Archive for the ‘g20’ Tag
A watchdog has said the Metropolitan Police’s planning for the London G20 protests in April was inadequate.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary said the force had responded well to some of the challenges posed by the world summit.
But it said the force had not planned for the peaceful but highly disruptive Climate Camp in the City of London.
One man died after the London protests and investigators are looking at other formal complaints about police actions.
In his wide-ranging report, the inspector of constabulary Denis O’Connor said police tactics had been far too focused on tackling violence, such as the sporadic clashes outside the Bank of England, rather than facilitating peaceful protests during other parts of the day.
The Home Office pathologist who ruled that Ian Tomlinson died of natural causes at the G20 protests has been suspended pending investigations into his professional conduct.
Freddy Patel, who conducted the first post-mortem examination on the newspaper vendor from east London and concluded he died of a heart attack, has been removed from the government
register of accredited forensic pathologists
amid concern as to whether he has breached regulations.
A second post-mortem by another pathologist found Mr Tomlinson died from internal bleeding in the stomach.
Video showed he had been struck with a baton and knocked to the ground by a policeman on 1 April.
Dr Patel found injuries on Mr Tomlinson’s body but concluded he died of natural causes. The controversy over Dr Patel’s involvement in the case prompted a review of his work by the Pathology Delivery Board, which monitors the Home Office register for the National Police Improvement Agency.
An MP who was involved in last month’s G20 protests in London is to call for an investigation into whether the police used agents provocateurs to incite the crowds.
Liberal Democrat Tom Brake says he saw what he believed to be two plain-clothes police officers go through a police cordon after presenting their ID cards.
Brake, who along with hundreds of others was corralled behind police lines near Bank tube station in the City of London on the day of the protests, says he was informed by people in the crowd that the men had been seen to throw bottles at the police and had encouraged others to do the same shortly before they passed through the cordon.
Brake, a member of the influential home affairs select committee, will raise the allegations when he gives evidence before parliament’s joint committee on human rights on Tuesday.
“When I was in the middle of the crowd, two people came over to me and said, ‘There are people over there who we believe are policemen and who have been encouraging the crowd to throw things at the police,'” Brake said. But when the crowd became suspicious of the men and accused them of being police officers, the pair approached the police line and passed through after showing some form of identification.
A third autopsy has been held to establish the cause of the death of Ian Tomlinson, the 47-year-old father of nine who collapsed and died after police attacked protesters at the G20 summit of world leaders in London earlier this month.
It comes after a second autopsy, held at the request of his family, found that Tomlinson died of internal bleeding. That finding contradicted the outcome of the original autopsy, which found that Tomlinson had died of a heart attack.
Tomlinson, a newspaper vendor, was attempting to make his way home after work, when he was caught in a police “kettling” operation—the forcible detention of protestors behind police cordons for up to seven hours.
It was initially claimed that no physical contact had taken place between the police and Tomlinson before his death. But video footage and photographic stills showed that Tomlinson was brutally assaulted from behind by a masked officer, who had struck him across the legs with his asp—an extending steel baton—causing him to fall and hit his head.
In the last days, more evidence has come to light to indicate that this was only the last of three separate police assaults on Tomlinson before he collapsed and died.
An attempt to block Channel 4 News from broadcasting a report about the death of Ian Tomlinson at the G20 protest in London has failed.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission – which is questioning a police officer in connection with the death of Mr Tomlinson – sought an injunction preventing fresh pictures of events preceeding Mr Tomlinson’s death from being broadcast.
Tonight a judge refused to grant an injunction, and Channel 4 News and More 4 News intend to broadcast the item tomorrow.
The report from our home affairs correspondent, Simon Israel, includes a frame-by-frame analysis of events leading up to the moment when Mr Tomlinson was struck at by a police officer and fell to the ground.
In its attempt to secure a court order preventing the broadcast of this report, the IPCC argued that the material could be prejudicial to its investigation.
ITN, which produces Channel 4 News, said tonight that “this is a responsible piece of journalism that brings important new information into the public domain”.
Footage of police officers hitting out at the G20 protests has dominated the news for the past fortnight. But what impact has the proliferation of cameras had on policing?
If there is one recurrent theme in the images of the recent G20 protests, it is what’s held in the hands raised in the air.
Hundreds of cameras rise out of every sea of protests. In the foreground are the digital SLRs and full-size video cameras of the professional media. But in the background there is a profusion of smaller devices.
They are in the background of shots of Nicola Fisher, struck in the leg with a baton, and of Alex Kinnane, hit in the face with a riot shield.
In a time of complaints about the surveillance society, cameras are being used by ordinary people to monitor the activities of those in authority. And the kernel of the idea goes back some years.
“It has been a topic among criminologists ever since the Rodney King incident,” says Prof Philip Stenning, a criminologist at Keele University. “It’s the first obvious example of how the police were brought to book as a result of a camera in the hands of a private citizen.”
