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Keeping the peace.
April 7, 2009 1:50 PM   Subscribe

One man died on the day of the G20 protests in London. He wasn't a protester, wasn't a police officer. Ian Tomlinson was a 47 year old newspaper seller trying to get home, who collapsed and died of heart failure. Three minutes before he collapsed and died, this happened.

The official statement from the police made no reference to any contact between their officers and Mr Tomlinson but instead focused on the attempts to treat him after his collapse, and the much reported complaint that their officers had a couple of bottles thrown at them while doing so.

The video footage was sent to the Guardian by a fund manager from New York.
posted by reynir (171 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
I wonder why that cop pushed Mr. Tomlinson.
posted by now i'm piste at 1:57 PM on April 7, 2009


Where are their white jumpsuits and derbies?
posted by swift at 2:00 PM on April 7, 2009 [7 favorites]


Thank god for ubiquitous camera phones. Assholes like this and Mehserle won't be able to get away with murder anymore. Or not as much, at least.
posted by stavrogin at 2:00 PM on April 7, 2009


I wonder why that cop pushed Mr. Tomlinson.

Appears from the video that he wasn't walking fast enough for the riot squad. Nice job attacking that old dude from behind and killing him, guys.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:02 PM on April 7, 2009 [7 favorites]


I wonder why that cop pushed Mr. Tomlinson.

Because he wanted to.
posted by Grangousier at 2:04 PM on April 7, 2009 [22 favorites]


You know, it's just as bad to do these things to unresisting people who don't die a few minutes later.
posted by Malor at 2:06 PM on April 7, 2009 [47 favorites]


Note to politicians: next time you bemoan the decreasing levels of respect for authority and for the law in British society, stfu unless you called for the immediate suspension from duty and prosecution of the police officer responsible and praised the vast majority of the protesters for their peaceful, law-abiding actions.
posted by aihal at 2:09 PM on April 7, 2009 [24 favorites]


Wow, you British people have weirdly-dressed gangs. Where are your police? They should be protecting you from these thugs.
posted by mullingitover at 2:09 PM on April 7, 2009 [34 favorites]


Cop who pushed him gets assault causing death (or UK equivalent), and all cops who lied on their reports get fired.
Next case, Bailiff!
posted by rocket88 at 2:09 PM on April 7, 2009 [9 favorites]


Not to be a contrarian, but it looks to me like everyone else had cleared the area that Mr. Tomlinson was still standing in when the video begins. I assume there had been previous requests/orders to clear the area, as most of the other protesters are nowhere near the police, other than Mr. Tomlinson.

From my personal reading of his body language, it looks defiance and passive resistance. It does not look like a man simply trying to get home.

I agree that the police officer should not have pushed him from behind. But the simple push to the ground cannot be considered an assault with the intent of death by heart attack.

Truly unfortunate that Mr. Tomlinson died, but I think there is more to the story than a "newspaper seller trying to get home".
posted by Argyle at 2:10 PM on April 7, 2009 [7 favorites]


I had posted somephotos of this and a few other protests, where the police used strong methods. Gol into this batch and locate the photos relating to what is depicted in the video:

http://cryptome.info/protest-cops/protest-cops.htm
posted by Postroad at 2:10 PM on April 7, 2009


Oh come on, lay off the Bobbies. Obama was over in London for the G20, so they figured, "yes we can".
posted by Elmore at 2:13 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wonder why that cop pushed Mr. Tomlinson.
According to the Guardian article, it was actually worse than that. An officer threw Tomlinson to the ground and hit him a couple of times with a baton, then picked him up again. Tomlinson got a few steps away before the events on the video occured: a policeman (not sure if it was the same guy) then hit him in the leg with a baton and pushed him down. So he was knocked to the ground twice and hit about three times with batons before having the heart attack. They were pretty rough on a guy who was just trying to get out of there.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:14 PM on April 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


The video footage was sent to the Guardian by a fund manager from New York.

Important to send this in from abroad: it's just become illegal here to photograph the police: Anti-terror laws go into effect February 2009.

We need camera phones linked to always-on wireless broadband that record to a remote server automatically.

(The right-wing - Washington Post? - Telegraph reported: Man arrested for challenging police who ignored no entry sign.)
posted by alasdair at 2:14 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Heh. Look, I'm not saying that cop wasn't out of line (he was), and no disrespect to the poor man who died (peace to him), but you Brits really need to work on your police brutality. A shove over here is nothing - you have to really push the envelope as far as audacity and bare thoughtlessness to rate at all anymore.

yeah, that's a video that shows someone being shot dead, so take warning
posted by koeselitz at 2:15 PM on April 7, 2009


Argyle, due to your classification of this as a 'simple push to the ground', I must disregard your body language interpretations.
posted by mannequito at 2:16 PM on April 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


there is this tactic to use when confronted by the police

http://young.anabaptistradicals.org/2009/04/03/this-is-not-a-riot-an-effective-nonviolent-response-to-attacks-by-riot-police/
posted by Postroad at 2:16 PM on April 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


Yes, there probably is more to it than "newspaper seller trying to get home"...

How about "newspaper seller tries to get home, sees police acting like an occupying army in his own city, gets hollered at by said policemen, follows their instructions but likely isn't too happy about it, and doesn't move quite fast enough to satisfy one constable in particular." Does that work for you?

Well you can't trust the specials like the old time coppers when you can't find your way home.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:18 PM on April 7, 2009 [10 favorites]


mullingitover: Wow, you British people have weirdly-dressed gangs. Where are your police? They should be protecting you from these thugs.

No, no, you've got it all wrong -

Those weirdly-dressed thugs are the police.

Common mistake, though.
posted by koeselitz at 2:18 PM on April 7, 2009


"I wonder why that cop pushed Mr. Tomlinson."

Because when you're dressed up in full riot gear, with a visor obscuring your face, and a pack of your fellow cops behind you, you feel like an invulnerable warrior who "don't have to take no shit from anybody" and you're able to "show 'em who's boss".

Happens in any occupation of "hostile territory": whether in Warsaw in 1942, or Gaza or Iraq today. The problem is that increasingly, cops are allowed to treat their beats as "hostile territory", territory where anyone not a cop is a hostile, an "animal", a "nigger shit", a terrorist.

The cycle feeds on itself: as normal people as seen increasingly as threats, the police become less polite, less respectful, more wary and better armed, increasingly intimidating in the hopes that such "shock and awe" will keep the "hostile" citizenry cowed. People see this and become more fearful of police, seeing police (too often rightly) as more dangerous than helpful, and do become more hostile.

As demonstrations and even public gatherings are more and more treated by the police as acts of rebellion, to be met in armor and with attitude, to be infiltrated and busted, inevitably anyone even on the streets is assumed by cops to be a criminal a free game. Happened in a DC demonstration a few years ago, when tourists and visitors not in he demonstration were without warning corralled in a park and arrested en masse. Happened at the RNC Convention in New York in 2004, and to lesser extent at both major party conventions in 2008.

The conservatives are right about one thing: society is in decay. The police are increasingly seen as, and acting as, an occupying force. The War on Drugs and post-9/11 hysteria has pushed that even farther. The only solution is for citizens to get fed up, and to push back.
posted by orthogonality at 2:19 PM on April 7, 2009 [52 favorites]


One time I was watching a sports championship related riot. Not the brightest thing I assure you, but I was standing on the street watching as a bunch of people danced in a drum circle. All of a sudden a policeman bowled me for no freaking reason just like that. I landed on the ground and was confused at why the hell it happened. The policeman said "get the fuck out of here!" which while, uncalled for was understandable. It was a big riot and the police finally decided to start clearing people out. The funny part was then the police officer started laughing, high-fived a fellow officer and ran into the drum circle knocking people down and grabbed their drum and yelled "My drum!" Complete absurd. He was like another rioter.

A few minutes later another I was in the process of walking home when I noticed my friend walking back toward the riot and laughing. Now, granted, this friend had been actually causing trouble for the last hour so he wasn't innocent or anything (jumping on cars, not destroying shops and stuff though) and the same police officer who tackled me came up to him at that moment and said, "WHY DON'T YOU GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE YOU TERRORIST FUCK!" Now 1) this was a few months after 9/11 and 2) my Indian/hindu is very much indian looking and not arab looking so that's interesting. Also, he doesn't take kindly to racist stuff and I just knew he might not mind being an example of police racial brutality. So he just stared back at the officer, seething with resentment. The officer got in his face and said "I WILL THROW YOU IN JAIL AND YOU KNOW WHAT THEY DO WITH TERRORISTS IN JAIL RIGHT YOU ARAB FUCK!" At this point I simply grabbed my friend and pulled him away from the officer. I said "Sorry" and the officer walked the hell out of there. At which point it took three of us to drag my activist minded friend all the way back to the dorms.

