back to article Who snapped first?

Last week's damp squib G20 protests have finally thrust an issue into the spotlight - just not the one the organizers or the state might have expected. Videos of the moments preceding the death of 47-year-old Ian Tomlinson on his way home from work emerged in quick succession this week. The Guardian was the first to publish …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I say...

    I say that if there is to be public surveillance via CCTV, it must be by an authority completely independent of the police, even to the point of being the remit of an entirely different cabinet minister. Furthermore, "cop-cams" should be under said authority's remit -- officers should be returning the cameras to the public surveillance authority's local representative and only they should be able to download images. Police can get a copy, but under no circumstances should they handle master versions.

    The police have not shown themselves in the best of lights when investigating their own and too much evidence has gone missing in the past.

  2. Paul
    Thumb Up

    @the cops

    Up shit creek in a barbed wire canoe!

  3. Jonathan

    Do we really expect anything to happen?

    A few years ago, police, acting on bad intel, shot and killed an innocent man in cold blood without so much as a warning. They got off scot free - the jury was even told that they couldnt return a verdict of unlawful killing (so it was a case of any verdict as long as its innocent).

    Now, one of them pushed a man, and later he had a heart attack. What makes you think anything will happen about this? Investigators mignt not even be able to prove that the push led directly to the heart attack, let alone that the police had no good reason for pushing him.

    Like last time, some senior policeman will probably retire to the brilliant state pension that we pay for with our tax pounds, and thats it. The policeman who actually did the crime will be promoted from Common Thug to Gangster, and all will continue as it was.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Several police officers, including the officer himself have come forward. It is our intention to interview this officer as soon as possible."

    Having spent some time getting their stories streight to create more then enough ambiguity over the situation so that none of them will get more then a short "be more careful next time lads, and make sure if you arn't you get everyones cameras sharpish, tell 'em it's anti terrorism - okay?"

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Wrong !!!

    "For their part, the authorities will argue that they have a duty to keep tabs on suspicious characters pointing cameras at sensitive buildings, and still need CCTV and cam-toting cops to prevent public disorder and bring those responsible for justice."/

    Er no, it gives the police more reason not to allow the public own cameras, have freedom of speech etc etc. It''s incidents like this that erode our freedom not cause blushes amoungst the authorities.

  6. Anonymous Coward


    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    Seriously, the police should never question anyone taking pictures of them in public, there is simply no excuse for it in unless they admit that they are here to oppress rather than protect.

    Mine's the one with an original copy under the arm.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    candid camera

    of course there would be loads more photos of the numerous police assaults on the day if they hadn't been threatening to smash peoples cameras and phones if they didn't put them away, this includes tourists as well as protesters and went on quite far from the most serious carnage

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sudden silence from the government

    Has anyone noticed that New Labour have gone very quiet on this all of a sudden? Especially no one seems to be willing to talk about their 'snap a copper and your nicked' provisions. Will any of them be brave enough to say that this legislation needs to be revoked in order that some measure of confidence in that police can be held accountable?

    Also, nice to see the Sun spinning the police line that being drunk (allegedly) is a good enough reason to be clubbed and shoved to the ground. The Met and City of London Police might want to check out Smith v. Leech Brain & Co., [1962] 2 QB 405 and the 'eggshell skull' defence.

  9. BlueGreen

    @I say...

    Never heard that one before. Sounds like a damn good idea.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I would have done the same

    I've seen the footage like most people. Some people are sticking up for him claiming he was doing nothing and was innocent, but in my opinion, it looks like he's deliberately walking slowly in front of the officer trying to piss him off. If he was, I'd have shoulder charged him out of the way too. Just a shame the guy who did it was wearing a police uniform.

  11. Tom


    How did a piece about police officers putting down violent protest turn into commentry on being able to film children?!

  12. abigsmurf

    Not telling the whole story

    Given that there's apparently video evidence of the man 85 minutes from the main video doesn't that kinda prove that this man wasn't just simply walking back from work to catch a millwall game?

    There's been a big media frenzy over the actions of the police but what was he actually doing? He was hit by the police then, 85 minutes later he was hit again by the police and had a heart attack. Being the innocent victim caught in the crossfire once is more than possible, being caught twice? You'd have thought after the first incident he would've tried to get home ASAP.

    Not excusing the police but the facts on both sides don't add up. Remains for the coroner to decide if his heart attack was due to his fitness or if the police's actions directly caused it I suppose. I am interested to know what went on between the two videos though.

  13. Anonymous Coward


    "It''s incidents like this that erode our freedom not cause blushes amoungst the authorities."

    Do you actually believe the crap you just typed?

    It's incidents like this that show why such freedoms are necessary, so that we can hold our public servants to account.

    As for "blushes", I'd hope that a police officer who may have been responsible for an innocent man's death would do a little more than blush.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just a few more weeks ...

    . ..and they' ll have fabricated some shonky half assed footage akin to that of the 7/7 "bombers" -

    enough for most people who will already have moved on to the next big Headlie. ...

  15. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    One can only hope

    If it turns out that this attack was unprovoked (and from the evidence seen so far, it looks entirely possible) that the guardian of the peace that attacked the man with the baton and then pushed him to the ground (while his hands were in his pockets) is charged with manslaughter.

