Remember Ian Tomlinson, the middle-aged man who collapsed and died of a heart attack at the G20 demonstrations last week in London?
He was not one of the demonstrators — he was on his way home from work — and at the time his death was reported as a coincidence. Nothing to do with the police or the demos.
News stories said that police and emergency workers were hindered in their attempts to help the dying man by demonstrators who pelted them with bottles and other missiles. The police also asserted that they had had no previous interaction with Mr. Tomlinson before he collapsed.
Since then evidence has surfaced showing that the police account of Ian Tomlinson’s death is — to put it kindly — not entirely candid. Watch the footage below and see an officer apparently strike Mr. Tomlinson from behind with his baton, and them vigorously shove him face-first to the ground. After that Mr. Tomlinson was helped up by bystanders, staggered away, and collapsed again a few moments later.
Thanks to Vlad Tepes for YouTubing this video so promptly:
Here’s the accompanying report from The Guardian:
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UK: Video Reveals G20 Police Assault on Man Who Died
Exclusive footage obtained by the Guardian shows Ian Tomlinson, who died during G20 protests in London, was attacked from behind by baton—wielding police officer
The Guardian obtained this footage of Ian Tomlinson at a G20 protest in London, shortly before he died. It shows Tomlinson, who was not part of the demonstration, being assaulted from behind and pushed to the ground by baton-wielding police Link to this video Dramatic footage obtained by the Guardian shows that the man who died at last week’s G20 protests in London was attacked from behind and thrown to the ground by a baton—wielding police officer in riot gear.
Moments after the assault on Ian Tomlinson was captured on video, he suffered a heart attack and died.
The Guardian is preparing to hand a dossier of evidence to the police complaints watchdog.
It sheds new light on the events surrounding the death of the 47-year-old newspaper seller, who had been on his way home from work when he was confronted by lines of riot police near the Bank of England.
The submission to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) includes a collection of testimonies from witnesses, along with the video footage, shot at around 7.20pm, which shows Tomlinson at Royal Exchange Passage.
The film reveals that as he walks, with his hands in his pockets, he does not speak to the police or offer any resistance.
A phalanx of officers, some with dogs and some in riot gear, are close behind him and try to urge him forward.
A Metropolitan police officer appears to strike him with a baton, hitting him from behind on his upper thigh.
Moments later, the same policeman rushes forward and, using both hands, pushes Tomlinson in the back and sends him flying to the ground, where he remonstrates with police who stand back, leaving bystanders to help him to his feet.
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.”
The Guardian’s dossier also includes a sequence of photographs, taken by three different people, showing the aftermath of the attack, as well as witness statements from people in the area at the time.
A number of witnesses provided time and date-stamped photographs that substantiate their accounts.
Some said they saw police officers attack Tomlinson.
Witnesses said that, prior to the moment captured on video, he had already been hit with batons and thrown to the floor by police who blocked his route home.
The witness accounts contradict the official version of events given by police.
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.
I’m not going to draw any conclusions from all this — I’ll leave that to the people in Britain who were closer to the events in question. However, it does make me wonder if this isn’t the kind of event that the Metropolitan Police were hoping to keep off-the-record by shutting down part of the Westminster CCTV network.
In any case, there were too many freelancers taking video and photos that day for anything to be kept secret for long.
The next logical step would be a law banning digital cameras, camcorders, and camera-phones entirely.
Hat tip: Gaia.