Now I'm not sure what this is saying, but there is a lot of stuff that happens during a riot which can go one way or another. From various crowd control issues, to the power trips of cops who can finally bust people up without much worry, to genuine ass-hatery on the crowd, to people who simply tow the line of danger, to people who are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is really dangerous and often for no real reason. Logic didn't make sense. So whatever your reason is for being there, the ideological, emotional, and theoretical issues at play all become swirled together into a melting pot just like the riot itself.

For some stupid reason, I actually went back to watch a few more sports riots after that and they were reasonably more tamed and organized. It took a girl being killed by a rubber bullet for the riot crowds to start dying down and for the police to approach it from a more cautious standpoint. I stopped all together after that. Even if I needed to be somewhere.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 2:19 PM on April 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


Truly unfortunate that Mr. Tomlinson died, but I think there is more to the story than a "newspaper seller trying to get home".
He wasn't arrested. What possible justification could there be for use of force (any force) on someone who isn't resisting arrest?
posted by anti social order at 2:19 PM on April 7, 2009


From my personal reading of his body language, it looks defiance and passive resistance. It does not look like a man simply trying to get home.

OH GOD HE'S PASSIVELY RESISTING US BY WALKING AWAY SLOWLY

QUICK SMASH HIS SKULL WITH SOMETHING
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:20 PM on April 7, 2009 [32 favorites]


Civil_Disobedient: "Appears from the video that he wasn't walking fast enough for the riot squad."

Probably walking too slow deliberately. Flouting their authority!

Well, that billy club to the back of the knee taught him some respect, didn't it. For a while, at least.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:21 PM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


From my personal reading of his body language, it looks defiance and passive resistance. It does not look like a man simply trying to get home.

Or maybe someone, you know, having trouble walking because they are having a heart attack. That's the problem with declaring "inappropriate body language" a crime or an excuse for the police to use force. You don't actually know what the person's motivations actually are and it's easy to misjudge body language.

On the other hand, I suppose the adrenaline from being shoved might make a heart attack more likely, but is it really appropriate to blame the guy's death on the police? It's not like they tasered him.
posted by delmoi at 2:22 PM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


No, no, you've got it all wrong -

Those weirdly-dressed thugs are the police.

Common mistake, though.


Anybody have any other snark they need explained?
posted by kingbenny at 2:23 PM on April 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


YES WE CAN
posted by Elmore at 2:25 PM on April 7, 2009


Serving you to the ground and protecting you from running away.
posted by chillmost at 2:26 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Your morning hate, brought to you by MetaFilter
posted by KokuRyu at 2:29 PM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Love the way how those honourable police officers stand around without helping him up, yet those dastardly barbaric thuggish protesters rush over to get him onto his feet.
posted by tapeguy at 2:32 PM on April 7, 2009 [9 favorites]


A.C.A.B.
posted by punilux at 2:32 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I assume there had been previous requests/orders to clear the area, as most of the other protesters are nowhere near the police, other than Mr. Tomlinson.

When you assume...I forget how the rest of that goes. This is, unfortunately, by no means an isolated incident in British life; protesters (I have been among them) quickly learn to stay the fuck away from the police wherever possible, otherwise things like this happen. (As it seems, they happen anyway.) From the Guardian's coverage:
The witnesses [...] all said the incident took place moments after violent clashes between police and protesters. They said the encounter happened after police emerged with dogs in an apparent attempt to move protesters and bystanders out of the way and towards Cornhill.
Forgive me, but if you've seen police clashing with protesters like yourself already, and then more come at you with dogs, I know I would be doing my damnedest not to be anywhere near them. Simple absence of protesters from an area does not indicate the police had made any such request.

Absolutely regardless of this, however: neither such a request nor Mr Tomlinson's 'body language' would excuse this assault, which cost him his life. 'I don't like your slouch' is not an acceptable excuse to assault someone. 'I don't want you walking here' is not an acceptable excuse to assault someone. If a civilian had done this, they would be in jail by now.
posted by aihal at 2:33 PM on April 7, 2009 [9 favorites]


One time I was watching a sports championship related riot. Not the brightest thing I assure you, but I was standing on the street watching as a bunch of people danced in a drum circle.

Wait..was it a riot, or was it people dancing in a drum circle? Cause those are pretty different things.
posted by inigo2 at 2:35 PM on April 7, 2009


KokuRyu, I don't hate 'the police'. I do despise the individual police officer who pushed an unarmed, unthreatening man to the floor from behind though, probably contributing to his death, and I also despise all of his colleagues who stood there and said nothing, and reported nothing afterwards.

Still, I haven't yet seen any statements from the police that Mr Tomlinson was wearing an unseasonably bulky jacket, vaulted the barriers, and ran when challenged so I suppose by one measure the Met's improving.
posted by reynir at 2:36 PM on April 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


"On the other hand, I suppose the adrenaline from being shoved might make a heart attack more likely, but is it really appropriate to blame the guy's death on the police? It's not like they tasered him."

According to a witness, he'd already been pushed to the ground and clubbed a couple of times before the video was shot. I'd guess that was the proximate cause of his heart attack.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:38 PM on April 7, 2009


When it was first reported that a man had died on the day of the G20 protests, it struck me as a little odd that the way the media was covering it was that this was an unfortunately placed natural death at an unfortunate time. The next day they reported that two locations where evil smelly hippy crusties were planning the demise of the civilised world raided by the good old police.

That's fine, that's the way the mass media works. No big deal.

What I wonder now, is why this video took so long to be released? It could have been online a few hours after the death of Tomlinson was known. Was some crusty hippy anarchist holding out for a better deal, or was there an effort to cut out major riots on the day of G20? It just seems weird that this took so long to be released.
posted by Elmore at 2:41 PM on April 7, 2009


I don't really understand the (admittedly few) folks on this thread who seem to be trying to justify the actions of the police in this video.

clearly police departments are going to attract some bad apples that want to abuse power. the only way to deal with this would seem to be having effective disciplinary measures in place. since there seems to be great pressure from within to not discipline bad apples, it really seems like video evidence, media attention and public outcry are our main recourse in trying to have a police force that protects and serves. who else polices the police?
posted by snofoam at 2:46 PM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm glad the internet exposes me to viewpoints like "talking about police clubbing an old guy to death is worse than clubbing an old guy to death." Thanks, KokuRyu.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:47 PM on April 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'd like to attempt to preemptively dispose of some of the arguments that will be presented by the (thankfully small) Metafilter Authoritarian Marching Team, 1st Brigade:
"That policeman couldn't have known that a push could have led to a heart attack!" Alternatively: "Correlation is not causation! There's no proof that the push caused the heart attack!"

Which is why we, as adults, try to act responsibly. You don't push someone to the ground unless they constitute a major threat to safety. Not only because throwing someone to the ground unprovoked makes you a major asshole, but also because adults try to avoid harm and unintended consequences. (This was argued with what appeared to be a straight face in response to the last infamous cop-push-caught-on-video during a Critical Mass rally: "What's the big deal? It's not like the push could have killed the cyclist.")

"He shouldn't have been there! Only a fool walks through a riot!" aka blame the victim.

It was a public thoroughfare. Things were crowded and rowdy, but not a riot. (The only window smashed was a Bank of Scotland, not the Bank of England, where the video was shot.) There is little debris on the ground. Witnesses have also claimed that this was not the first time that Tomlinson had been attacked by police that evening. It seems entirely likely that he was caught in a sweep that was herding people down the Royal Exchange Passage, and that he was blocked by police from going down his original route of Cornhill street, away from the financial center and the riot. He wasn't moving fast enough for their liking, so they attacked him. That is the behavior of a schoolyard bully, not a law enforcement officer.

He should have moved faster!

One thing you don't do is run away from bullies - it sends to send their predation instincts up really high, leads to more violence, and, in a crowded environment, more panic. (In addition, these bullies had dogs, which are faster than you could run anyway). You do exactly what Tomlinson did: you disengage from the threat as calmly as you can and walk away.

