Ian Tomlinson, and many others like him, deserve justice

Jody McIntyre
113571695 300x200 Ian Tomlinson, and many others like him, deserve justice

Julia Tomlinson, the widow of Ian Tomlinson (CR), addresses the media with her son Paul King (CL) and other family members outside the inquest into Ian Tomlinson's death on May 3, 2011

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.

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  •!/profile.php?id=100000011087981 David Myers

    But you can make generalisations about violent disorder? Sorry, but you can’t have it both ways. We witness countless instances of violent disorder committed by the police towards members of the public, often with the officers in question having covered up their numbers to avoid identification. Like it or not, the actions of the police inflame volatile situations more often than not. Tensions run very high, and officers, both individually and collectively, have been shown to have lashed out and assaulted members of the public who have not committed offences. And this is the organisation which, under Labour, were pushing for more and more powers to limit the freedoms of the public.

  • lovetruncheon


    sorry – you just don’t get it.

    how do you think things will change?

    by moaning a lot on internet blogs or messageboards about how bad everyone else is at doing stuf you’d never comtemplate yourself? maybe get in the way of everday life making the majority think you’re an idiot while you wave some stupid banner for ten minutes satisfying yourself?

    well done. applause all round.

    at least i don’t pretend to care.
    :o )

  • Kthrdhd

    Unfortunately, there are – as in all walks of life, many corrupt and bad people; in all ‘professions’. But let’s not comdem the whole Police Force! I’ve met and worked with peole in all sorts of caring and respected professions, and there are some who I would seriously question as being a danger to those they are supposed to be working for. The Police Force is no diferent to other such professions, and unfortunately – as with, say, teachers, social workers – people we normally respect and admire for their dedication and hard work, there are some terrible criminal deeds perpetrated.

    But there are still many good, respectful and totaly professional people working for society and us. Lets not forget them. The problem is obviously that when our trust and faith in many of them is destroyed by a few who abuse their possition and power, or they appear to be supported and manipulated by the authorities that be, our faith in the whole profession and it’s systems is totaly undermined.

    Doctors sign a ‘pledge’ of sorts-an ‘Oath’. Those working in other such professions with people and for society should also be held responsible in the same way and suffer the consequences of their misdeeds. There should be no ‘cover-up’ with this; it shames the good, honest and hard working members of their profession and destroys our trust and faith. Everyone in the Police Force and government should be standing up and shouting ‘get him out – get him prosecuted’, then they can replace him with a trustworthy and professional recruit. Protecting one is an insult to the majority, and the people of our country.

  • hugointerpreter

    There’s a story on the Guardian site about extraordinary criticisms from Ulster peer Lord Macinnis, aimed at Sir John Stephenson, for not protecting P.C.Harwood, and articulating scant respect for a jury’s reasoned decision.

  • Internet_Hat_Machine

    Maybe that’s true to some extent, however given all the bullshit coppers spout I wouldn’t trust them to tell me the time.

  • Internet_Hat_Machine

    Before you go on about Hamas maybe you should think about who Israel elected as PM in 2001. Ben Ariel Sharon a war criminal who has been involved in the killings of thousands of Palestinian civilians, some of them in refugee camps as well.

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