Senior police officers face serious questions over the “unacceptable” trend of officers disguising their identity during clashes with protesters, the chair of the independent police watchdog warned yesterday, as it began formally investigating a third alleged assault on a G20 protester.
Nick Hardwick, chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), called for a national debate over how police maintain public order and demanded much tougher political accountability, warning that police should remember they were “the servants not the masters” of the people.
He is also seeking the necessary resources for the watchdog to conduct more investigations independently from police – as it is doing over the death of Ian Tomlinson, the news vendor who died after being caught up in the G20 protests – and expanding its remit in cases where there is evidence of wider systematic problems.
The latest investigation concerns a 23-year-old man who claims to have been assaulted by a Metropolitan police officer in the early evening of 1 April at a police cordon on Cornhill in the City of London, adding to two existing investigations into the death of Tomlinson and claims by a woman activist that she was attacked.
Hardwick told the Observer the latest case would “not necessarily” be the last taken up by the IPCC, which is still sifting almost 90 complaints about the use of force and examining CCTV footage.
He made clear his concerns about incidences of officers disguising their identifying numbers, which should always be displayed on the shoulders of their uniforms, arguing that colleagues should have reported such wrongdoing.
The ACPO has responded to the conclusions:
The head of the Association of Chief Police Officers today rejected a watchdog’s criticism of the way officers handled the G20 protests, claiming tear gas or rubber bullets would have been employed in any other country.
Sir Ken Jones described the approach to tacking demonstrations as “proportionate” despite a series of videos which have provoked anger at officers’ actions.
He was reacting to comments from Nick Hardwick, chairman of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, who said that allegations of brutality against individual officers raised “serious concerns”. Mr Hardwick, who pointedly reminded police that they were “servants, not masters” of the public, has called for a review of police tactics during demonstrations.
A policeman has been interviewed under caution on suspicion of manslaughter after new tests overturned the cause of a newspaper-seller’s death.
Ian Tomlinson, 47, was struck and pushed over by a police officer during G20 protests on 1 April in the City.
Now a fresh post-mortem examination has found he died of abdominal bleeding, not a heart attack, as first thought.
Lawyers for the family said the new post-mortem test raised the likelihood of a manslaughter charge.
In its statement, the Coroner’s Court said the inquest had looked at the first post-mortem examination carried out after Mr Tomlinson collapsed and died on the evening of 1 April.
That examination, carried out by Dr Freddy Patel, concluded Mr Tomlinson had diseased heart and liver and a substantial amount of blood in the abdominal cavity.
“His provisional interpretation of his findings was that the cause of death was coronary artery disease,” said the statement.
“A subsequent post-mortem examination was conducted by another consultant forensic pathologist, Dr Nat Cary, instructed by the IPCC and by solicitors acting for the family of the late Mr Tomlinson.
“Dr Cary’s opinion is that the cause of death was abdominal haemorrhage. The cause of the haemorrhage remains to be ascertained.
Critics of the spread of closed-circuit television, government databases and intercept techniques have long been complaining about the surveillance society. The Big Brother state has, we have been told, encroached on every aspect of our private lives — criminalising us for putting the wrong rubbish in the wrong bin, spying on what school we send our children to and collating details of our e-mails.
We are becoming a “police state”, or so the people protesting during the G20 summit would have us believe. But those protesters do not appear to have realised that they have turned the tables on the prying state.
Violent demonstrators were caught on camera, but the images of criminality allegedly perpetrated by police officers are causing more of a stir. Journalists, protesters and passers-by photographed and filmed what appear to be acts of police violence against people who posed little threat. Police officers have been suspended and face possible criminal charges.
Around the City of London, investigators are harvesting CCTV from street and shop cameras to trace Ian Tomlinson’s contact with police before he died.
The Met has ordered a minute-by-minute trawl through its own footage and promised to act if it discovers misconduct by its officers.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission has a unit investigating the alleged assault on Nicky Thomson, which goes under the name “G20 YouTube investigation team”.
At any demonstration these days you will find members of FITwatch — activists dedicated to filming the police’s own camera units, or Forward Intelligence Teams.
The Metropolitan Police said video footage on YouTube which appears to show an officer hitting a woman during the G20 protests would be examined.
The footage shows the woman swearing at a police officer who then appears to hit her in the face on 1 April.
The officer also apparently strikes the woman on the leg with his baton.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission said it would look into the new footage of the London protests that has been referred to it by the Met.
The latest video comes after the IPCC began an independent inquiry into the death of 47-year-old Ian Tomlinson during the G20 protests.
Mr Tomlinson died after suffering a heart attack. Witness footage apparently showed Mr Tomlinson was pushed over by a police officer shortly before his death.
A statement from the Met on the new video said: “The apparent actions of this officer raise immediate concerns.
“Once we were notified of this footage by a media agency this afternoon we began to take steps to identify this officer and are currently in the process of referring the incident to the IPCC.
“Every officer is accountable under law, and fully aware of the scrutiny that their actions can be held open to.
“The decision to use force is made by the individual police officer, and they must account for that.”