    Only then will I believe that there is still some justice in the UK.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    question to the moderatrix

    Is it me or when we're talking about UK law enforcement on these forums, we see much more AC posting than otherwise... If verified, it kind of proves that the tactics work in reducing free speech, doesn't it? Let's just hope that vulture central is not raided to lift the veil...

  17. Columbus

    remember hillsborough

    The Sun have a bit of a rep for supporting police who may be in a bit of bother - Hilsborough springs to mind....

    Watch the IPCC do a fearless job of investigating this tragic event, just like De Menezes, Babar Ahmad, Harry Stanley, Christopher Alder, Roger Slyvester and so on.

    My favourite bit will be when the IPCC ignore the video evidence as the witnesses are too subjective unlike the 'professional' police who at this point are colluding/conferring to write their identical statements

    Mines the one with the standard "procedures will be changed & lessons have been learnt" B***s**t logo.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Sad serious of events

    It is more than probable that a blow to the leg or indeed any part of the body could induce brusing, what is less well known is that it can also cause blood clots and they can cause strokes or indeed heat attacks. If that was the cause then its a sad serious of events, indeed any death is.

    The police probably under alot of work stress (ie having to work very focused for more than 5 minutes) could of seen some chap walking infront of them and with his hands in his pockets could of been deemed as an obstruction. indeed if he had headphones on he wouldn;t of heard a thing. One should also consider that it may of been somewhat noisy so any if at all shouts or comments from the police to move out of there way probably wouldn't of been heard.

    You can easily see how they would deem such a person after a emotionaly long day as someby being clever and slowing them down by walking in a lackluster manner infront of them and as such can see how they could of taken the action they did, and for it to pan out as it did.

    One thing though I'm sure on is that they certainly did not wish this innocent gentlemans death or indeed wish any injury upon him. But that dosn't distract from the fact from a person deing.

    The only concelation we can find currently is that some of the police involved have come forward soon as this issue was brought to light and that there was already a investigation into the circumstances leading upto the untimely death.

    Either way I'm probably feeling as sorry for the family as well as those involved, fairly sure neither wished for this.

  19. Andy Bright

    Uh oh..

    The real problem the police face is if that there's no way politicians will sanction banning photographers in public places. Even when it comes to the most sensitive buildings, such as the Prime Minister's residence.

    While we may ponder how many secret documents captured outside Downing Street it will take before someone recognises the value of a 10p cardboard folder, there are vital issues at stake.

    Obviously the aim here is to look extremely cool and trendy carrying "Top Secret" documents as you enter No. 10. The girls find this particularly impressive. So the problem is obviously this. If we force the mandatory use of folders, we risk high ranking fat people looking ordinary. Plus if we ban the press from taking photos in public places, how do important-looking people get to show off how important they are?

    So you see it's quite a conundrum and until they work out a solution, snap happy members of the public will unfortunately be allowed to continue photographing the police. It that means a few good men have to explain why they're killing other members of the public, sobeit. It's not like a few days in court-mandated sensitivity training is going to do any harm is it?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Police snappers at teenage animal cruelty demo ..

    Sometime last year I visited a UK city .. I can't strictly remember if it was Oxford or Chester but that does not matter. Anyway, there was a small protest going on in the high-street, nothing major around half a dozen teenage girls and a couple of adults and they had a stall and some posters and were campaigning against animal cruelty (experimentation I think). Fair enough I thought and in the great tradition of British protesting not many people were taking notice of these young girls shouting slogans and asking for people to sign a petition.

    However, I then noticed that directly opposite these 8 or so people were two uniformed officers, keeping an eye on them ... however one had a video camera and one had a very big and expensive looking digital SLR.

    I stood there for a number of minutes and wondered what a complete waste of money having these two chaps hanging around what was a perfectly respectible and problem free protest. The protesters would have already been caught on CCTV, had nothing to hide but the thought that the police were nannying these few people and videoing and photographing them just made me feel ashamed of what our Government have turned us all in to ... potential terrorists.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    If you've got nothing to hide...

    ...RUN! RUN! They're coming after you!

    The truth will never come out of course, but at least there was a chance of the innocent (for he was only walking home from work, so says the Met themselves) victim might have avoided his fatal heart attack. Imagine if the cops had their much craved tasers, then Mr Tomlinson might not have gotten the chance to collapse a second time under his own power.

    "Verbal: Fuggin' cops"

  22. James
    Paris Hilton

    @AC 15:22

    "Er no, it gives the police more reason not to allow the public own cameras, have freedom of speech etc etc. It''s incidents like this that erode our freedom not cause blushes amoungst [sic] the authorities."

    So we should let the police get away with it if they kill someone so they don't take our cameras away? Huh? That doesn't make any sense to me.

    <- Or am I being retarded..?

  23. MarkJ


    If passive resistance worked in India, imagine what live updates to a streaming video website from a mobile phone being waved at a Police officer wielding a baton can do?

    Cause some good laughs in offices across the world most likely.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Riot police

    In the Netherlands, some time around 2000 I think it was the Greens who proposed to have each member of a riot police squad wear uniforms with numbers on them, so that if necessary it would be possible to trace who actually 'behaved badly'. However, this proposal was ignored, partly because of the possible risk of 'let's all gang up on number 23 over there!' behavior.

    Not sure if this would be (part of) a solution?

