Saturday, April 18, 2009

Man died, Police lied.

THE police officer who struck Ian Tomlinson and knocked him to the ground, before he died during the London G20 protests, is being questioned and may face manslaughter charges. It has now been revealed that the 47-year old news vendor died from internal bleeding.

The authorities said nothing about injuries and blood found by pathologist Freddy Patel when they released results of the first postmortem. City of London police said only that Tomlinson had "suffered a sudden heart attack while on his way home from work".

It was only when witnesses came forward, including a visiting New York fund manager who videoed the incident, that it was revealed and confirmed that Ian Tomlinson had been attacked from behind by police before he collapsed and died.

The victim's son Paul King said yesterday: "We believe we were badly misled by police about the possible role they played in Ian's death. First we were told that there had been no contact with the police, then we were told that he died of a heart attack. Now we know that he was violently assaulted by a police officer and died from internal bleeding. As time goes on we hope that the full truth about how Ian died will be made known."

This has reminded people, notwithstanding different circumstances, of the shooting of Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes on the London Underground. Once again an entirely innocent person has been killed, and once again police were quick to put out their version of events before the truth emerged. The New York fund manager who handed the Guardian the video evidence said last night that he felt vindicated by the findings. "Now I'm glad I came forward. It's possible Mr Tomlinson's death would have been swept under the rug otherwise. You needed something incontrovertible. In this case it was the video."

It has also brought to mind the killing in Southall thirty years ago of New Zealand-born teacher Blair Peach, who was struck from behind by a member of the notorious Special Patrol Group (SPG). The SPG was replaced in 1987 by the Territorial Support Group (TSG). It is a TSG officer who is being questioned about the attack on Ian Tomlinson, and a TSG sergeant (with number concealed) who has been filmed striking a woman on the G20 protest, first with his gloved hand, then with his baton.

Cities of London and Westminster Trades Union Council has decided to collect information about police tactics and methods in dealing with demonstrations. The trades union council decided on this step after being approached by trade union members who work in the City and were shocked by some of the things they saw, both at the bank and when police waded into climate camp and student protesters. "This is not just crowd control, it is crushing people's right to peaceful demonstration and protest," says a trades council spokesperson. They want evidence not just about particular incidents but the overall tactics such as "kettling", surrounding and detaining people for hours on the street. They want to know who decides, and what orders are given. The City and Westminster trades unionists will be raising the issue in the wider labour movement and with government.

If anyone has relevant first-hand information on this issue they can pass it on to Roger Sutton,
Secretary CLWTUC,
c/o GFTU
Central House, Upper Woburn Place,

Roger Sutton,

Southall Remembers...

The events of thirty years ago, when Blair Peach was killed, are being remembered in his native New Zealand and in Southal where it happened. Here's a letter that has been passed on to me:

Thirty years ago, during the run up to the election in which Thatcher triumphed, the fascist National Front arranged a public meeting in the centre of Southall - an open racist provocation to the overwhelmingly Asian local community. and so the community blockaded its own streets.
On the day of this meeting there was a mass shut down of shops, factories and businesses and peaceful occupation of our own streets by the local community. Protests to the Council that they should deny the NF use of our town hall were ignored and so the community blockaded its own streets. This peaceful event was brutally smashed by the police, who beat up men and women indiscriminately, drove vehicles at crowds at high speed, hospitalised many and killed anti-racist demonstrator Blair Peach. Another man almost died and there could have been more. Thus the police enabled thirty fascists from outside the area to meet in the centre of Southall, where they had not a single member. Democracy for the racists, brutal repression for the Southall community.

Hundreds of local people were attacked by the police, many taken away and dumped on roadsides miles away. 350 people were charged by the police to justify their own brutal behaviour. To ensure unfair treatment, they were tried by professional magistrates across the other side of London. The media covered the whole event by repeating propaganda fed to them by the police. The truth had to come out piecemeal over time as a result of determined campaigning by local people and friends of Blair Peach. In a landmark case, one peaceful demonstrator was compensated by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board aftter being held by several officers while another kicked his teeth in.

An anniversary event has been organised on Sunday 26th April this year, from 2.00pm to 6.00pm, Dominion Centre, 112 The Green Southall. there will be many community speakers.

Please pass the word to whoever you think will be interested.

Oliver New

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At 1:35 PM, OpenID Owen said...

As I remember it, across the passage of time, the identity of the police officer who hit Blair Peach while he was sitting on a wall was narrowed down to one of a group of five SPG officers, none of whom has ever been prepared to tell the truth about which one of his colleagues actually killed Blair Peach. I don't know the legal definition of a criminal conspiracy but for a layperson it's hard not to view the five officers' silence in that way.


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