Countless accounts of police brutality have surfaced around the protests on April 1st and 2nd, be it the detention of protesters at Bank for hours [1|2], the vicious attack on the peaceful Climate Camp [report|video], including children, or the raids on the Convergence Center [1|2|3] and RampARTs [1|2]. Not to mention the police aggression at an event to commemorate the death of Ian Tomlinson and demand an independent inquiry.
Now new eyewitness statements corroborate the indications that policing of the protests is, at least in part, responsible for the death of a bystander. On the same day another march was held in the face of police brutality and to demand an inquiry into Ian Tomlinson’s death, with the announcement that the police policy of containment would be taken to European Human Rights Courts. The following is taken from The Guardian 5th April, 2009
The man who died during last week’s G20 protests was “assaulted” by riot police shortly before he suffered a heart attack, according to witness statements received by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
Investigators are examining a series of corroborative accounts that allege Ian Tomlinson, 47, was a victim of police violence in the moments before he collapsed near the Bank of England in the City of London last Wednesday evening. Three witnesses have told the Observer that Mr Tomlinson was attacked violently as he made his way home from work at a nearby newsagents. One claims he was struck on the head with a baton.
Photographer Anna Branthwaite said: “I can remember seeing Ian Tomlinson. He was rushed from behind by a riot officer with a helmet and shield two or three minutes before he collapsed.” Branthwaite, an experienced press photographer, has made a statement to the IPCC.
Another independent statement supports allegations of police violence. Amiri Howe, 24, recalled seeing Mr Tomlinson being hit “near the head” with a police baton. Howe took one of a sequence of photographs that show a clearly dazed Mr Tomlinson being helped by a bystander.
A female protester, who does not want to be named but has given her testimony to the IPCC, said she saw a man she later recognised as Tomlinson being pushed aggressively from behind by officers. “I saw a man violently propelled forward, as though he’d been flung by the arm, and fall forward on his head.
“He hit the top front area of his head on the pavement. I noticed his fall particularly because it struck me as a horrifically forceful push by a policeman and an especially hard fall; it made me wince.”
Mr Tomlinson, a married man who lived alone in a bail hostel, was not taking part in the protests. Initially, his death was attributed by a police post mortem to natural causes. A City of London police statement said: “[He] suffered a sudden heart attack while on his way home from work.”
But this version of events was challenged after witnesses recognised the dead man from photographs that were published on Friday.
An IPCC statement was due to be released the same day and is understood to have portrayed the death as a tragic accident. However, the statement’s release was postponed as the complaints body received information that police officers may have been more involved in events than previously thought. An IPCC spokesman said yesterday that in light of new statements it was “assessing” the information it had received before deciding whether to launch a full investigation.
Part of the commission’s inquiries will involve the examination of CCTV footage from the area.
Liberal Democrat MP David Howarth said: “Eventually there will have to be a full inquest with a jury. It is a possibility this death was at police hands.”
Protesters marched to Bethnal Green police station in east London yesterday to demand a public inquiry into Mr Tomlinson’s death.
Read the full article here.