    On the other hand, i don't think stuff like this will be going away anytime soon (on both sides, i.e. rioters and 'the law'). I saw some footage of a Dutch trauma helicopter taking off in a residential area, while one of the onlookers was throwing a rock at the rotors of that helicopter... People around him laughing. And the comments of the person behind the camera was noteworthy too: 'come on,crash! Damnit!'.

    If that kind of attitude and behavior becomes more common, it will be very difficult for the Police to operate. Because it will always be the Police versus the Bad Apples, trying to get rid of the Bad Apples. But with the 'Moral Majority' crying out over 'trampled-on personal freedom', that will be very difficult indeed. Those rioters were wrong in the first place, right? But maybe i'm missing the point here...

  25. Lars Petersson

    I am supremely confident...

    that the authorities investigating this will leave no stone unturned and no avenue of investigation untried until these coppers are found not guilty.

    Phhht :-(

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    And the Police Officers response when interviewed was...

    "No Comment" - as advised by my solicitor.

    Makes for a swift and complete investigation.

    Unfortunately, it lets down the vast majority of police officers who try, in the face of a public that (in some areas) has an unhealthy distrust and many influential management members that have little but contempt for the people they serve and manage, to do a good job.

  27. Martin Silver badge

    I hope there will be a conviction soon

    So this foreign terrorist (fund manager=same thing) illegally photographed one of our fine boys in blue who was either in fear of his life from a vicious football hooligan / helping an elderly gentlemen out of the way of vicious protesters (depends if you a sun/telegraph reader).

    I hope they get this scum off our streets soon.

  28. JMB

    Comments on: Who snapped first?

    You can be sure that if the police CCTV backed up any of the various versions of the events that the police PR machine have put out then it would have been quickly released or leaked to the press.

    The lack of official pictures suggests that it does not support any of their versions though there must be a good chance that it will have disappeared or wiped in error.

  29. Arclight

    All aboard

    and slowly the bandwagon crawls into town. Still some spare seats up front for a couple of MP's, and an 'expert'.

  30. Christoph

    All the more reason to use cameras on mobile phones

    If you're anywhere near a demonstration make sure you're using the camera on your mobile, and transmitting the pictures to a safe place as soon as they're taken. With a bit of luck you'll even have a photo of the plod who steals and destroys the camera.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I think you meant to type "or".

    "stopping paedophiles snapping children of preventing terrorist reconnaissance."

  32. Anonymous Coward

    Sorry but...

    ... I'm with the Police on this one.

    From what I saw of the video evidence, as an "innocent passerby" maybe if he was passing by a bit quicker he might not have attracted the attention of the police in the first place. Could he perhaps have been deliberately dawdling along with his hands in his pockets while the police were trying to clear the area in order to obstruct & wind them up? Surely not...

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Now we can be absolutely certain

    ... that personal use of Cameras will in future require a license if used in a public place. Violators will have their equipment confiscated, their computers seized [for evidence], and their DNA and prints taken because all of this will be a cautionable offence.

    Remember, you read it here!

    Copter - cos they watch us be we're not allowed to watch them

  34. Wayland Sothcott
    Thumb Up

    The Met experiences panopticon blowback

    I have just gotta say "Panopticon Blowback" is just the best phrase about the police state that I have ever heard.

    Somehow I will have to work it into a conversation.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Right to protest

    It appears that if you want to take part in a peaceful protest in Britain today, you should expect to be beaten and intimidated by heavily armed, masked police. What amazes me is even the liberal media seemed to be scared into making apologies for the police conduct during the G20 protests, until the footage of this poor man appeared.

  36. twelvebore
    Thumb Down


    "The Sun's pictures were accompanied by claims that Tomlinson was drunk, had been pushed aside after refusing to move out of the path of a police van, and did not seem to be intent on heading home."

    I've been waiting for this to come out. They did the same thing when de Menezes was shot. Release enough little rumours and slurs on the character of the dead bloke to ensure that 51% or more of Daily Mail readers conclude that "well, he may not have done that but he probbly did sumfink else so he deserves what he got".

  37. Jemma


    If the police fudge this - and knowing the joys of the (I)PCC first hand you can bet they will then they've had it. The sole reason that the police hold any power is they have the respect of the populace - this is how it works. It only takes enough people to realise that the police are just a bunch of playground bullies in blue uniforms and they are in a world of trouble. If the people dont respect them the police are just targets - it doesnt matter how many truncheons you wield it'll make the storming of Badajoz look like a walk in the park (and the acting will likely be as bad) - Bags me the Nock Gun...

    This is a murder - plain and simple. This man was not involved in the G20 crapola - and the way the police were acting he was just an easy target for their frustrations. If this crime is taken as anything other than a murder then its another nail in the police's collective coffin. It'll match the one regarding the 16 year old girl who was hit and killed by a police officer driving at 91mph in a 30mph zone - just because, it appears, he could.

    Just for once PTB's deal with this properly - or it'll come back to haunt you.

    My deepest respects for the Tomlinson family, my thoughts are with you.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    According to the IPCC none of the CCTV cameras in the area were switched on at the time. And I thought people were being too cynical when they said this would happen.

    Incredible isn't it, the heart of the most surveilled city in the world (with the possible exception of downtown Pyongyang) with tens of billions of Pounds worth of property about to be the centre of a huge demo - and no one thinks of putting a tape in the machine?

