a memorial vigil for Tomlinson. His badge number was also concealed.

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                  • #10
                    continued.....

                    Controversy

                    When Tomlinson left his newspaper stand outside Monument tube station to walk home, he could never have imagined the subject of the next edition's frontpage. The following morning the Evening Standard, which he had sold to commuters in for years, reported his death under the headline: "Police pelted with bricks as they help dying man". For Tomlinson's widow, Julia, and nine children, it was the only detail they had about the nature of his death. It was also untrue, and the handling of information in the aftermath of his death is the subject of an separate IPCC investigation into what the Met, City of London and IPCC press officers told journalists about the case. The Met released its first press statement four hours after Tomlinson's death. It stated that officers had gone to his aid and called an ambulance, and were attempting to save his life with CPR when they were impeded by protesters who attacked them with "a number of missiles – believed to be bottles". Independent witnesses said Tomlinson's treatment was not impeded when two, probably plastic bottles landed near where he was lying. Instead the crowd reacted furiously, and the missiles stopped.

                    An early explanation given to Tomlinson's family was that he died unexpectedly as he was "caught up" in a fracas prompted when anarchist demonstrators attacked police. No explanation was given as to what might have triggered his death. Instead police told the his grieving family that, according to witnesses who saw his collapse, he had simply "run out of batteries". At that stage his family members themselves had suspicions, and were researching his death on the internet. From the outset, police strongly and repeatedly advised them not to talk to the media. When articles and photographs appeared suggesting officers had attacked Tomlinson, police discouraged the family from talking to the reporters and questioned the veracity of the reports.

                    City of London police failed to tell Tomlinson's family that, less than 24 hours after his death, its officers were aware he may have been attacked by police. This is established in a confidential City of London police memo, marked "restricted investigation" and produced at 5.02pm on 2 April. It referred to a "series of photos" which showed Tomlinson at the feet of riot police. Although police had not yet obtained the images, they were aware that they constituted potential evidence of the aftermath of an attack by officers. This crucial information was not communicated to Tomlinson's family or, it seems, to the IPCC. It was however known to the City of London police family liaison officer. It was not until the following day, 48 hours after Tomlinson's death, that the IPCC was initially told that he may have had contact with police prior to his death. However it was decided to leave the investigation in the hands of the City of London police.

                    That evening the delayed first postmortem was conducted by forensic pathologist Dr Freddy Patel, who found Tomlinson died of coronary heart disease. City of London police quickly began drafting a press release, stating that Tomlinson "died of natural causes" and "suffered a sudden heart attack while on his way home from work". The statement did not mention the large amounts of blood found Tomlinson's abdomen, or injuries including lacerations to the skin and a suspected dog bite on his leg which, given speculation over the nature of his death, were crucial details. Patel's findings were anyhow undermined when a second postmortem, conducted by one the UK's leading experts, Dr Nat Cary, said the cause of death had been an abdominal haemorrhage, or internal bleeding. A third postmortem on Tomlinson has not been released. The reason Patel was chosen to conduct the first postmortem remains a mystery. At the time of the postmortem, he appeared to be listed on a Home Office register of accredited forensic pathologists, but did not hold a contract with either the City of London police or the Met. He was however known to the Met, which in 2004 alerted the Home Office to concerns about his performance in four suspicious death cases. Last month Patel, once reprimanded by the General Medical Council, was suspended from the government register pending two investigations into his professional conduct.

                    The crucial footage

                    In New York on the morning of Monday 6 April, a hedge fund manager was reading online reports about Tomlinson's "heart attack" on his office computer. Five days had passed since his business trip to London, during which he had attended the G20 demonstrations out of curiosity with a small digital camera. The IPCC was still allowing the City of London police to run the investigation, apparently assured there was nothing overly suspicious about his death. "There was nothing except some witnesses speaking to the Guardian saying they saw him being beaten," the hedge fund manager said later. "But it was their statements versus the police. You needed something incontrovertible. In this case it was the video."

                    The following day the Guardian broadcast the 15-second video and handed the IPCC a dossier of evidence, including 15 witness statements, that contradicted the police's official version of events. Within three hours an IPCC investigator and senior officer from City of London visited the newspaper's offices. At least one City of London officer was told the IPCC would "seize" the video. In fact they had no power to do so, and instead asked for the video to be removed from the website because it was "jeopardising" the inquiry. The video remained on the site, and was viewed by Scotland Yard, where a crisis meeting had been convened. The clip was played the following morning at Bishopsgate police station, during an emergency meeting with Tomlinson's family.

