Sunday, April 05, 2009

Ian Tomlinson: "You have the right to be beaten. If you wish to give up this right, we will do it anyway"

During last week's G20 summit protests, Ian Tomlinson, 47 an employee in a newsagent's in the City died of a heart attack whilst on his way home. At least that was the official account of what happened according to the police at the time. Some other reports in UK media also spoke of attacks by protesters on officers and ambulance crew who were attempting to provide first aid.

As it turned out none of this is true. A report in the Observer now paints a very different account of what happened last week. According to several eye witnesses present at the time of the incident the Tomlinson had been the victim of a police attack just minutes before he died.

"Photographer Anna Branthwaite said: "I can remember seeing Ian Tomlinson. He was rushed from behind by a riot officer with a helmet and shield two or three minutes before he collapsed." Branthwaite, an experienced press photographer, has made a statement to the IPCC.

Another independent statement supports allegations of police violence. Amiri Howe, 24, recalled seeing Mr Tomlinson being hit "near the head" with a police baton. Howe took one of a sequence of photographs that show a clearly dazed Mr Tomlinson being helped by a bystander."

Also the circumstances in which Tomlinson was initially treated contradict official accounts. It now seems that few, if any objects were thrown by protesters at the police when they came to see what had happened.Indeed if the video below is to be believed then members of the riot squad attacked and harassed those providing first aid (click here for a full account by Indymedia).

Given the lies and misleading statements presented by the London Metropolitan police during the inquiry into the death of Brazilian national, Jean Charles de Menezes, shot eight times while sitting on a tube train I'm sure the authorities will find a way to avoid taking responsibility for Tomlinson's death. Practice does makes perfect in any kind of cover up.

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