Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/673/12149
Disabled protester - "inadvertently struck with a police baton"
By a disabled activist
Disabled activists are outraged by the Metropolitan Police's directorate of professional standards decision to reject a complaint by Jody McIntyre after he was batoned and deliberately pulled out of his wheelchair twice during a demonstration against Con-Dem tuition fees rises last December.
The Met has admitted "there is evidence that Jody McIntyre was inadvertently struck with a police baton" but this was according to them "justifiable and lawful given the volatile and dangerous situation occurring at the location".
More amazingly, the Met says the "removal from his wheelchair was also justifiable given the officers perceived risk to Jody McIntyre", ie they were protecting him!
While the Met can argue Jody was at the front of a large group of demonstrators during the first incident, a grainy video shows the opposite was true during the second one. Jody had very few people around him when he was pulled from his chair and dragged across the road by a police officer.
When a group of young people came forward to protest, the officer can be seen being pulled away by his own colleagues.
In a Guardian interview, Jody responded to the Met's investigation: "This decision confirms the corruption and complete ineptitude within the Metropolitan police. Firstly, we should be asking ourselves why they investigate themselves? And secondly, for them to say there is no evidence to support my complaints of assault when there was video evidence viewed by hundreds of thousands of people is laughable. What more evidence to you need?"
No state investigation into the violent policing of the student demonstrations can be trusted. But the point needs to be made forcibly to the police that the treatment meted out to Jody would have led to life-threatening injuries if he had had a different impairment, such as a neuromuscular one or brittle bones.
Also, the members of the Met's Disability Independent Advisory Group should hang their heads in shame for advising that 'guidance should be developed around the most appropriate way to move a wheelchair user should it become necessary' rather than condemning Jody's treatment outright.
We demand an independent inquiry involving disabled people's organisations, the trade unions and young people's organisations. As well as investigating Jody's treatment such an inquiry should also challenge the policing and subsequent charging of student protesters.
In The Socialist 1 June 2011:
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
National Shop Stewards Network
Socialist Party NHS campaigning
Socialist Party workplace news
Youth fight for jobs and education
Socialist Party feature