                    After watching the video, one senior City of London police investigator floated the theory that the attacker in the film was a member of the public "dressed in police uniform". He then accepted the assailant was probably an officer, but said he could "not rule out" the possibility a bystander had stolen a uniform from the back of a police van. Tomlinson's family believed the comment underlined how inappropriate it was for the police to be running the inquiry. At that meeting, the IPCC finally took over the investigation, and announced a criminal inquiry into Tomlinson's death. The theory that Tomlinson's assailant was an imposter was short-lived. Within 24 hours of the broadcast, the TSG van driver gave himself up. When he watched footage of his attack on Tomlinson on the evening news on 7 April, he had collapsed in front of his partner.

                    The same TV bulletins were being watched in Derbyshire by Alan Edwards, the 34-year-old man seen in the video helping Tomlinson to his feet. Edwards came forward to recount Tomlinson's last conversation. "I didn't talk to him straight away. I was more concerned the police wouldn't get at him. They'd already pushed him over," he said, adding he was particularly wary of the officer who struck him. "I tried to eyeball him to see if I would remember who he was but he was balaclavaed up. All you could see was his hands and his eyes." When the officer walked off, Edwards lifted Tomlinson from the ground. "I said: 'You OK, mate?' He said: 'No, I live down there – that's where I live. I can't get there any other way. I'm trying to get home.'"

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                    • #11

                      August 6, 2009 -- The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) today called for an immediate change to police tactics after investigating the case of a woman who suffered bruises and heavy bleeding after being pushed backwards by officers using riot shields at the G20 protests.

                      In its first report (.pdf file) into a specific case arising from the demonstrations, which were held on 1 and 2 April this year, the police watchdog called for a review of the way crowds of protesters are controlled. It said the unnamed 23-year-old woman had not been allowed to leave the climate camp protest for around four hours despite her injuries, and had been through "a frightening experience over which she had little or no control".

                      The IPCC received 134 complaints of excessive force being used by police during the G20 protests. This was one of five complaints chosen to be independently investigated. The most high-profile case is that of Ian Tomlinson, the newspaper seller who died shortly after a member of the Metropolitan police's Territorial Support Group (TSG) struck him with a baton and shoved him to the ground. On Tuesday, the IPCC said it had passed a file on the case to the Crown Prosecution Service.

                      Today's report concerns events at the climate camp, held on Bishopsgate, near the Bank of England, on the first day of the protests. The woman said she had spent some hours at the camp before, without any apparent warning, police in riot gear began to force the crowds backwards. She told the IPCC she was kicked and pushed with shields and batons, leaving her with bruising on her legs and arms and heavy vaginal bleeding. A doctor later said there was a small chance the bleeding could have been a miscarriage.

                      The IPCC report said video footage shows one officer pushing the woman with a short riot shield while another uses his forearm against her chest and neck. "It is clear from video footage that she is unable to move backwards due to the number of people behind her," the report said. "The front of the crowd is clearly most susceptible to injury as a result of the police tactics being used here, as they take the full force of the police efforts to move the crowd."

                      After the protests, Metropolitan and City police commanders were criticised for using the tactic of "kettling" – containing crowds within a small area for some hours without prior warning. The use of shields to push crowds back "has not been medically assessed and does not form part of any national training or the current ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) public order manual," the report said.

                      The organisation's commissioner for London, Deborah Glass said: "While this young woman's alleged injuries were more serious than most, her experience appears to have been typical of many peaceful protestors on 1 April. She was caught up in what appears to have been a frightening experience over which she had little or no control. Like many others that day, she says she had no prior warning of the police intention to use force in containing the crowd, and no prior warning of a containment tactic that prevented her leaving."

                      The IPCC said it supported three key findings from a report released a month ago by Denis O'Connor, the chief inspector of constabulary: that police should inform crowds of their plans; that vulnerable or distressed people should be allowed to leave "kettled" areas and that police public order training be reviewed. The woman who lodged the complaint did not want any individual officers singled out for criticism, the report added, but wanted her experience to improve policing at future protests.