  39. Alex

    Silly question,

    but how does one get a heart attack from getting pushed an hour earlier? I cannot for the life of me understand this. Anyone with a medical degree care to shed some light on the subject?

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    A title is required.

    "...their argument will be strengthened if and when they produce their own footage of the events leading up to Tomlinson's death. So far they haven't."

    Quite. The footage and pics will likely have been "accidentally" deleted, or subject to some creative archiving.

    Hopefully it won't matter, given the evidence that *did* make it to light.

  41. neil
    Black Helicopters


    Seems the issue will be trust after this, perhaps the CCTV systems and Police body/hat cam's will also be evidence in this case...What ever the truth, more and more people don't trust the Police.

    Still THEY (H.O./MET Comissioner) don't trust the MET with TASER's, with good reason maybe?

  42. Nick L

    Title of some sort

    I almost posted to your story last week about the Met's own warnings of anticipated police-v-crusty mayhem, that it was nice of them to let us know in advance they were going to beat up protesters - unlike in Edinburgh where it was not advertised in advance, but peaceful marchers were herded into suburban streets and beaten up anyway by the Met's finest on tour.

    Unfortunately I didn't, so I can't say "I told you so" ....

  43. Scott Silver badge

    Hidden Cameras

    When people are filming something, they need to have a second recording, or even an additional hiddden camera. Perhaps someone has invented a camera that automatically sends all its shots to email, or a website or something?

    Then, when the "autorities" require the hand over or deletion of pictures, the world will actually still get a copy of whatever they intend to hide.

    Isn't this just a suggestion to the terrorists how to carry out theis plans?

    No, Terrorists wiill not even be noticed - usually because they are not even there!

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    France Info

    On Thursday 2nd April I was listening to Radio "France Info" as I drove past Geneva towards Lyon.

    France Info mentioned the "death of a protester" during the G20 protest confrontation. I retuned away from FM to 198KHz as this is the extreme edge of Radio4 LW reception, listened to news, NOTHING. I then started to become surprised, there was no item on the next 648KHz BBC WS news either. As far as I can tell, the UK only noticed that there was a death with the Sunday papers, well after the G20 'Gordie-the-hero' event. Of course, I may have recollected things wrongly, but there might just be a faint whiff of "Media Strategy Ratified" and UK news sources holding off for a few days????????

  45. Kevin Reader


    I for one welcome our heavily padded baton wielding overloads.... it seems safest.

    Must remember these defences in court:

    . he looked a bit brown and I had to run after him.

    . he was a bit drunk and uncooperative.

    Can't see those holding up if you weren't wearing a uniform at the time.

    Coat - Mine's the one with a secret memo just waiting to spill out the pocket...

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @abigsmurf, Re: Not telling the whole story

    "There's been a big media frenzy over the actions of the police but what was he actually doing? He was hit by the police then, 85 minutes later he was hit again by the police and had a heart attack. Being the innocent victim caught in the crossfire once is more than possible, being caught twice? You'd have thought after the first incident he would've tried to get home ASAP."

    He was indeed trying to get home. But the police were preventing people from leaving the protests by surrounding them on all sides - what they call a "kettle". The police let people in, but they didn't let people out. So, anyone passing through on their way home from work would end up trapped with the protesters.

    What's more, there seems to be no legal basis for such "kettles", so it seems to be mass false imprisonment. Every police officer who was "only obeying orders" by taking part in keeping everyone in that "kettle" may have contributed to that death. If so, they should all be in the dock.

  47. Anonymous Coward

    Re: CCTV

    "According to the IPCC none of the CCTV cameras in the area were switched on at the time. And I thought people were being too cynical when they said this would happen."

    That's strange. I seem to remember the news channels at the time reporting how the police were using CCTV and stuff to keep track of the protests. It was more than a passing reference; more a featured part of the on-going news story. They even had a correspondent reporting live from some sort of control centre where the police were monitoring the protests.

    Or did I just dream all that?

    Suddenly an important aspect of 1984 has become a lot more credible to me. I must remember, it's Eurasia we're at war with...

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @ AC re Riot Police

    "Those rioters were wrong in the first place, right?"

    They weren't Rioters.

    There were a small minority who were causing trouble, but the vast majority were people who feel they had a genuine grievence.

    The problems started when the Stazi decided to use "Kettling" which basically means surrounding the protesters, closing in on them from all sides and not letting then move for 6 hours.

    And at all you Fuc*tards who say he got what he deserved, watch the video, that is an assault, pure and simple.

    There can be no defence for someone who is supposed to uphold law and order behaving like that.

    The police are trained to cope with provocation so it doesn't matter what the guy did or said.

    If he needed to be arrested, then the officer should have used the proper procedure, which normally involves walking up to the guy, getting hold of him and slapping the cuffs on.

    If he resists, you and the dozen friends around you, use pressure points to subdue him and get him to a position where you can control him.

    Twatting him across the back of the legs with a metal baton, shoulder charging him in the back, then running away so you can't be identified must be a new addition to the Police operations manual.

    I'm not saying the copper definitely killed Ian Tomlinson, that is for a coroner to decide, but I am saying the officer assaulted him.

    The police can only work with the cooperation of the public and if this guy isn't at least charged with assault we have just proved that we haven't moved on from the dark days of the SPG and Blair Peach in 30 years.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    My prediciton for the future

    Had it been a member of the public doing the pushing he would have been arrested and processed, possibly remanded or bailed with conditions not to talk to witnesses etc.

