Ian Tomlinson and his family were let down by the UK justice system. Even the pathologist who initially dealt with his death did not do his job properly. Today, three years after his death, the situation remains the same.
Ian died following a brief altercation with a police officer as he tried to make his way home from work. He ended up walking close to a G20 protest in London and became frustrated. When a police officer tried to move him on he did not resist. He did appear to shrug off the request but continued walking, albeit slowly.
PC Simon Harwood struck Mr Tomlinson across the back of his legs. He used a baton and considerable force. He then pushed Ian. It did not take long for Ian to fall to the ground. He never got up. Ian died at the scene.
Since his death in 2009 no person, not least Simon Harwod, has been held to account. If it had been a police officer downed by a protester would that be the case? We think not. When you consider the hefty sentences given out to those involved in the August 2011 riots, the fact that no person has faced criminal charges for the death of Ian is a disgrace. A black mark against British justice and the police force.
Today PC Harwood went before a police disciplinary hearing. Harwood admitted that his actions discredited the police force and in hindsight he would not have used the baton, force and push.
After his admission the hearing concluded early. It found Harwood guilty of gross misconduct.They will meet later and determine whether Harwood should be sacked.
The questions surrounding whether Harwood's actions at the G20 protest caused Ian's death were not answered today. Just when they will be answered is not known.
Understandably Ian's widow left the hearing today disheartened. As she said, the hearing was a "whitewash" Harwood was found not guilty of manslaughter at an earlier hearing.
Unless this case is properly followed through most people in the UK and beyond will agree. Then it will not just be Harwood who discredited the police force but all of those involved.
Update: P C Harwood has now been sacked. He will however keep his pension. He would only lose that if he had been found guilty of a crime. What a farce!
Based in Yorkshire, in the middle of the UK, almost, this blogger offers her own unique perspective on life in GB
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