Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Police assaulted peaceful protesters: letter to my MP

... or, "Police: dumb and stupid".

[Update: better-quality video of the critical moments, and news that the worst offender has been suspended, over at the Guardian.]

The police seem determined to commit crimes on camera. Protesters videoed the police battering innocent bystander Ian Tomlinson on the 1st of April 2009; then on the 2nd, when the public protested against that police brutality, the police beat them too, and witnesses/citizen journalists videoed police assaulting the peaceful protesters.

There are several stages to this incident, beginning about 3 minutes and 30 seconds into the video:
  • first, a protester tries to leave the kettled crowd, but two police officers repeatedly push him back;
  • second, a protester outside the cordoned zone objects to the police's actions, whereupon another police officer repeatedly pushes her;
  • third, that police officer smacks that protester in the face with the back of his riot-gear-armoured hand; then,
  • fourth, when she objects to that, he calmly takes his baton out and cracks her in the leg with it, leaving her prone on the ground.
As was observed during Ian Tomlinson's battery, again other police officers witnessed the various illegal acts committed against peaceful protesters, and not only did they not help the victims, but also they did not restrain, let alone arrest, those who committed the crimes.

I had just been taking a break when I found this, reading an article about the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) backtracking on its idiotic initial claims about the police's battery of Ian Tomlinson.
[IPCC Chair Nick] Hardwick said on Thursday there was no CCTV evidence of alleged police assaults on [Ian] Tomlinson. "We don't have CCTV footage of the incident," he told Channel 4 news. "There is no CCTV footage – there were no cameras in the locations where he was assaulted."

This morning the IPCC initially stood by Hardwick's claims. "Mr Hardwick said there was no available CCTV footage of the incident and we stand by that. Any footage that is available, whether taken by police or by the public, will be fully investigated as and when it becomes available," it said.

However, at 10.30am, after pictures were published showing cameras in the area, the IPCC changed its stance. "At this point, Mr Hardwick believed that he was correct in this assertion – we now know this may not be accurate," the IPCC said in a statement. "There are cameras in the surrounding area."
It would have been unintentionally amusing, but even the unintentional humour was lost because, despite public documentation of the police's and the IPCC's acts of obstruction of justice (and potentially, attempting to pervert the course of justice), apparently, no-one's getting prosecuted, or even questioned, about them.

(This wasn't the exact wording of the letter to my MP...)

[This was also posted over on Human Rights Archaeology, but I removed it because it was not related to my research.]

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