    What the police do is suspend him and leave him free to work with his colleagues to concoct a "story" which will be that the victim had whilst off camera been abusive and told them he wasnt moving off so despite repeated warnings he was "helped along". This will be argued as a reasonable response as the officers in question where en route to assist some trapped colleagues. The first thing that should have happened is that he was arrested and bailed to prevent the above, but thats not how the police like to do it.

    There wont be any police footage or CCTV available as despite the vast number of cameras and police snappers in the area they just didnt take any.

    Even if some comes to light and its known about it will be "lost" or "damaged".

    Having had the joys of making a complaint against the police in the past I can attest to there inability to keep hold of evidence on an epic scale. There ability to concoct corroborating statements (in my case using time travel!) etc etc ad infinitum

    Black helicopters, with yellow bits on

  50. Andus McCoatover

    @Mike Richards

    <<According to the IPCC none of the CCTV cameras in the area were switched on at the time. And I thought people were being too cynical when they said this would happen.>>

    Odd that. Didn't that happen in the Stockwell incident, too? "Workman stood on the cable"

  51. Anonymous Coward

    Drunk or not

    It really doesn't matter if the bloke was pissed, or even if he had committed some petty crime.

    The standard procedure (the one in the book) is never to baton a suspect to the ground from behind especially while he has his hands in his pockets.

    The heart attack may or may not have been related to the assault, but regardless, pushing someone with their hands in their pockets from behind with such force risks a broken nose, jaw or terminal head injury. All of which are a bit over the top even if he was being uncooperative

    A civilian being caught doing the same thing on CCTV in Oldham high street on a Friday night would certainly already have been charged with assault, and possibly awaiting manslaughter charges.

    The particular copper in question acted illegally, going well beyond the use of reasonable force. However, it is not the actions of one rogue copper that define the current state of policing in the uk.

    You should be more worried about the fact that none of the other officers around him at the time reprimanded him in any way. In an ideal world he would have been bundled into a van in handcuffs immediately.

    Police training should be encouraging integrity and moral standards, instead of unquestioning obediance and loyalty to everyone else in the same uniform.

    as if that would ever happen.

  52. Wayland Sothcott

    Daily mail readers AGAIN!

    Why are they always slamed here. Is it just shorthand for a type of person who thinks the police are always right and that someone is guilty if the police suspect them?

    Have a read of what readers actually says on this subject...

    "This man was unlawfully attacked, from behind, for no apparent reason other than that he was casually dressed in an area where the gestapo assumed all such people were protestors. I am fast becoming ashamed to be British.

    We should also note that it now a terrorist offence to photograph a police person - i refuse to use the term "officer" as that connotes standards of integrity that the majority of police utterly lack."

    Hundreds in the same vein with massively positive scores. The few typical 'Daily Mail' reader comments with massively negative scores.

    Daily Mail readers get it. So if they get it then you can be pretty sure the majority get it. This is a huge non-violent uprising against Wacqui Jacquis police state.

  53. Armus Squelprom
    Thumb Down

    Pathetic excuses

    Astonishing & shameful excuses being offered by pro-Police astroturfers -

    "deliberately walking slowly"

    "deliberately dawdling"


  54. Anonymous Coward

    This is why ...

    This is why several countries, your own (UK), included has started their legislation making it illegal to photograph police officers.

    You see, a while ago i Nürnberg, an interesting precedence was created that states that it is illegal to follow an illegal order. This means that even if the order to violate this mans rights came from above, the officer doing it can be held personally responsible, simply because he SHOULD HAVE KNOWN that the order itself was illegal. Of course, the person giving that order is guilty as well.

    What I wonder, is why the police officers NOT INTERFERING in this hooligans actions, isn't suspended as well. International law dictates that you have the duty to interfere when someone is violating basic rights, which footage so far proves that has happened.

    And the "following an order"-line may be applied to the police harassing photographers as well, simply because the law they are enforcing is in itself illegal.

    It's about time the world started making sure this gets personal. Law-enforcement goons that overstep their rights, needs to be held personally responsible, and economically accountable, for the damage they do. International law says they cannot hide behind the "only following orders" excuse.

    Now, where's the lynchmob?

    //Anonymous (because all police goons will want my blood after pointing this out)

  55. Anonymous Coward

    Tomlinson slurs

    A few people have commented on Tomlinsons's behaviour. Apparently it's suspicious to walk around with your hands in your pockets, or not walk at the correct speed. What anybody who'd bothered to read credible articles on what had happened would know is that he couldn't get home, like many other innocent people who were not protesting, because he was stuck behind the police cordon.

    If you think walking slowly is a provocation you really are a complete imbecile. I suppose the police will start randomly attacking old people and people in wheelchairs. Maybe someone on cructhes, or waving a white stick.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Riot Police


    "Those rioters were wrong in the first place, right? But maybe i'm missing the point here..."

    The man who died wasn't a rioter. He wasn't even a demonstrator. He was a random punter who was just trying to go home.

    Unfortunately, once he entered "the zone" he was herded into the demonstration by the police. Why? Because there is no way of telling a protester and a punter apart. The police don't want to be outflanked by protesters and/or rioters who claim to be neither protestors nor rioters, so once you're in the zone, you're a potential threat.

