Friday, April 17, 2009

G20 officer may face manslaughter charges

A police officer has been interviewed under caution after a post-mortem showed a protester he allegedly assaulted subsequently died from an abdominal haemorrhage. An earlier post-mortem showed Ian Tomlinson had died of a heart attack shortly after being struck by an unnamed officer as he tried to make his way home during the G20 protests. But Dr Nat Cary, who conducted the second post-mortem, rejected the findings and said there had been internal bleeding.

Ian Tomlinson was not taking part in the protests of April 1st and merely trying to get home after a day of working as a newspaper seller outside Monument station.

There have been accusations that police may have been ordered to use excessive force during the G20 protests. But former commander specialist operations at Scotland Yard Roy Ramm insisted that no orders would have been given to use violence. “Every police officer is responsible for his or her actions,” he told Sky News.

Although he welcomed an investigation he said the police had a difficult job to do as they faced “80 or 90 different groups” with differing agendas. Policing such protests “was almost impossible.”

Ian Tomlinson's stepson has called for answers. “First we were told there was no contact. Then there was a heart attack. Now we’re told he died of internal bleeding following an assault,” Paul King said, “We want the truth” [Guardian / BBC / Sky News]. Tonight on Channel Four News former London mayor Ken Livingstone said the case raised many worries. "It gets murkier by the minute," he said.

Ian Tomlinson’s death has already raised concerns as to policing methods employed during the G20 protests. The possibility that a Metropolitan Police officer might be charged with manslaughter will heighten those concerns. It has already emerged that the Independent Police Complaints Commission has received more than 145 complaints [BBC]. At least 70 are connected to assault. The Metropolitan Police may well be facing further charges.

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