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                      • #12

                        August 7, 2009 -- Investigators decided there was no evidence of police wrongdoing in the death of Ian Tomlinson just three days after he collapsed at the G20 protests, it has emerged tonight. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) planned to announce that it had completed its assessment into Tomlinson's death on 1 April and discovered nothing suspicious. At 11.30am on 4 April, investigators prepared a document announcing Tomlinson died of a heart attack after being caught up among protesters "dressed entirely in black" who, it said, were charging police. "It was during this charge and retreat that Mr Tomlinson has seemed to have been caught up in the crowds and a number of people describe seeing him 'collapse and fall to the ground'."

                        The statement went on to say the IPCC had examined CCTV of the incident, police records and statements from independent witnesses, and been "satisfied that there is no evidence that the actions of those officers present on Cornhill contributed in any way to the sudden and untimely death of an innocent bystander". Their premature conclusions were read over the phone to Tomlinson's family, but then appear to have been shelved at the last minute. The commission announced this week that it has completed its four-month criminal inquiry into Tomlinson's death, and handed a file to prosecutors. The Crown Prosecution Service will now decide whether to charge the Metropolitan police officer who struck Tomlinson moments before he died with manslaughter. Another IPCC investigation into complaints that City of London police and the Met deliberately misled the public over the death is continuing.

                        The initial IPCC document was included in City of London police logs written by the Tomlinson family's police liaison officer in the days after his death. The officer's memos, seen by the Guardian, reveal that when the victim's widow, Julia Tomlinson, was told the IPCC was about to end its inquiry she "burst into tears". An IPCC spokeswoman said tonight the document it planned to release on 4 April had been a draft which "needed to be checked further". She said the decision to end the investigation was not made, adding: "There is an ongoing investigation into the level of knowledge within the police as well as media handling in the aftermath of Mr Tomlinson's death."

                        The logs also reveal the family were told by police there were "no marks" on Tomlinson's face, a claim they contested after viewing his body. In their first interview, on Thursday, the family said City of London police, the Met and the IPCC discouraged them from talking to the media and said they believed there were attempts to cover up details about the death. They said they were only given a selective account of a postmortem which found Tomlinson died of a heart attack. The logs appear to confirm they were not told that the pathologist also discovered large amounts of blood in Tomlinson's stomach and other injuries. "Looking back, it is obvious we were misled by police in the hours and days after Ian died," Paul King, Tomlinson's son, said. "There is still a lot to come out about how we were prevented from knowing the truth about Ian's death." He added that the family had been in shock when police family liaison officers were appointed and, he said, "trusted them too much".

                        Tomlinson, a 47-year-old newspaper vendor, collapsed and died moments after being struck near the Bank of England around 7.20pm. He had been attempting to walk home from work when he was turned away from police cordons used by the Met to contain protesters in a "kettle". The tactic was criticised by the IPCC this week, when it released its report into the case of a 23-year-old woman with bruises and heavy vaginal bleeding who was prevented from leaving a "kettle" for up to five hours. A doctor subsequently said there was a small chance the woman could have had a miscarriage. "While this young woman's alleged injuries were more serious than most, her experience appears to have been typical of many peaceful protesters on 1 April," said the IPCC commissioner for London, Deborah Glass.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Al-khiyal View Post


                          September 28, 2009 -- A police officer who allegedly struck a woman during the G20 demonstrations in London a woman will be charged with assault, the Crown Prosecution Service said today. A CPS spokeswoman said Sergeant Delroy Smellie would be charged with assault by beating of Nicola Fisher and he will appear at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court on 16 November. Smellie faces up to six months in prison if found guilty. Smellie, a member of the Met's Territorial Support Group, was suspended from duty two months ago after footage emerged of him near the Bank of England, apparently hitting 35-year-old Nicola Fisher with the back of his arm. The officer was also shown appearing to strike Fisher on her legs with a baton as she attended a vigil for the newspaper seller Ian Tomlinson, who had died the previous day. She said the incident left her with severe bruising.

