Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/728/14930
Not-guilty verdict in Ian Tomlinson case
End police violence
"Police officers pelted with bricks as they help dying man" read the Evening Standard's headline on 2 April 2009.
The previous day the police had released the following statement about the death of a man at the G20 protests: "The officers [while trying desperately to save the man's life] took the decision to move him as a number of missiles - believed to be bottles - were being thrown at them." In subsequent statements they explained that the man had died of natural causes and that this death was 'not a surprise' to his family.
Had it not been for the amateur video footage which categorically proved this version of events to be a lie this probably would have remained the 'official' story.
The now famous footage showed how Ian Tomlinson, a newspaper seller trying to make his way home from work, was beaten with a truncheon and pushed to the ground in an unprovoked attack by a police officer. Numerous witnesses subsequently confirmed that first aid was administered to Tomlinson by protesters and not the police.
One might assume that this evidence would have been enough to ensure the swift prosecution and conviction of the officer involved. You might also expect a serious investigation into the way the police behaved more generally on the day. In particular, the 'kettling' of thousands of demonstrators for several hours and the police's routine use of violence were widely condemned.
But three years later, following the eventual prosecution of Simon Hayward - the officer who, according to the verdict reached at a coroners court in May, 'unlawfully killed' Tomlinson - no one has yet been convicted of his manslaughter.
The not guilty verdict reached on 19 July at Hayward's trial was an obvious blow to Ian Tomlinson's family. But it is also of far wider significance. This case, its attempted police cover up and eventual 'conclusion', laid bare for millions the total unaccountability of the police as well as something of their role in repression.
The Socialist Party calls for a genuinely independent inquiry into the events of 1 April 2009. This should include representatives of the trade unions, activists involved in the protest and members of the wider public. And we need police accountability through democratic control by working class people.
Defend the right to protest
As the capitalist class and their representatives in parliament attempt to make ordinary people pay a higher and higher price for their crisis, they take tougher and tougher measures to try and stem the swelling tide of opposition. For this reason it's vital that we defend the right to protest, and fight for an end to police brutality and repression.
Donate to the Socialist Party
Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal
The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.
- The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
- Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
- When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to click here to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.
- Click here to read our full appeal statement
- Click here for our coronavirus articles and reports
- Click here to join the Socialist Party
In The Socialist 25 July 2012:
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Stop NHS cuts & privatisation
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party review
Socialist Party appeal & news