This is the end of your authoritarian PSA. Thank you for your attention.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 2:49 PM on April 7, 2009 [43 favorites]


Oh, you're welcome Optimus, although I'll ask you not to put words in my mouth. But a thread full of reflex "fuck the police" comments is not a fitting tribute to that man's death, and is not an intelligent solution to the problem.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:49 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Confirmation bias.




Oh no, hang on - absolutely fucking scandalous police conduct. Sorry, I got confused.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 2:51 PM on April 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Elmore: it probably took that long for the bloke who took the video to realise that some of his footage included the assault on Mr. Tomlinson. He got up and walked off after the initial assault, so the bloke in question might have been completely unaware that a couple of minutes later he collapsed and died.
posted by pharm at 2:53 PM on April 7, 2009


The man who shot the footage, a fund manager from New York who was in London on business, said: "The primary reason for me coming forward is that it was clear the family were not getting any answers."
posted by doobiedoo at 2:55 PM on April 7, 2009


Also, the IPCC claim to have CCTV footage of the entire incident. Of course, we plebs don't get to see that.
posted by pharm at 2:56 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


KokuRyu, there were plenty of interesting, thoughtful comments before yours. And plenty of shorter ones that, with considerable justification, denounced the actions of the police in the video. Your comment, on the other hand, was just some uncreative, template-style snark in a knee jerk reaction to other people's comments.
posted by snofoam at 2:58 PM on April 7, 2009


Meanwhile, in Daily Mail bizarro world:

OUR POLICE DO A FANTASTIC JOB, BUT THERE ARE BAD APPLES IN THERE AND I HOPE THEY ROOT OUT THIS ONE

freya, france, 7/4/2009 18:59 Rating -197

posted by tapeguy at 2:59 PM on April 7, 2009


"On the other hand, I suppose the adrenaline from being shoved might make a heart attack more likely, but is it really appropriate to blame the guy's death on the police? It's not like they tasered him."

That bastard and his eggshell skull. Ruining things for bullies.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 2:59 PM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


The older I get, and the more I see, the less crazy David Icke seems.
posted by tyllwin at 3:01 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, you're welcome Optimus, although I'll ask you not to put words in my mouth. But a thread full of reflex "fuck the police" comments is not a fitting tribute to that man's death, and is not an intelligent solution to the problem.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:49 PM on April 7


Well, clearly you don't have a problem with the man's death, as you thought it more important to castigate us for "our morning hate." Also note that no comments in this thread before yours said "fuck the police." Based on these facts, I can only conclude that your comment was a shitty, misinformed drive-by troll coming from yet another authoritarian bootlick with a hard-on for needless violence.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:05 PM on April 7, 2009 [19 favorites]


I LOVE COPS
posted by TrialByMedia at 3:09 PM on April 7, 2009


Guess I better get along with the groupthink...

Cops are bad!!1!!, amirite?!!?
posted by Argyle at 3:10 PM on April 7, 2009


Who let the dogs out?
posted by nitsuj at 3:12 PM on April 7, 2009


IPCC investigators are continuing to look at CCTV of the incident...

Or, as in the tragic case of Jean Charles de Menezes, will that CCTV footage also "disappear?"
posted by ericb at 3:14 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


people who simply tow the line of danger

Did danger's outboard motor up and die again?

Just kidding around, sorry, I couldn't resist.
posted by jester69 at 3:15 PM on April 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


I thought there might have been some possible defense for the police action in this case, until I saw KokoRyu attempt to do so. Then I realized just how totally unjustified it was. It's just ironic that this riot cop "having a little harmless fun with some old fart" ended up with the same result as the BART cop who shot the unarmed man point blank. But it's the risk you take when you're doing the job of the police... badly.
posted by wendell at 3:16 PM on April 7, 2009


Guess I better get along with the groupthink...

If everyone else on mefi thought it was bad to eat babies would you say it's good just to be a contrarian? You are a rebel. No group blog can contain your indomitable spirit.
posted by snofoam at 3:16 PM on April 7, 2009 [14 favorites]


Cops are bad!!1!!, amirite?!!?

Argyle - no. But these ones are.

See how it works? Look, here's another example. Protesters who play dressy-up and wave comically stupid placards: not bad. Protesters who hit police officers on the head with metal poles: bad.

Not fuck the police. Fuck these police.
posted by reynir at 3:17 PM on April 7, 2009 [32 favorites]


I am truly saddened after watching that video. It's hard to envision a more harmless looking individual. Pure thuggery on the part of that policeman, and wearing a little terrorist mask no less. He deserves to be spat on, fired, and sent to do community service for a few years.

As for Tomlinson, he looks a bit dazed before the incident and also after, perhaps he was already experiencing a heart attack when they pushed him. He walks off at the end of the video in a similar daze to when they encountered him in the first place.

Poor guy, he deserved better.
posted by ryanfou at 3:17 PM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


One witness, Anna Branthwaite, a photographer, described how, in the minutes before the video was shot, she saw Tomlinson walking towards Cornhill Street.

"A riot police officer had already grabbed him and was pushing him," she said.

"It wasn't just pushing him – he'd rushed him. He went to the floor and he did actually roll. That was quite noticeable.

"It was the force of the impact. He bounced on the floor. It was a very forceful knocking down from behind. The officer hit him twice with a baton when he was lying on the floor.

"So it wasn't just that the officer had pushed him – it became an assault.

"And then the officer picked him up from the back, continued to walk or charge with him, and threw him.

"He was running and stumbling. He didn't turn and confront the officer or anything like that."

posted by Artw at 3:17 PM on April 7, 2009 [9 favorites]


(Bolded because it seems it needs it)
posted by Artw at 3:18 PM on April 7, 2009


Oh, you're welcome Optimus, although I'll ask you not to put words in my mouth. But a thread full of reflex "fuck the police" comments is not a fitting tribute to that man's death, and is not an intelligent solution to the problem.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:49 PM on April 7 [+] [!]

Absolutely no one said anything anywhere close to "fuck the police." You are imagining things or maybe just trying to provoke people. Really, why waste your time and ours misrepresenting what all can see?
posted by etaoin at 3:25 PM on April 7, 2009


Not so much Fuck The Police so much as Hold Members Of The Police Engaged In Unacceptable Behaviour To Account And Don't Take Any Rubbish Excuses.
posted by Artw at 3:27 PM on April 7, 2009 [23 favorites]


On the other hand, I suppose the adrenaline from being shoved might make a heart attack more likely, but is it really appropriate to blame the guy's death on the police?

Unquestionably. Use of force is not only a privilege but a responsibility, most particularly when someone is trained in it. This was obvious and deliberate misuse.
In fact, it's so obvious I'm having trouble defending it. It's like someone questioning whether gravity exists. I don't know where to start to address something so elementary. Uh, apples fall down?
He was moving slowly. He had his hands in his pockets - I would speculate because of the dogs, but why isn't relevant because he was shoved from behind, deliberately hard enough to drop him, while he had his hands in his pockets. That alone could have broken his neck. I see no reasonable defense for that shove. The officer could have grabbed the man's shoulder and moved him along faster (given it as a necessity, which is arguable - and I'm not addressing either way) and controlled him far more effectively - most especially given the amount of backup he had.
Additionally you see his knee bend and his foot angle out from his body before he falls. So it was done with deliberation, it was not just a shove. Again - heart attack aside, the fall could have broken the man's neck.
There's no excuse for that at all. Most especially with that kind of back up. Done out of fear or desperation perhaps there may be some concession. This? Not a chance.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:33 PM on April 7, 2009 [6 favorites]


Plus the savage beating immediately before that.
posted by Artw at 3:36 PM on April 7, 2009


Way back up there somewhere someone said I agree that the police officer should not have pushed him from behind. But the simple push to the ground cannot be considered an assault with the intent of death by heart attack.

