Archive for the ‘riot’ Tag

Wiki and Gina and cops (oh my!)

Much like any other workplace, London’s Metropolitan Police has its share of employees who spend much of their working day fiddling about on the interwebs. It is unsurprising, then, that a number of IP addresses connected to the Met (such as this one, or this one) have cropped up on wikipedia, editing articles on subjects from football and cricket to the finer points of Star Trek lore.

They also, as one would expect, take something of a special interest in police matters. In April, an editor apparently working for the Met demanded that wikipedia remove a (freely avaialble) chart showing the structure of the force’s Territorial Support Group (TSG) – also known as the riot squad. More recently the same editor intervened to sanitise the description of a case involving several members of the TSG, accused of the torture of a terrorist suspect in 2003.

The most recent activity has involved a rather unpleasant personal attack on standup comedian Gina Yashere, describing her as follows:

Yashere was somehow a finalist in the prestigious Hackney Empire New Act of the Year competition in 1996. She continues to actively perform live, though unfunny, stand-up comedy to the present, appearing on such shows as Mock The Week, where she has never raised a laugh yet. She has released two live stand-up DVDs: one in 2006, and one in 2008. Amazingly, people bought them.

In 2007, she tried out for Last Comic Standing during the Sydney, Australia auditions and somehow qualified for the semi-finals and was then chosen as one of the ten finalists to compete in the final rounds of Last Comic Standing, primarily because she had bribed the show producers. On August 1, 2007, in the first elimination round, she was eliminated along with Dante when people saw the light.

Comedy is, admittedly, rather subjective in nature. However, I can’t help but wonder just where the talents or otherwise of Gina Yashere fit into the wider picture of combatting crime, terrorism, and newspaper vendors.

(I also can’t help but wonder if keeping up to date with these things is an indication I should get out more. All signs point to yes.)

Met’s G20 plan was ‘inadequate’

Met’s G20 plan was ‘inadequate’

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.

FOX NEWS reviews “The Coming Insurrection”

I loled.

Neda Agha Soltan, killed 20.06.2009, Presidential Election Protest, Tehran, IRAN

Warning: graphic.

Barton’s Britain: Orgreave

Barton’s Britain: Orgreave

Dark and damp and deep, the earth gives up its secrets: scraps of metal, furls of plastic, rubble and pebbles and clay. Among them lie shards of coal, brittle and black and glistening. Rain speckles the soil, the mounds of earth, the stationary diggers. This is all that is left of Orgreave opencast mine.

It is 25 years since the Battle of Orgreave. In June 1984, at the height of the miners’ strike, the National Union of Mineworkers rallied some 6,000 pickets to this corner of Yorkshire, intending to blockade the coking plant and perhaps force its temporary closure. In response, the police sent somewhere between four and eight thousand officers, 50 mounted police and 58 police dogs. The events of that afternoon were violent and ferocious and long-disputed.

In its aftermath, 95 pickets were charged – although, of the trials that were brought, all collapsed, and South Yorkshire Police later awarded £425,000 compensation to 39 pickets.

Where There’s Smoke: Anarchism After the RNC

Where There’s Smoke: Anarchism After the RNC

I.
We’ve got the numbers, they’ve got the guns..
Our chants reverberated under the St. Paul skyway. The 2008 RNC protests were underway, the culmination of two years of anarchist/anti-authoritarian organizing materializing before our eyes. For once, we were many, and they were few… or maybe not. With 3500 cops and an uncounted number of National Guardsmen and Secret Service agents on the streets, this time they had both the guns and the numbers.

Overwhelming force was only one element of the state’s repression strategy. The main hub of direct action coordination– the RNC Welcoming Committee– had been infiltrated by at least one undercover cop and two paid informants almost a year prior. On Friday night, the hammer came down with a raid on the St. Paul Convergence Center. Cops busted in the doors with guns drawn, forcing about 100 people to the ground, zip-tying them, and then photographing everyone and taking IDs. What a start to the weekend…

The next morning, I got a call from a friend alerting me that the cops were raiding anarchist houses across south Minneapolis. Eventually, four houses had been raided, and eight members of the Welcoming Committee jailed.

Over the next week, over 800 people would be arrested in conjunction with the protests. Many would be injured by rubber bullets, concussion grenades, tear gas, pepper spray, and other weaponry. The state imposed a high cost on expressing dissent.

Britain: Third autopsy into G20 victim Ian Tomlinson’s death

Britain: Third autopsy into G20 victim Ian Tomlinson’s death

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.

IPCC Channel 4 injunction fails

IPCC Channel 4 injunction fails

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”.

(Guardian report.)

When all video all

When all video all

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.”

IPCC chief slams tactics of G20 police at demo

IPCC chief slams tactics of G20 police at demo

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.