Ian Tomlinson, and many others like him, deserve justice
Finally, two years after the G20 demonstrations descended on the City of London, the truth that we knew all along has been confirmed. Ian Tomlinson was unlawfully killed. A newspaper seller, on his way home from work, attacked from behind by a police officer. Minutes later, he died.
The Tomlinson case could prove to be one arrogant step too far for the Metropolitan Police. Their lies and misinformation in the immediate aftermath of his death have now been proven as the falsities they always were. No, the police were not under attack when they pushed him to the ground, or when they were treating him. PC Simon Harwood’s attempted character assassination of Mr. Tomlinson was an embarrassment, but also exposes the deep-rooted prejudices within the police that allow events such as those that led to his death to occur. However, the Tomlinson family’s quest for justice is far from over. Now that the inquest ruling has been made, the offending officer must be charged.
The Tomlinson case should not serve as an isolated ruling, it should serve as a catalyst for justice for all those who have suffered a similar fate. Who is responsible for Sean Rigg’s death? Who is responsible for Habib ‘Paps’ Ullah’s death? Who is responsible for Smiley Culture’s death? These questions must be asked.
In addition, we must recognise that the repressive role of the police in our society is manifested in more ways than one. The days preceding the royal wedding last week showed how limited our freedoms actually are, when people were arrested from their homes for uploading videos to the Internet saying they would peacefully demonstrate on the date of a wedding. Forces loyal to the Cameron regime spent the week cracking-down on pro-democracy activists.
In the aftermath of the demonstrations outside the Israeli embassy in London during the bloody assault of Operation Cast Lead, almost 80 people were charged, with the large majority being young, Muslim males. Those were politically-motivated arrests, with the judge presiding over the cases admitting that he was handing down heavy sentences as a “deterrent”; i.e. to deter people from exercising their right to engage in political protest. Since the student demonstrations, scores of people have been arrested for daring to stand up for their right to an education. Amongst those charged with violent disorder is Alfie Meadows, who was so badly injured from the demonstrations that he needed emergency brain surgery to save his life. The “violent disorder” we should be condemning is that of the government, which has the temerity to triple university fees whilst they paid not a single penny for their education.
We are fighting a struggle on two fronts; firstly, we must demand justice for every single victim of police brutality, and any police officer suspected of a crime must be charged with that crime and, if found guilty, sentenced, just like any other citizen. Secondly, we must demand the release of all political prisoners in this country, including those arrested for standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people in January 2009, and those who demanded an equal education for all in December 2010.
Nelson Mandela once said that “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” Until every political prisoner in our country is released, our freedom is also incomplete.Tagged in: Habib ‘Paps’ Ullah, ian tomlinson, Sean Rigg, smiley culture
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