Yeah, it's called manslaughter. Like in the tags. The guy was only 47, a hard push shouldn't have caused a heart attack so perhaps they will claim ye olde thin skull principal so it's hardly their fault some old guy with a heart issue was in the middle of a massive protest. Still a Judge should get to decide this sort of thing, not the IPCC, not some newspapers or blogs.
posted by public at 3:38 PM on April 7, 2009


[begin hyperbole] We are clearly not killing enough cops who get out of line. [end hyperbole]

Seriously tho fuck the bad apples and anyone who covers for them. Your authority is derived from the people, the people you are supposed to be protecting. As soon as you start using the power to hurt/suppress civil rights of the public you are sworn to protect you are no longer entitled to that power. You are not an enforcer of the law, you are a traitor. You have violated a trust with society. You are now a criminal, one of the worst kind of criminals and should be treated as such.

We don't need zero tolerance in schools, we need it in our police and other civil service sectors where power is entrusted over the people.

I guess the short version is.. fuck the police?
posted by MrBobaFett at 3:45 PM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm looking forward to something, it's still a few years off, but I think it's coming; when a cop's report isn't automatically assumed to be true, and any death or serious injury which occurs while the police are nearby is fully investigated by an internal affairs type unit.

There is going to come a point where enough of these videos have gotten into the public consciousness, that a tipping point will be reached and in order to prevent a complete social breakdown the leadership over the law enforcement community will realize that teams who are not acting in the best interest of the state are not worth protecting.

But I think that in order to get there, we need to keep filming everything and making it public. It's the disparity between what they report and what the video shows that will make this happen.
posted by quin at 3:45 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


"From my personal reading of his body language, it looks defiance and passive resistance. It does not look like a man simply trying to get home."

And you don't need to read any book, once you've seen its cover?
posted by orthogonality at 3:46 PM on April 7, 2009


any death or serious injury which occurs while the police are nearby is fully investigated by an internal affairs type unit
That's what the IPCC is supposed to be. Still needs some work, though.
posted by Paragon at 3:50 PM on April 7, 2009


posted by MrBobaFett I guess the short version is.. fuck the police?

No. Fuck those police.
posted by mattdidthat at 3:51 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


the only way to deal with this would seem to be having effective disciplinary measures in place

They already have it: it's called the rule of law. Why are Kings and Queens and presidents and prime ministers supposedly subject to its rule but police officers somehow always seem to get a free pass?

Before the summit there was talk about how this event would have some of the most intense surveillance ever seen. Yet for some strange reason it's a tourist from New York that gets the shocking video? The police are probably sitting on some nice High-Def video of the whole event, but you think that shit will ever see the light of day? Dream on.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:52 PM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Only real run-in I've ever had with the cops is when I was plastered one evening, got a taxi home, taxi took me to the wrong address, but I was too drunk to notice. I kept trying my key in the front door and it didn't work, so I went around to the back and there was a pool there. "When the shit did we get a pool?" I wondered as I tried my other key in the other door, and then, desperate, began hammering on the door and window. "Let me in! It's me! It's just me! Please let me in, my key doesn't work!" This went on for a while. Eventually I went out the front and sat down and had a smoke, then went back and started hammering on that door again. After about twenty minutes of this, something clicked. No way would we have had a pool installed in the six hours since I was away. And as that realisation dawned on me, the blue-and-reds started flashing out the front. I had terrorised some poor family for about half an hour in the middle of the night.

I went out the front with my hands out to my side. "Oh shit, oh shit, I'm so sorry, I'm sorry, I just realised it was the wrong house, oh my god those poor people, I'm so sorry." The cops were a male and a female so I emptied my pockets on the bonnet of the car and the rested my hands there to stop from collapsing and they did a quick patdown, all the while with me muttering "I'm sorry, oh Jesus, oh my god." Turns out the taxi driver had misinterpreted my slurred instructions and taken me to an address that only sounded the same. So the cops said they understood, I told them to please apologise on my behalf, so one of them went over and knocked on the front door and identified himself. Eventually the door opened and this fucking enormous Maori was standing there. The sort of guy you look at and, even though you're a pretty big guy yourself, you know he could literally just break you in half like a stale baguette and not even remember it three second later. I about shat myself but the male copper came back and said everything was under control so they said they'd drive me home and the lady officer led me to the back door, opened it, and here's where my real encounter with the Queensland police force began. Remember, I'm very drunk:

Her: Okay, hop in.

Me *swaying into the car*: Whaaarrgarbl.

Her: Watch your head.

Me *bashing my head violently against the doorframe*: Fuck!

Her: Ouch.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:55 PM on April 7, 2009 [19 favorites]


Was that Georgie or Dim working the nightstick?
posted by Sys Rq at 3:55 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fuck the Police.
posted by The_Auditor at 3:55 PM on April 7, 2009


Still a Judge should get to decide this sort of thing, not the IPCC

No, a jury should get to decide this sort of thing. Bet ya' a fiver the judge refuses to allow an unlawful killing verdict.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:56 PM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Maybe we're going about this the wrong way. Maybe we need to petition the officers' wives and girlfriends to reprimand their poor behavior. Withhold sex from officers who don't properly respect the position that society has put them in.

That's right, don't fuck the(se) police.
posted by explosion at 3:57 PM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


murder
posted by bottlebrushtree at 3:57 PM on April 7, 2009


mattdidthat: "posted by MrBobaFett I guess the short version is.. fuck the police?

No. Fuck those police.
"


That's it! I knew it was something like that.
posted by MrBobaFett at 3:57 PM on April 7, 2009


It's obvious that currently the primary focus of the Police it to intimidate, gather information and to deter British Citizens from participating in any form of protest.

Such political policing is disgusting.

Just to reiterate the following link:
http://young.anabaptistradicals.org/2009/04/03/this-is-not-a-riot-an-effective-nonviolent-response-to-attacks-by-riot-police/
posted by errspy at 3:57 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Just going with what I see on the tape Artw. Although given the witness testimony backed up with cameras and time stamps all that, yeah.
Part of the problem is, as orthogonality said, the dehumanizing elements within the deployment.
The police are there to protect citizenry. This is why folks pay them. If there is a riot, and I'm walking home, I don't want to get hurt. So I pay taxes so the police will come and keep order so I'm not harmed. Pretty much defeats the whole purpose if the police kill me. Even in accident. And this was no accident (as said above - it's a crime to do it even if someone doesn't die). This man could have died of a broken neck as a result of police action.
I do think officers should have plenty of backup. But the method of deployment really dictates how they're going to act.
I'm curious what they were told - "hey, break people in half if you must, but don't let any windows get broken?"
What possible priority could be above protecting human life?
And that's exactly what this is - a complete breakdown in priorities.
But just looking at the situation from the film alone - one middle aged (and soft looking) guy with his hands in his pockets? Not even a concern in terms of safety. Doesn't matter at all his intentions when you have that level of force behind you. Guy could have intended to take on all the cops and go flip over a car. Never going to happen. He'd have a dog on either arm and three riot cops pinning him before he could sneeze.
He was completely in their power. Therefore his physical safety was their responsibility. Just like the idiots who shot a handcuffed man laying on the ground, they not only failed, they deliberately and maliciously abused the privilege.
I would speculate that perhaps their deployment had to do with something other than keeping the peace and protecting citizenry.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:02 PM on April 7, 2009 [12 favorites]


Based on these facts, I can only conclude that your comment was a shitty, misinformed drive-by troll coming from yet another authoritarian bootlick with a hard-on for needless violence.

Words are violent, too, Optimus.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:03 PM on April 7, 2009


.
posted by Flunkie at 4:06 PM on April 7, 2009


In America you get shot for running from the police. In Britain you get beaten up for not running fast enough.
posted by public at 4:06 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


In Britain they only shoot you for riding the subway.
posted by Artw at 4:08 PM on April 7, 2009




Without wishing to be a massive pedant, can I point out that it's battery when there's physical contact - assault actually doesn't require any contact at all. Also, the eggshell skull principle would benefit the prosecutor/plaintiff in this sort of case, rather than the police - they have to take the victim as they find him.

I'm getting more disenfranchised by those in positions of responsibility, who don't seem to be under nearly as much scrutiny as the general public. I would like that balance redressed, pleased.

I think that there should be a standard criminal trial, and then an enquiry into the tactics used by the police in protest situations.
posted by djgh at 4:12 PM on April 7, 2009


posted by public In America you get shot for running from the police.

Not any more! Now you get shot while lying face down on the ground with your hands behind your back, and you'll be contributing to your own death.
posted by mattdidthat at 4:15 PM on April 7, 2009


The police—as a system for law enforcement—are not, and have never been there, to protect Joe Average. Get that through your heads.