                          A CPS spokeswoman said: "The Crown Prosecution Service has decided that there is sufficient evidence to charge Police Sergeant Delroy (Tony) Smellie with the offence of assault by beating of Nicola Fisher on 2 April, 2009 at a demonstration in the City of London. The CPS reviewed a file of evidence provided by the Independent Police Complaints Commission following their investigation into Ms Fisher's allegation. A summons has been served on Sgt Smellie, who will appear at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court on November 16 2009." The CPS said that there was not sufficient evidence to charge Smellie for a second assault, against another female protester.

                          Fisher gave evidence to the home affairs select committee last month, which has hosted one of two parliamentary inquiries into policing of the G20 protests. There has been five independent IPCC investigations following the G20 protests. Prosecutors have also been asked to consider whether the Metropolitan police officer who attacked Ian Tomlinson at the G20 demonstration should be charged with manslaughter. A spokeswoman for the CPS said the Tomlinson case remained under review and a decision would not be taken for a few months. "We have been asked to look at whether the officer involved should be charged with any offence, and no decision has currently been taken," she said.

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                          • #14
                            Scotland Yard riot squad faces calls to end 'culture of impunity'

                            Of more than 5,000 complaints against squad, less than 0.18% were upheld

                            November 6, 2009 -- Scotland Yard faced calls for an "ethical audit" of all officers in its controversial riot squad tonight after figures revealed that they had received more than 5,000 complaint allegations, mostly for "oppressive behaviour". Details of all allegations lodged against the Metropolitan police territorial support group (TSG) over the last four years reveal that only nine – less than 0.18% – were "substantiated" after an investigation by the force's complaints department. The figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, were described as evidence of a "culture of impunity" that makes it almost impossible for members of the public to lodge successful complaints against the Met's 730 TSG officers. The TSG is a specialist squad that responds to outbreaks of disorder anywhere in the capital. It is under investigation for the most high-profile cases of alleged brutality at the G20 protests, including the death of Ian Tomlinson.

                            The unit came under renewed criticism this week after one of its officers was identified as a member of a team implicated in a "serious, gratuitous and prolonged" attack on a Muslim man. PC Mark Jones, 42, was one of six officers involved in an attack on Babar Ahmad, 34, who was punched, kicked, stamped on and strangled during his arrest at his home in Tooting, south London. The Met paid Ahmad £60,000 in damages earlier this year and accepted its officers were responsible for the attack, during which Ahmad, a terror suspect, was forced into the Muslim prayer position and told: "Where is your God now? Pray to him."

                            A former Royal Marine, Jones has had 31 complaints lodged against him since 1993. Twenty-six were assault allegations, most of which had been lodged by black or Asian men, but none were substantiated. They included a complaint from a man detained in a drug search in 2007 who, Ahmad's lawyers told the high court, accused Jones of forcing him into a TSG van, placing him on his knees, grabbing his neck and spraying CS gas into his face. Despite being identified in court by Ahmad's lawyers as the officer who placed him in an "extremely dangerous" neck-hold, Jones faced no disciplinary action and returned to duty on Wednesday after being cleared in another case of alleged racially aggravated assault.

                            The TSG has been the subject of 5,241 allegations since August 2005. They include 376 allegations of discrimination and 977 complaints of "incivility". More than 1,100 of the allegations concerned what members of the public said were "failures in duty". However by far the largest number of complaints – 2,280 – were categorised as "oppressive behaviour". Just over 2,000 (38%) were "unsubstantiated" by the Met's department for professional standards, while the rest were resolved at the police station, dismissed, discontinued or dealt with in other ways. Senior Met officers say the TSG's work, involving drug raids and demonstrations, means they are more likely to face complaints than other officers.

                            Jenny Jones, a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA), the force's watchdog, said tonight the figures revealed TSG officers were "practically immune" from criticism in the force. "The fact that less than 0.2% of complaints about the TSG succeed, suggest its officers are protected within the Met to the extent that there is a culture of impunity for their actions," she said. "It's time for an ethical audit and a thorough overhaul. They desperately need better training, rotation of personnel, and reduction of duties to make them fit for purpose."

                            Fiona Murphy, Ahmad's solicitor, said: "The figures either mean thousands of members of the public are taking the trouble to make fabricated complaints against the TSG, which seems unlikely, or there is a systemic problem with the complaints procedure that means it is virtually impossible for officers in the unit to be held to account for their actions."

