Thursday, April 09, 2009

G20 Police Violence

Channel 4 has new footage of the assault on Ian Tomlinson, filmed, so it says, by a news crew. Go here, and click on the link "Is this the missing jigsaw piece?". It clearly shows the riot squad officer hitting Ian's leg with his baton, before pushing him.

This raises the question of why Channel 4 held on to this bit of footage for a whole seven days before releasing it. Combined with the initial refusal of BBC to take an interest in the other footage of the assault on Ian Tomlinson, it raises the question of to what extent TV news is biased against stories that show the police in a bad light.

Over on Liberal Conspiracy, an honest copper says, "Personally speaking if I had a police dog snapping at my heels along with a number of uniformed officers following me I wouldn’t be ambling along with my hands in my pocket. I would move".

As a demonstrator, (who was at the peaceful demonstration in Trafalgar Square, which has been rewarded with zero coverage) I would have moved, as you say. I would have been in the mood of the moment. But Ian was not a demonstrator, he was a Millwall supporter and worker trying to get home from work, and It is reasonable to imagine that he would have been fairly forthright and assertive about his right to walk the pavements of London.

The blame should not stop with the officer who attacked Ian. It should go up to whoever it was that ordered kettling, and who wound up the police with phrases like "we are up for it".

Remember that the violent attack on Ian by police was not isolated. At the G20 Climate Camp, peaceful environmentalists gathered outside the offices of the European Climate Trading market, to signal their desire for meaningful action on climate change. On the same page are links to showing the peaceful nature of the G20 Climate Camp, and then a video of what happened when the police waded in striking out at peaceful demonstrators who had their their arms in the air chanting "Peace not Riot".

The policing of the G20 demonstration must lead to a radical review of the police service as a whole, of police tactics in general, of kettling in particular, of the anti-terror legislation, and of the way in which Government responds, or does not respond, to the views and opinions of the people, who are the ultimate source of power in a democracy.

We also need a review of the way in which the media operate in this country, with its endemic tendency (with a few good exceptions, the Guardian for one, and the Metro, interestingly, seems to be open to the truth sometimes) to side with the Authoritarian Tendency in Whitehall.


Green Gordon said...

The camera was broken by a protester (hence the delay), that's what Krishnan said on Twitter.

DocRichard said...

Thanks green Gordon, that may excuse C4, but it still leaves BBC news sense in the dock.