Individual cops may view themselves that way. There are even entire municipalities that attempt to "serve and protect" but most justice systems do not jibe with that ideal. You are on your own.
posted by tkchrist at 4:20 PM on April 7, 2009


My god, the initial police report is simply, utterly despicable:

In an official statement on the night of Tomlinson's death, the Metropolitan police made no reference to any contact with officers and simply described attempts by police medics and an ambulance crew to save his life after he collapsed – efforts they said were marred by protesters throwing missiles as first aid was administered .

The force said officers had created a cordon around Tomlinson to give him CPR.

"The officers took the decision to move him as during this time a number of missiles - believed to be bottles - were being thrown at them," it said.


Fuck you, you lying sack of shit.
posted by mediareport at 4:24 PM on April 7, 2009 [16 favorites]


FWIW I had a cousin fired from a small town, and I mean SMALL, police unit because he wasn't treating the "perps" aggressively enough.

The chief wanted him to treat every lousy traffic stop or domestic complaint as a life threatening incident.

So this attitude is coming from the top down.
posted by Max Power at 4:25 PM on April 7, 2009


Those police are the police
posted by criticalbill at 4:28 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not so much Fuck The Police so much as Hold Members Of The Police Engaged In Unacceptable Behaviour To Account And Don't Take Any Rubbish Excuses.

Too wordy. "Chide the police," maybe?
posted by kirkaracha at 4:30 PM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


how many bad apples should i choke down before i decide that the tree they fell from is a miserable, fugus-riddled diseased piece of shit?
posted by klanawa at 4:30 PM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'd fuck the police but I don't really want to reward what these guys do with orgasms.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:36 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I disapprove of murder.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:37 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


But I think that in order to get there, we need to keep filming everything and making it public. It's the disparity between what they report and what the video shows that will make this happen.

Which is why doing this will quickly be made illegal.
posted by odinsdream at 4:43 PM on April 7, 2009


Police the police.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:44 PM on April 7, 2009 [10 favorites]


If you look at the "this is not a riot" video posted above the levels of force used are ,I would think, higher than that used against Mr Tomlinson. So you can see where they got the idea that this kind of police behavior is acceptable - their boss said it was.

They seem to manage to police Notting Hill Carnival without beating the shit out of too many innocent people. I'm pretty right wing on crime, and have never been in trouble with the law, but the kind of policing on show here makes me think fuck the police.

RIP
posted by fistynuts at 4:46 PM on April 7, 2009


We have met the enemy and he fugus.
posted by hal9k at 4:47 PM on April 7, 2009


I'd fuck the police but I don't really want to reward what these guys do with orgasms.

I'd imagine they're already jizzing their pants as they distribute this kind of brutality.
posted by mannequito at 4:48 PM on April 7, 2009


but why isn't relevant because he was shoved from behind, deliberately hard enough to drop him, while he had his hands in his pockets. That alone could have broken his neck.

Typical extremely illuminating remark from you, Smedleyman.

I wish I could send it blazing like a comet to the attention of the investigators assigned to this case.

This is why he was shoved.

He wasn't shoved out of the blue, he was shoved because he had his hands in his pockets and the cop knew he couldn't get them out in time to break his fall. It was a deliberate attempt to cause maximum pain and injury with minimum probability of getting caught.

In the states, a good prosecutor would try to use the hands in the pockets combined with a shove to establish the necessary intent to sustain a high-level charge-- if the perpetrator didn't happen to be a cop.
posted by jamjam at 4:59 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


how many bad apples should i choke down before i decide that the tree they fell from is a miserable, fugus-riddled diseased piece of shit?
Oooh. RelationshipFilter!
AskMe is over there, see that green glow?
posted by Floydd at 5:00 PM on April 7, 2009


Interesting. Those jackoffs over at Redstate.com were masturbating furiously over this and accusing the protesters of murder. I wonder how they'll react to this?
posted by zzazazz at 5:04 PM on April 7, 2009


Unfortunately, it's impossible to determine exactly which officer was responsible, but it has been narrowed down to one of these two constables.
posted by markkraft at 5:10 PM on April 7, 2009


Shit happens in violent protests, sometimes police get killed by accident too, it was a tragic case of wrong place wrong time. Both sides will use his death in a propaganda war. Even in death he continues to be an innocent bystander pulled and pushed in two directions by forces he had no interest in being a part of.
posted by stbalbach at 5:22 PM on April 7, 2009


.
posted by jeremy b at 5:29 PM on April 7, 2009


When I was looking through pictures of the G20 protest on The Big Picture a few days ago, I saw this heartbreaking picture of Ian Tomlinson, dying on the street, an oral airway in his mouth and a black-clothed thug 'officer of the law' hovered over him. I though to myself, "How awful to die, essentially alone and isolated from friends and family, on the street, surrounded by violence."

Heart attacks hurt. I've watched people die from them and they know that they're dying. Seeing this video, and connecting it with this picture made the entire episode painful for me to see and read about. To think that a state could capriciously take the life of one of its citizens with little demonstration of remorse demonstrates just how little difference there can be, at times, between the democracies that some of us live in, and the repressive regimes that the elected leaders in those democracies decry.
posted by scblackman at 5:42 PM on April 7, 2009 [8 favorites]


stbalbach:

Even in death he continues to be an innocent bystander pulled and pushed in two directions by forces he had no interest in being a part of.

Right, an innocent bystander pulled and pushed by the forces of the right to public assembly for the purpose of airing greivances, and the right of cops to fuck shit up because their superiors and media hysteria have given them license to do so.

This man was killed by police. Whether or not the police were acting legitimately in response to a civil disturbance (and there is a good deal of evidence that they were not), he should not have been killed. He was not doing anything wrong, and a police officer, whose job it is to protect the public, attacked him and killed him. He may have also been attacked by several other police officers. And he died.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:46 PM on April 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


Why don't you tell everybody what the fuck you gotta say?

Not so much Fuck The Police so much as Hold Members Of The Police Engaged In Unacceptable Behaviour To Account And Don't Take Any Rubbish Excuses
Comin straight from the underground
Young nigga got it bad cuz I'm brown
posted by vibrotronica at 5:50 PM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


And in case I'm not clear about this- how many cops died at Chicago in 1968? How many at Seattle in 1999? How many at Genoa in 2001? How many at New York in 2004? How many at Denver or Minneapolis las year?

Or is this still about Haymarket? No, no...I get it... it has only been one hundred and twenty-three years.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:03 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Shit happens in violent protests, sometimes police get killed by accident too

That's a great observation, stbalbach! How many police have been killed by rioters in the last ten years in the U.S. and the U.K? Post it! Post it!
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:06 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oops, sorry - rioters or protesters? It has to be a few hundred, right? At least a dozen, I'm sure. Don't leave us hanging!
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:08 PM on April 7, 2009


Don't forget the bystanders, Optimus. They kill cops all the damn time!
posted by Sys Rq at 6:32 PM on April 7, 2009


"Shit happens in violent protests, sometimes police get killed by accident too, it was a tragic case of wrong place wrong time."

When a police officer is killed in such a situation, at least in the US, there is a concerted effort to prosecute anyone who might be responsible. When the officer kills someone else, not so much. Sometimes there is a concerted effort to make sure there is no prosecution or culpability. At least when the perpetrator is a police officer.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:33 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


.

Jesus fucking Christ.
posted by limeonaire at 6:37 PM on April 7, 2009


The force said officers had created a cordon around Tomlinson to give him CPR.

"The officers took the decision to move him as during this time a number of missiles - believed to be bottles - were being thrown at them," it said.


Wow, it's like the police are trying to join in the anniversary celebrations for Huddersfield with a little dose of, "cock up, kill 'em, cover it up!"

Seriously, it's right up there with "Fans urinated on police".

As others have noticed, isn't it funny how, despite blanket CCTV coverage in most UK cities, it takes some bloke from New York with a camera phone to produce any footage.
posted by rodgerd at 7:09 PM on April 7, 2009


Max Power: The chief wanted him to treat every lousy traffic stop or domestic complaint as a life threatening incident.
That is because any lousy traffic stop or domestic complaint can be life threatening.