    Now this is fair enough -- the police need to think of their own safety and the safety of the general public -- but they must remember that some of us don't actually like being thrown into a throng of smelly, sweaty hippies and we're going to start to feel pretty hard done by as the clock ticks away. We're not going to throw rocks, but we're hardly going to act like your best buddies, are we?

    What happened to this poor sod is that the police judged him as guilty by association, but forgot that it was they themselves who forced their victim into that association.

    This is exactly the same thing that happens with the DNA database -- the police put you on it simply because you were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and once you're on it, you're guilty by association.

  57. Anonymous Coward

    Police State

    Those of you whining about the UK being a "Police State" ought to go and try organising a demo in a country that actually does have a police state. I'm thinking maybe Zimbabwe, China etc.

    I think the Met's tactics of containment of protestors, some of whom are engaging in criminal activity, is much more preferable than firing tear gas / plastic bullets / real bullets or running them over with tanks.

  58. Nick

    Blunkett blathering as well

    Ex-home secretary Blunkett was on Radio 4 yesterday positioning the Secret document snapping as a sign that perhaps we need to control photographers and decide what they are allowed to film. Er, no, dummy, as any fule kno its the responsibility of the data owner/handler to protect the data, not everyone else. His comments came across to me as a very cynical land grab of our freedoms - yet again - all in the name of national security.

    Well I can see his point, its probably best not to allow people to take photos of the Police whilst they are protecting our democratic rights and looking after us. Otherwise they won't be able to beat innocent citizens to the ground with their truncheons and get away with it.

  59. Adam Foxton

    @Riot Police AC

    How about a 2D barcode? You'd have a hard time saying "lets gang up on black-white-black-black-white... *10 minutes later* black-black-white over there!" but photos and videos would be able to capture who did what.

    Smaller barcodes around the wrist and leg cuffs could also be useful as- on a high-res photo, anyway- you'd be able to see who was putting the boot in. Sufficient numbers of photographers and members of the public have high-res cameras nowadays that this would be useful.

    Total cost to the Police: A few million pounds at most for the whole country (Barcode labels, check-out-kit hardware (i.e. computer and a video camera w/ ANPR style software to record who's leaving with what kit).

    Total risk for the Police: More accountability, possibility of having a large penis as your assigned barcode number. Or, even worse, a small penis.

    Also, a small microcontroller logging whenever any piece of equipment is taken from the belt/pocket could come in useful, as could a "TazerCam".

    Pretty much, the police should be under total surveilance when on duty; this'll prove just how innocent they are. Or do they have something to hide?

    It's the one with a 10-series PIC mounted in the lining.

  60. Julian
    Thumb Down

    Another interpretation

    @ The Sun report.

    Rather than an assumption (accusation) of drunkenness, perhaps the victim was already suffering a medical incident which he didn't understand and was disorientated .

    Wait for the postmortem.

    Either way, the second occurrence where he was pushed violently to the ground was totally out of order.

    So far as photography is concerned, sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander!

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The "Independent Police Complaints Commission"

    The "Independent Police Complaints Commission" - so called because it is by no means independent.

    "Never believe anything until it has been officially denied" - Claud Cockburn.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bunfight at the OK corral

    In my opinion this has little to do with surveillance or counter-surveillance issues and police highhandedly seizing cameras. Given the size of the crowd and the ease with which such images can be sent to the internet such tactics by the police are mostly ineffective.

    The main issue is with police corralling protesters and passersby and illegally detaining them for public order purposes. This leads to frustrations on both sides and can turn peaceful legal protests into confrontations. Often, apparently as in this case, it is those uninvolved with the protest that are most likely to vent their annoyance and antagonize the police.

    That being said if the police hope to regain public confidence then there needs to be independent examination of all footage showing criminal acts such as assaults committed by both the crowd and the police. Are we to believe that if it was Tomlinson that hit the copper and knocked him to the ground that the CCTV and police footage would have all been blank?

  63. Anonymous Coward

    Weasel reasoning

    "In the Netherlands, some time around 2000 I think it was the Greens who proposed to have each member of a riot police squad wear uniforms with numbers on them, so that if necessary it would be possible to trace who actually 'behaved badly'. However, this proposal was ignored, partly because of the possible risk of 'let's all gang up on number 23 over there!' behavior."

    And the ganging up can't happen with a sentence "Lets gang up on fifth from left!"? This reason is simply a way to keep police officers anonymous in raidgear.

    You can get around this reasoning by picking symbols instead of numbers? 2 identifacation symbols selected out of 4 colors and 4 symbols gives 256 possible identifications. The gang up wouldnt be issue as yelling "All gang up on green cross, yellow triangle" would take people too long to search for the police. The human brain has learned to read numbers fast, but not colored symbols.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm surprised at how naeve you are. Somone who is pushed to the ground, unexpectedly without any warning in the way the victim was, would cause a degree of shock If you're unfit, drink a lot as the victim did, it's morely like to have a greater effect.

    I was attacked from behind, without warning, whilst I was innocently minding my own business, some years ago, I was thrust to the ground, jumped on, kicked in the face, and believe me, when you're not expecting it, it does create a sense of shock.

    In somone that is not particularly in good health or fit, it can very well lead to a heart attack.

