Saturday, April 18, 2009

plus ça change

My head, heart and stomach are still heaving from this morning’s Guardian news. Although cynical to my bones, even I thought the Grauniad was pushing it a bit when they highlighted the first Tomlinson pathologist’s questionable record. Well, now they look like they were bang on the nail. The new pathologist’s finding that death was caused by “abdominal bleeding” makes this a clear-cut case of manslaughter. But as always the lying and the failed spin do the most damage to the Met’s reputation. And the IPCC’s actions do not inspire confidence either.

So, since my last post in this here website thingy, the story has developed as follows:

1) The police “heroically” “come to the aid” of a dying “heart-attack” victim, under a “barrage” of bottles/bricks*/intercontinental ballistic missiles** (delete as necessary) thrown by a “crazed mob” of “rioting” protesters.

2) A balaclaved riot policeman callously and brutally attacks an innocent bystander from behind in full view of his colleagues, who do nothing to intervene or assist the victim. The victim dies minutes later from the injuries sustained.

The Guardian’s video footage of the attack was the crucial evidence moving the story on from (1) to (2), cutting though the IPCC’s apparent failure to take protesters’ evidence seriously. By now it is very clear the protesters evidence is far more credible than that of the police and IPCC (“no CCTV cameras in the area”).

Ironically the Guardian’s footage is probably illegal under section 76 of the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 (and 58A of the 2000 Act). The public’s right to identify individual policemen is absolutely crucial, and arguably this includes the right to photograph them should they - as is apparent in the G20 police action - choose to disguise their identities by covering their faces and number badges. The rules regarding photography of police officers need to be repealed urgently.

*The “bricks” claim was made on the day of Ian Tomlinson’s death by the Evening Standard. They have since deleted this claim from their website (video evidence shows one plastic water bottle thrown, by someone possibly unaware there was a medical emergency). Ian Tomlinson was a newspaper vendor for the Evening Standard.

** Making things up is fun!


Boz said...

It's all a bit depressing and grim, isn't it? And coupled with the recent legislation making it illegal to take pictures of police on the street - deeply disturbing.

Hedgie said...

Thanks Boz. I spent my childhood in a police state: I don't want to spend my old age in one!