Mediareport: "In an official statement on the night of Tomlinson's death, the Metropolitan police made no reference to any contact with officers..." Fuck you, you lying sack of shit.
Perhaps when they issued the statement on the same night he died, they didn't realize at that time it was the same guy.

djgh: I think that there should be a standard criminal trial, and then an enquiry into the tactics used by the police in protest situations.
It would have to be better than "standard" trials though. They are police officers and should be held to a higher level of responsibility than a standard trial. Does the high intensity nature of policework have bearing on these cases? Yes, but it certainly doesn't remove culpability.

Do some police abuse their power? Yes
Do we have any true idea how widespread this problem is? No
What can be done to fix it? Apparently "fuck the police" is the game plan.
posted by silkygreenbelly at 7:43 PM on April 7, 2009


Perhaps when they issued the statement on the same night he died, they didn't realize at that time it was the same guy.

Sorry. Seen too many of these "oops so sorry our initial report was a complete load of horseshit surely you'll accept that it's just a coincidence that our initial version is utterly contradicted by newly surfaced video footage" incidents to believe your "perhaps" up there. If I'm wrong and the police provide a plausible explanation for the absurd omission of not one but *two* shoves by police officers, I'll happily apologize.

Evidence of any kind to support the "protestors were throwing bottles at the dying man surrounded by healthcare and law enforcement workers" claim would be delightful as well.
posted by mediareport at 8:30 PM on April 7, 2009


I think it would be a bit much to say "murder!" but how about manslaughter? That's the least that someone who was a civilian would be charged with if they knocked over someone in similar circumstances who shortly thereafter they had a heart attack.

This wasn't done with intent to kill. It was, however, a despicable, dehumanizing, callous, thoughtless act that almost assuredly contributed to someone's death. There is no reason this "officer" shouldn't spend the next several years of his life in prison, and be forced to give, say... every last cent he has... to the family of his victim.
posted by markkraft at 8:38 PM on April 7, 2009


This is just profoundly sad to me. The guy is one year older than me. I can only imagine what was going through his head and the terror he must have been feeling after getting whacked a few times and trying to walk away. I know for me, being part of any tenuous situation where violence is a reality or possibility, my pulse quickens and my adrenaline is pumping. Fear rules me and I just want to get away.

I can only imaging this guy trying to get home to his family or get to a bar with some friends or maybe wondering "What the fuck did I just stumble into?" I can imagine his fear and/or anger once he realized what was going on. I can imagine his heart, no being used to such situations, pumping and pumping trying to keep him going and finally, at last, giving up on him.

This should never have happened and I just feel so badly for him.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:53 PM on April 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


stbalbach: "Shit happens in violent protests, sometimes police get killed by accident too"

Yes, but the Police in the very nature of their job have accepted that risk. Police always have the risk of dying, they have accepted that risk. It a risk they are willing to take. Because it is better for one of them to die protecting the public, that for a member of the public to come to harm or injustice.
If you don't believe that, you should not be a Police officer. Also when you take that oath and accept that risk, you do so solemnly and humbly. You do not get to go around mouthing off about how you put your ass on the line each day for us. You volunteered, and you are serving the public and doing right because it is right. Not to hold it over us, if that's what you want, you don't need to be a Police officer.

silkygreenbelly: "Max Power: The chief wanted him to treat every lousy traffic stop or domestic complaint as a life threatening incident.
That is because any lousy traffic stop or domestic complaint can be life threatening.


Yes but you don't get to bring that in with you. You have to come in assuming that these people are innocent excepting any violations you have seen, or have official record of. You can't go in treating innocent members of the public as if they are criminals. Because then you start behaving like a soldier and not like a Police officer. You life might be threatened, but again you have offered up that life in service to the public.
posted by MrBobaFett at 9:23 PM on April 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


Woah, Argyle. Tough crowd.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:36 PM on April 7, 2009


the terror he must have been feeling after getting whacked a few times and trying to walk away

Sorry. Tried soooo hard not to get involved in this thread. Too much intolerance of other peoples' views. Too much crazy.

Yes. I sense lots of terror. Notice how he meanders along full of attitude, with his hands in his pockets? He looks petrified.

Do we have any actual footage of this pre-pushing bashing that every 2nd person is talking about? Or did we all read about it on the internet so it must be true?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:50 PM on April 7, 2009


Because then you start behaving like a soldier and not like a Police officer.

I would argue that the police carry even more responsibility and power, in the common reality of most people, than soldiers. They are ever-present to protect the public and enforce the law - not locked away in the barracks until they're sent overseas to attack a foreign military enemy, in the case of soldiers. They are given powers to break the rules, in certain circumstances, that the rest of us are expected to live by - whether that means driving past a "No Entry" sign, or whether that means shooting someone. Their positions carry more responsibility, in their minute-to-minute duties, than other people I can think of - politicans, doctors, whatever.

There has to be absolute, total accountability for their actions.
posted by Jimbob at 9:51 PM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Do we have any actual footage of this pre-pushing bashing that every 2nd person is talking about?

Do we have any actual evidence that this guy was doing anything that was deserving of a masked police officer coming up behind him and cracking him in the legs with a baton before pushing him onto the ground, then ignoring him? I certainly saw not an ounce of resistance from him - and I wasn't aware "meandering with an attitude" was a valid trigger for the use of force.

I'll do some body language reading. This guy looks a bit dopey. Wondering what all the commotion on the street was about. It almost looks as if he was hanging around the police because he was wary of the protesters.
posted by Jimbob at 10:01 PM on April 7, 2009


uncanny hengeman: "Sorry. Tried soooo hard not to get involved in this thread."

You should always trust your instincts.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:08 PM on April 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


The fah, Jimbob? You quote where I'm asking about the unseen stuff, and you go on to describe the bits in the footage.

I'll leave you clowns to it.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:20 PM on April 7, 2009


"Do we have any actual footage of this pre-pushing bashing that every 2nd person is talking about? Or did we all read about it on the internet so it must be true?"

It's part of the Guardian story in the second link. There's no video available, but it's about as credible as any other eyewitness testimony one would ordinarily find in a newspaper article.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:23 PM on April 7, 2009


I mean, it's not just a third-hand rumour going around. The witness is named and on the record.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:25 PM on April 7, 2009


I remember hearing an extremely credible-sounding witness talk of the Menezes subway shooting.

How he vaulted the turnstyles, how the police gave him fair warning. Just sayin'.

In fact, I'd dearly love to know what happened to that twit. Tin foil hat wearer in me says he was a plant, a pretend witness.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:31 PM on April 7, 2009


I remember hearing Mayor Nagin talk of Hurricane Katrina rescuers constantly fighting alligators to get to the numerous bodies that were floating around. Ha!

Named. On record. Credible.

Must have happened, then.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:35 PM on April 7, 2009


Anna Branthwaite
posted by Artw at 10:37 PM on April 7, 2009


Another isolated incident.
posted by telstar at 10:41 PM on April 7, 2009


There's long-standing precedent with the deaths of Kevin Gately and Blair Peach
It's also the twentieth anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster this year, another incident where the police lied (documentation) after the fact to hide their part in 96 deaths.
posted by Abiezer at 10:57 PM on April 7, 2009


"What can be done to fix it? Apparently "fuck the police" is the game plan."

I believe "fuck the police" is the outcry. Don't much care for it myself, but I understand it. But apparently documenting the act and bearing witness and testifying to police malfeasance is the game plan. And according to some links above it's being opposed with proposed legislation.
So, looks like oppression is the game plan.
I've long defended police in general as a necessary institution, but one which requires serious oversight, and I don't think I'm saying anything different here.
Speculation aside as to motives (which, at least in the U.S. you don't have to prove) and what the meaning - on it's face or underlying - of the anti-terror laws which (as I understand from the above link) make it illegal to photograph the police or any other pattern one might discern by reason or presumption, there's no question this act was deliberately intended to harm the man.
And we have video of it.
I'm not really sure what else is necessary. Death not enough or...?