  65. Gordon Stewart

    @AC, Thursday 9th Apr 2009 22:58

    Having big numbers on their uniforms certainly sounds like a good idea to me

    Whether or not this policeman was responsible for Tomlinson's death, at the very _least_ he should lose his job and be up on an assault charge. At the time, Tomlinson clearly posed no threat to anyone. Whatever Tomlinson had been up to, shoving him over from behind like that is bang out of order - they're supposed to be police offers, not a bunch of bloody thugs!

    I don't know about anyone else, but any time I see footage of riot police involved in a 'crowd control' situation in the news their response always seems sickeningly brutal. You tend to see some guy lying on the deck, covering his head while 1-3 policemen stand round him smashing him over the head with batons. You never hear of any convictions over that sort of thing.

    I have a cousin in the MET, and an uncle that used to be in the MET. I've heard both talking of how much they enjoy riot duty because they "enjoy a good ruck". Both are racists too. Last time I expressed my distaste at such comments they just laughed.

    If you have nothing to fear...


  66. chris

    Building safer communities

    @AC 2258 - the cops are supposed to wear numbers on their uniforms. Conveniently for the Terrortorial Support Group (sic., by the way), those numbers can be removed from the shoulders, as happened in this case.

    Never ceases to amaze me, the number of excuses that people will make for police brutality, despite the evidence. Is it some kind of fucked-up pro-hierarchy evolutionary psychology? If officers can't cope with the "stress" of masking up and beating people with impunity, then they should seek alternative employment, or not volunteer for the parts of the job that involve that.

    But Mr 85 minutes - KETTLING, you fud. He was hanging around for ages because THEY WOULD NOT LET HIM LEAVE THE AREA.

    Mr "A tap on the leg wouldn't cause a heart attack" - FOAD

  67. Robin Bradshaw

    This has me thinking

    Are there any mobile phones out there that will automatically upload every photo you take to somewhere like flickr or your own media server at home or some such setup.

    Then even if the cops smash your phone and steal your memory card you still have all your photo's?

    Widespread adoption of such "backup" solutions would render the police tactic of trying to steal the phone moot.

  68. Alan Lewis

    How little we learn, how much we forget

    Of course the Police had grounds for beating him- he appeared drunk. Remember Liddle Towers? Killed in police custody for being drunk and disorderly. No one charged.

    Sarcasm mode off. To the several - fortunately few - posters on here, and the Sun editorial team. So what if he was had taken his time to get home. So what if he *was* deliberately walking slowly in front of the police (maybe after they had given him some verbal beforehand?) Are you condoning the offier's actions on the basis of "provocation"? If so, I suggest that the next time you are provoked, then assault the individual concerned and claim "provocation" as a defence. Then be surpised when it is dismissed and you are found guilty.

    Regdraless whether he was taking his own sweet time gettig home, or watching the events, it is no excuse for an officer of the law to push and beat someone to the ground. There is no law - yet - that prevents us from walking the streets. Which is all he was doing.

    The police have a difficult job to do, granted. But if they want our respect, then they have to be whiter than white. The problem is, too many of them seem to - no, DO - appear to enjoy their position of authority, and are only to willing to act without question. A typical example? Look at the trreatment given to the Glouster protestors in 2003... the application of almost draconian policing, and not even a murmur from the mainstream media.

    And we wonder why the current executive feel emboldended to propose more and more restrictive legislation... eroding the right to protest, the right to free speech, the right to pivacy, habeaus corpeus, presumption of innocence, strict offences, retrospective criminalistion,....

    My brother had the right idea... moved to Oz

  69. A Bee

    @Alex's Silly Question

    I am not the pathologist whose comment Alex requested but....

    To have a heart attack in these circumstances, you have to be predisposed to heart attack (otherwise everyone struck by a police baton and pushed to the ground would have a heart attack).

    Heart attacks are caused by blockages in blood vessels around the heart. (Predisposition to heart attack usually means that those vessels are constricted and are therefore more vulnerable to blockage by blood clots than vessels in good condition.)

    I can speculate on two contributions to heart attack in this case:

    Firstly, stress contributes to heart attacks (apparently by increasing blood pressure - a process in which the body "deliberately" constricts blood vessels. Where blood vessels are already constricted, recovery from stress tends to take longer than it would do in someone in "normal" physical condition). I would contend that being attacked by the police was a stressful experience.

    Secondly, blood clots are formed by platelets which can form in response to damage to blood vessels - clotting is part of the process of repair to damaged caused by contusion - for example, being struck by a baton. So where there is bruising, there is increased formation of clots. It may be possible that some of the clotting agents are swept along in the blood stream to areas where they are not needed - and in the case of already constricted blood vessels, to places where they do damage. Clotting is not an instant process (otherwise all wounds would heal instantly.)

    So, I can imagine a chain of events from assault to heart attack.

    For a more informed view, a pathologist and a coroner are required.

  70. Anonymous Coward


    Funny that, the police camera footage going AWOL. I'm sure that if I'd ever done anything wrong in my entire life, there would be extensive footage of me being bad.

    Maybe I should become a policeman if I don't want my picture taken...but to stop the public from taking pictures when "the authorities" have spycam overkill seems somewhat, what - fascistic?

  71. Oz

    Re: Silly question,

    "Silly question,

    By Alex Posted Thursday 9th April 2009 19:51 GMT

    but how does one get a heart attack from getting pushed an hour earlier? I cannot for the life of me understand this. Anyone with a medical degree care to shed some light on the subject?"