                            A high court order prevented identification of Jones as an officer involved in the Ahmad assault until the end of his separate criminal trial. On Tuesday jurors at Kingston crown court cleared Jones of racially and physically attacking two 16-year-old boys in a police van in June 2007. The teenagers said they were racially taunted in front a team of TSG officers who had stopped them near Edgware Road, west London. One of the teenagers said Jones punched him several times in the head and placed him in a neck-hold while calling him an "Arab ****". Five other TSG officers who were in the van at the time were also cleared of charges of misfeasance in public office. A seventh, PC Amechi Onwugbonu, acted as a whistleblower during the trial, saying he saw Jones attacking the boys.

                            The jurors were not told about Jones's involvement in the Ahmad assault in 2003, which his lawyers said bore "striking similarities" to the teenagers' allegations. An IT support worker, Ahmad was assaulted at his home and then in a TSG van, where Jones is alleged to have put him in the neck hold. One officer said: "You'll remember this day for the rest of your life." Another officer grabbed his testicles and he was also deliberately wrenched by his handcuffs - a technique known to cause intense pain.

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                            • #15

                              November 9, 2009 -- Five Metropolitan police officers could face prosecution over a "serious, gratuitous and prolonged" attack on a British Muslim man that led the force to pay £60,000 in damages. Keir Starmer, the director of public prosecutions (DPP), is considering whether to bring charges against officers from the force's Territorial Support Group (TSG) involved in an assault on Babar Ahmad during his arrest at his home in Tooting, south London. An initial Met investigation concluded no officer should be disciplined. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) did not bring criminal charges.

                              However, in March lawyers acting for the Met commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, were forced to admit in the high court that Ahmad, a 34-year-old terror suspect, had been the victim of sustained violence, and the force paid damages. The court heard how officers stamped on his feet and repeatedly punched him in the head. He was forced into the Muslim prayer position while police shouted: "Where is your God now? Pray to him." The IT support worker was then placed in a TSG van where an officer is alleged in court to have put him in an "extremely dangerous" neck hold. Another said: "You'll remember this day for the rest of your life."

                              The CPS is awaiting the conclusion of a Met review of the case which, its officials have told Ahmad's lawyers, provides "a realistic prospect that further material evidence may be produced by the police". Starmer, who takes an active role in deciding whether to prosecute controversial cases, is taking the case "very seriously", prosecutors have said. PC James-Bowen, PC Cowley and PC Donohue and their supervising officer, Sergeant Paul Davis, refused to give evidence during the civil action, as did a fifth officer, PC Mark Jones, 42, an ex-Royal Marine. Jones was identified last week for the first time as a member of the team that arrested Ahmad. The identification was made when jurors at Kingston crown court acquitted Jones in a separate trial in which he was accused of racially assaulting two 16-year-old boys.

                              Paul Davis, now an inspector, gave character evidence in support of Jones during the trial, telling the jury that in 26 years' service to the Met there was not another officer he held in higher regard. He described Jones – identified by Ahmad's lawyers as the officer responsible for the neck hold – as "totally calm and disciplined officer ... a decent man" who had never been "racist or disrespectful to any minority".

                              There is rising concern over accountability in the TSG, a unit of about 730 officers who are on standby to deal with outbreaks of disorder anywhere in the capital. The CPS is deciding whether to prosecute a TSG officer with the manslaughter of newspaper vendor Ian Tomlinson, who collapsed and died at the G20 protests moments after being struck to the ground. Later this month a TSG sergeant, Delroy Smellie, will appear before magistrates charged with assaulting a protester during a vigil for Tomlinson.

                              Last week there were calls for an "ethical audit" of all TSG officers after the Guardian revealed the unit had received more than 5,000 complaint allegations over the last four years, mostly for "oppressive behaviour". Only nine – less than 0.18% – were "substantiated" after an investigation by the force's complaints department, leading to claims that a culture of impunity exists within the force.

                              Fiona Murphy, Ahmad's solicitor, said: "Over six months have now elapsed since the commissioner admitted that his officers carried out a brutal and horrific physical and sexual assault on Babar. Despite these admissions the CPS have failed to prosecute a single officer for any offence. This is reflective of a culture that exists in the UK whereby police officers are able to behave as brutally as they wish with full knowledge that they will not be held to account by the authorities."

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