Y'know I saw some video on the Rodney King beating and what struck me was that they weren't using their jointed batons properly (well, properly they'd be grinding rice really). They weren't using them to maximum effect to strike King in order to seriously damage him. One cop was swinging wildly back and forth like a 5th grader. But for the most part they were hitting him improperly to do real damage. Put it another way - I'd have delivered blows using the momentum from spinning the handle in my hand in a wide arc. Probably break something. Or hold the shaft and handle and dislocate his knee, break an ankle, something.
The intent being - I'm in fear of my life and I don't want him to get up.
But that's not the kind of beating they delivered. Mostly it was pain and degradation and unfocused anger. The two handed strikes didn't really use the knob as a hammer, mostly hit side on which spreads out the shock of the blow. The flailing back and forth thing I don't know what the hell that was.
The point being - you can derive from the expression of the violence, the intent in it's usage.
Perhaps not consciously. Some people allow their adrenal glands and gonads to take over their thinking. Which, hopefully, one trains out of them.
But they had enough beef there that fear shouldn't have been a factor, they were using blows that weren't disabling and not using holds to incapacitate him - when they clearly had the luxury to do so.
You have to conclude then it looks like what it is. A group smackdown on a guy intending to cause him pain and damage and degrade him - whatever the motivation.

Same deal here. Not as egregious obviously. But clearly that's not relevant to the outcome.
Who else would be responsible for this man's death?
Now, I take tkchrist's point that the police aren't there to help you. It's one of the many reasons I'm pro-gun. In fact there have been court rulings that the police don't HAVE to help you (at least in the U.S.) But ostensibly it's what they're *supposed* to be doing.
But whether they are or not - they have the most power in that situation. The video clearly establishes they were in command at least of the local area around them.
So, yeah, it's their responsibility.
That or we cede this whole "freedom" idea. If it comes to that I'm not paying my taxes.
...well, the fire department I'll drop off a check. But otherwise, hell, if it's ok for them to do things that result in my death, I'm not going to, y'know, pay them to do that anymore.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:58 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'll leave you clowns to it.

That would be because you don't have anything to offer other than mindless, unsupported, evidence free trolling to offer, yes?
posted by rodgerd at 12:07 AM on April 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


That would be because you don't have anything to offer other than mindless, unsupported, evidence free trolling to offer, yes

"don't believe everything you read" = trolling? "I want more evidence" = trolling?

but it's about as credible as any other eyewitness testimony one would ordinarily find in a newspaper article.

I thought Kevin's post was a joke for a second. Eyewitness? Newspaper? Ha!

Here's a link to an respectable news service re: the tragic shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes. Read the eyewitness accounts. One of them even said he was WEARING A BOMB BELT!

So it must be true. He deserved to be shot.

Do you understand what I'm saying here? Whether the "pre-pushing beating" eventually turns out to be true is irrelevant. An initial eyewitness account of what supports some mefites' temper tanty magically becomes true and any mention of "hey, steady on," becomes trolling.

One thing I will admit. "I'll leave you clowns to it." Not very good at that bit, was I?!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 12:50 AM on April 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


trouble with that uncanny hengeman, is that the eyewitness accounts surfaced before the video, but after the police stated they had had no contact with Mr Tomlinson. The video confirmed the tenor of the eyewitness accounts, if not the entirety; ie. the police did assault him, moments before he had a fatal heart attack. Having had half an eyewitness account confirmed objectively, its not a huge leap to confirm the rest.

And deMenezes, he's a fascinating example to bring in. The police killed him and then put it about that he was wearing a big jacket, that he vaulted the gates, etc etc. Kind of like how the headline in The Times on the first day referred to police being attacked as they tried to help Mr Tomlinson. Not how they attacked him prior to him collapsing.

Are we expecting another inquiry along de Menezes lines, with the jury instructed not to bring an unlawful killing verdict? After all the evidence was heard, they weren't relied upon to bring in their own verdict? So the inquiry was a sham? Again?
posted by criticalbill at 1:11 AM on April 8, 2009


Before (or maybe in spite of) this thread descending into nonsense, I think the family's comment is probably as fair and even as any we're going to get

The dead man's son Paul, 26, said: "My understanding - I've spoken to Barry who works with him on the Evening Standard stall, is he left there about 7 o'clock. And through CCTV and pictures that I've been shown he got refused access on a number of barricades that police had set up. And the missing jigsaw puzzle was what happened to him when he got into Royal Exchange Passage. I think what we've just seen has answered a lot of questions."

After watching the footage with his widowed mother, Julia, he said: "Now, seeing the video I can say the police did have contact with Ian. Whether that was a cause to his death we are not to know. I am sure we will get to the bottom of it. I think what we've seen has answered a lot of questions. And justice will be justice now." He added: "More evidence is coming out every day and I'm sure this isn't going to be the last."

Mrs Tomlinson, 52, was too distraught to comment. "I'm just lost for words."

posted by criticalbill at 1:18 AM on April 8, 2009


Cheers, criticalbill,

Can I have it on record that I think police are a necessary evil, my missus is always chastising me for calling them "pigs" in polite company, they are mostly incompetent lying donut-eatin' thugs yada yada.

My gripe on this thread is more of a technical one.

I was one of the fools quoting that other story, that's why I remember it so well. "What are you clowns complaining about of course he deserved to be shot. He was running from police. They told him to stop. He had a bomb!"
posted by uncanny hengeman at 1:20 AM on April 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


This seems a classic example of how different assumptions can skew your interpretation of the same events.

A. Here is a legitimate public event expressing near-universal concerns in an oustandingly peaceful and wholly legitimate manner. The police arrive in riot gear, behave with unnecessary aggression, and finally set on an innocent man, not even involved in the protest. He has his hands in his pockets and his back turned towards them, showing that he is not being angry or aggressive; in fact he is walking away at a reasonable pace. The fact that his hands are in his pockets means it was extremely dangerous to push him, and it is therefore clear that the attack by the police was made recklessly and in the full knowledge that serious injury or even death might result - as in fact proved tragically to be the case. Have we reached the point where a citizen merely walking peaceably down the street can be set upon and beaten to death by thuggish police?

B. Here is a case where radical protestors are using their physical numbers to intimidate the legitimate workers of the City, denying them access to their places of work, disrupting their lives, and putting them in real fear of their own safety; many stay at home or try to dress like protesters for fear of being attacked. The police do not attempt to prevent the protest but take carefully planned action to channel it and keep public order. One person decides to confront them; as a small group of police are clearing a street, he obstructs them defiantly. He puts his hand in his pockets in a show of contempt and disregard for their repeated requests; he turns his back in the classic universal sign of contemptuous dismissal. He walks slowly in front of them to bar their passage. Finally after repeated warnings, one officer pushes him; he falls to the ground. They wait to see that he is OK before continuing. Much later that day, the same man dies from an unrelated heart attack. Have we reached the point where any mob can seize control of the streets and intimidate innocent citizens without the police, quite literally, being allowed to lay a finger on them?
posted by Phanx at 2:26 AM on April 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


I am sure we will get to the bottom of it. I think what we've seen has answered a lot of questions. And justice will be justice now." He added: "More evidence is coming out every day and I'm sure this isn't going to be the last."

I have to say I admire his optimism, although it can happen. Just last month the Met were forced to admit administering "gratuitous violence" on a suspect, Babar Ahmad, despite trying their best to obscure the evidence. From The Telegraph

Police officers involved in a violent attack on a terrorism suspect which led the Metropolitan Police to pay £60,000 damages have been accused of scores of previous assaults on black and Asian men.....But when Ahmad's lawyers asked for details of these allegations, police said they had "lost" several large mail sacks detailing at least 30 of the complaints.
posted by Jakey at 3:06 AM on April 8, 2009


Phanx: interesting point. You're right: pre-existing assumptions will always colour the interpretation of subsequent events. But those assumptions can be manipulated. It seems to me there was a very concerted attempt by the authorities and particularly the Metropolitan Police to run an efficient pre-G20 PR campaign to make sure the right assumptions were in place.

For example The "Bankers - dress down or you'll be attacked" line the police were pushing prior to the protests was very interesting, I thought. It was picked up very uncritically by the press - even the Guardian ran a humourous piece on how not to look like a banker. I would be very interested to know if any "bankers" were actually attacked - or was it just a pre-protest smear by the police? It always seemed like a bit of stage-setting to me.

As for the anticipated property damage - charges only appear to have been brought in relation to the wrecking of the RBS on Threadneedle Street. Interestingly, RBS didn't protect their windows, as other banks did. If there was other significant property damage, I haven't heard about it. But from the general tenor of the reporting, you'd think the City had been destroyed.