    He didn't. He had interaction with the police at some stage, and then later on had further interaction. After being pushed to the ground, he made it (staggering, laterly) 50 yards up the road before collapsing completely.

    That said, it is probably possible to get a blood clot (as stated by another poster) and this take time to travel to the heart and cause the blockage. I guess it could take an hour?

  72. Anonymous Coward

    IPCC is a oxymoron

    I have never been able to understand the idea IPCC, which has to be one of the worst oxymoron's ever. Police investigating police is a joke! It just not possible to be objective. What is need to be done is:-

    1) Police complains service that isn't run by police.

    2) Investigations done by people who haven't been police offices in there past.

    Simple really, they need to get rid of this oxymoron IPCC.

  73. Martin Lyne


    Kudos for Sharpe references

  74. David Simpson

    we should remember

    that we all have the common law right to use force even to the point of lethal force against anyone who obstructs us going about our lawful business and that the police aren't exempt from this right so if so obnoxious plod gets in your way politely inform him that if he continues you'll exercise your common law right to kill him and go on your way.

    Until the police remember they are my servant not the government's I'll do all I can to oppose them.

  75. Anonymous Coward

    Court of public opinion

    I wonder if Jacqui Smith or Harriet Hardman will care to publicly state what the "court of public opinion" think of this officer's actions...

  76. peter tomlinson

    I, too, am sorry for him and his family

    This didn't have to happen and he wasn't at fault. This is more police state goverment in action.

    To the thoughtless, gutless wankers who think that this was either justified or OK, it wasn't; it never will be. Be thankful I'm not right there.

  77. Anonymous Coward

    @AC, Re: Police State

    "Those of you whining about the UK being a "Police State" ought to go and try organising a demo in a country that actually does have a police state. I'm thinking maybe Zimbabwe, China etc."

    Okay. We'll wait until it's too late before we start voicing opposition.

    "I think the Met's tactics of containment of protestors, some of whom are engaging in criminal activity, is much more preferable than firing tear gas / plastic bullets / real bullets or running them over with tanks."

    Yeah, it's not like anyone died or anything.

    Seriously, where shall we draw the line? At what point do we say, "Enough!"? Do we wait until someone dies? We've already got there! Do we wait until innocent people are rounded up along with violent criminals? That's what the police were doing!

    What's your relationship with the police, fellow Anonymous Coward? Something to hide? Something to fear?

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who Watches The People Who Aren't Allowed To Watch?

    << Police forces have regularly been slammed for intrusive filming of protesters >>

    << their argument will be strengthened if and when they produce their own footage of the events leading up to Tomlinson's death. So far they haven't. >>

    Is it just me, or is there a bit of an inconsistency here? It looks to me as though what the Reg is asking for is a situation in which the public (protesters, in this case) are allowed to film the police, but the police are not allowed to film the public. (This is putting aside the principle, so long out of fashion, that police and public are the same thing.)

    Isn't the fairest situation to allow them to film each other? That way there are two copies, and it's pointless for either side to employ any form of video manipulation or careful editing.

    Oh, and AC (08:57):

    << What is need to be done is:-

    1) Police complains service that isn't run by police. >>

    Like the IPCC, you mean?

  79. Mithvetr

    @ 'Silly question'

    It's perfectly possible to suffer a heart attack purely as a result of emotional stress without any physical contact at all. If the deceased had a history of high blood pressure or some sort of cardiac condition, it's not unfeasible that just having a heated argument with someone could trigger the necessary physical reactions. And as Oz says, the end result might well not be immediate.

    If nothing else it's a sobering reminder of just how fragile human beings can be. It'd be nice if our perpetually angry British people, whether police officers or not, could learn to consider that before indulging in their oh-so-manly confrontational bullshit. (Yeah; like most of them give a shit whether their victim lives or dies...)

  80. Anonymous Coward

    @AC, re Police State (part 2)

    "Those of you whining about the UK being a "Police State" ought to go and try organising a demo in a country that actually does have a police state. I'm thinking maybe Zimbabwe, China etc."

    Try going on a protest march or demonstration that has not been okay'ed in advance by your local Council and Police farce and you can be arrested for unlawful gathering. Or try protesting in front of the Houses of Parliament or New Scotland Yard - especially without prior "approval". Victims of this include a group of motorcyclists all stopping at the same roadside cafe on the way back from a biker meet and a teenagers' party after an anonymous caller allegedly rang up to complain about the noise - the 'caller' and trhe noise problem only being mentioned after the Plods had completely failed to find any drugs at the party.

    And since the Great British public can now be held incommunicado for up to 28 days if Plod can convince a judge they should be allowed to do it, your comparison to Zimbabwe or China is not quite as bad as you make out - at least neither of those countries make war on others to protect the populations "liberty" while suppressing their own...

    "I think the Met's tactics of containment of protestors, some of whom are engaging in criminal activity, is much more preferable than firing tear gas / plastic bullets / real bullets or running them over with tanks."

    Even more preferable would be if the Met could actually grab the ones "engaging in criminal activity" rather than just confining everyone into an increasingly small area and wondering why some people - especially those not actually involved in the protest but who were in the area for other reasons - get a little unhappy.

    Mine's the one with the ID number removed and the collar turned up...

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