I think the Met know the real battle isn't on the streets, it's in the media. And they've been waging it very carefully for some time now.
posted by tiny crocodile at 3:30 AM on April 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Shit happens in violent protests, sometimes police get killed by accident too, it was a tragic case of wrong place wrong time.
posted by stbalbach at 5:22 PM on April 7


Still waiting on your list of police killed by rioters/protesters in the U.S. and U.K. for the last ten or twenty or thirty years, liar.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 4:50 AM on April 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


I should have posted my thoughts earlier. No one is going to read this whole thread.

Anyway, I see this as a pro-terrorist event. When radical elements can no longer bust up starbucks windows and hollar and cause a scene in public they will switch to secretive and more destructive methods.
posted by fuq at 7:10 AM on April 8, 2009


tiny crocodile's comment is spot on. The build up to these demonstrations in the media was very interesting. Demonstrators were being demonised well before the event, and footage of violence at previous protests was shown practically on a loop to make it clear that the authorities were expecting trouble. There was also a drip, drip of stories from the police to the press concerning the mayhem that violent protestors were plotting and their desperate and laudable attempts to combat it.

This probably put a lot of people off attending the events and gave out a warning to those determined to go that trouble was pretty much inevitable. If you're in the area, you're asking for it, was the message.
posted by MrMustard at 7:26 AM on April 8, 2009 [2 favorites]




"Finally after repeated warnings, one officer pushes him; he falls to the ground."

Where is it in their training that they are supposed to push someone to the ground with their hands in their pockets who is not threatening harm but rather walking away?
posted by krinklyfig at 9:24 AM on April 8, 2009


For those in the UK, Channel 4 News says it has another video of the event and will be showing a clip on its website from 6.30pm and in full on tonight's programme at 7pm.
posted by tapeguy at 10:10 AM on April 8, 2009


I was going to mention the new video as well, apparently the video came from a Channel 4 News camera which was damaged later in the day and the footage wasn't reviewed until recently.

It is supposed to show Tomlinson being batoned by a policeman prior to the first video.
posted by knapah at 10:26 AM on April 8, 2009


It's just the same section from a better angle, which confirms the batton hit before the push.

I wonder how long it is going to be before the protesters start wearing body armor.
posted by fistynuts at 11:21 AM on April 8, 2009


About 30 seconds before body armor armour for protesters is seen as reason to beat the shit out of them, I would have thought.
posted by Artw at 11:23 AM on April 8, 2009


Oh, look, there's just been a large series of anti-terror raids across the North West, which had to be brought forward because of a security leak. How... convenient.
posted by flashboy at 11:36 AM on April 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


you think this would make me a target for police brutality?
posted by fistynuts at 11:37 AM on April 8, 2009


Actually the gun there would mean they would just shoot you.
posted by Artw at 11:45 AM on April 8, 2009






Met officer comes forward as Ian Tomlinson death investigation begins
"The IPCC reclassified the inquiry as a criminal investigation after viewing video footage of the incident, meaning that officers involved could be charged with manslaughter. The IPCC has also ordered a second post-mortem examination. The first, carried out on Friday, recorded that Mr Tomlinson died of a heart attack and that there were no signs of cuts or bruises to his head or shoulders."
Good!
posted by ericb at 2:52 PM on April 8, 2009


Still waiting on your list of police killed by rioters/protesters in the U.S. and U.K. for the last ten or twenty or thirty years, liar.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:50 PM on April 8


Well .. it does happen. PC Keith Blakelock was killed by a mob during the Broadwater Farm riot in 1985 (leading, incidentally, to one of the most shocking miscarriages of justice in recent British history, but that's another story). David Howes and Derek Wood happened to be 'in the wrong place at the wrong time' during the funeral of Kevin Brady in 1988, and were dragged from their car and murdered. I'm not suggesting that this excuses police brutality, of course it doesn't; all I'm saying is, there are cases on record where police have been killed by rioters.

As for the present case, it's completely indefensible. The police work under intolerable pressure and as a rule I'm prepared to cut them a lot of slack, but this is way over the line; I hope the officer responsible is prosecuted for manslaughter, and anyone involved in the subsequent cover-up has their career in the force terminated with extreme prejudice. Even the commenters at this police blog, who tend to stick up for law and order, aren't very happy with the police behaviour in this case; e.g. this comment from someone who seems to know what he's talking about:

As an ex-Police Officer and Defensive Skills Instructor (I trained Officers in the correct use of batons, CS spray, etc) I can say from viewing that video that the Officer was facing no threat from Mr Tomlinson and therefore had absolutely no justification in his actions. There were at least two section supervisors present (visible by their blue vests). They should all be easily identified along with the Dog Handlers. This Officer should come forward without delay, or be identified by colleagues. They know who he is. It's not clear to me if he was a Met Officer or City of London, but the CCTV should make that plain. No cover up please Commissioner, this Officer has no place in the Force, nor have any Officers that try to hide him.
posted by verstegan at 2:59 PM on April 8, 2009


NI really, really, really does not count.
posted by Artw at 3:02 PM on April 8, 2009


The Corporals killings are really rather different. If you read the wikipedia article you'd see that many mourners thought the funeral was under attack by loyalist paramilitaries (as had happened recently with Michael Stone), their capture and execution by the IRA can't really be compared to a policeman being killed in a riot.
posted by knapah at 5:47 AM on April 9, 2009


"As an ex-Police Officer and Defensive Skills Instructor (I trained Officers in the correct use of batons, CS spray, etc) I can say from viewing that video that the Officer was facing no threat from Mr Tomlinson and therefore had absolutely no justification in his actions."

I don't see how anyone can come to any other conclusion no matter their perspective. Perhaps this guy with the biggest dick in the world and he was blatantly contemptuous of police. Perhaps he was muttering and cursing them out, calling their mothers whores and said explicitly he is turning his back on them as a sign of protest and has his hands in his pockets to... I dunno...play with his balls at them.
That'd be grounds for arrest, detainment, etc. That would be justified. And that's not what occurred.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:19 AM on April 9, 2009



New G20 video compounds doubts over police account of Ian Tomlinson's death
- basically everything they said about their behaviour and the crowds after Tomlinson collapsed is a proven lie.
posted by Artw at 9:02 AM on April 9, 2009




BBC reporting that Ian Tomlinson did not die from heart attack, but from abdominal bleeding. Policeman interviewed under caution on suspicion of manslaughter.
posted by Infinite Jest at 9:23 AM on April 17, 2009


Oh dear... that's kind of a big deal.
posted by Artw at 9:31 AM on April 17, 2009


About 30 seconds before body armor armour for protesters is seen as reason to beat the shit out of them, I would have thought.

During the 1981 Springbok Tour in New Zealand, many protestors ended up resorting to wearing crash helmets - the police had formed a special red squad and introduced long batons for the first time so the police could deal to protestors.
posted by rodgerd at 6:29 PM on April 17, 2009


And the police pathologist who did the false post-mortem has form for this:
...Home Office pathologist Dr Freddy Patel concluded Tomlinson had died of a heart attack. He has previously been reprimanded by the GMC, after he released medical details about a man who died controversially in police custody.

In a second case, which raised questions about Dr Patel's findings, police dropped a criminal investigation after the pathologist gave it as his opinion that the victim, a woman, had died of natural causes. A man who lived in the flat where the body was found went on to murder two other women and mutilate their bodies.

...

A source with detailed knowledge of the IPCC investigation expressed surprise that the initial post mortem was referred to Dr Patel rather than the Forensic Pathology Services, a body of nine independent forensic pathologists, including Dr Cary, which usually deals with suspicious deaths in London and the home counties.
Sentence for perverting the course of justice can be life, IIRC.
posted by Abiezer at 1:27 AM on April 18, 2009 [1 favorite]




BBC reporting that Ian Tomlinson did not die from heart attack, but from abdominal bleeding

Bet they rammed the tip of a baton up under his diaphragm and ruptured his abdominal aorta.

Assigning the autopsy to the corrupt pathologist they keep around just to cover their asses shows they know they murdered him.
posted by jamjam at 3:15 PM on April 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Assigning the autopsy to the corrupt pathologist they keep around just to cover their asses shows they know they murdered him.

I'll bet a week's income that the outcome is a few of the thugs caught on camera get hung out to dry, while the officers who neglected to manage their constables correctly (and, in some cases, were egging them on), and the officers who have been trying to cover the whole mess up, will face... no meanginful sanctions whatsoever. Just like Huddersfield, de Menzies, and so on.
posted by rodgerd at 1:21 AM on April 19, 2009


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