Yet again a policeman caught on camera abusing the public is let off. Today the CPS ruled that, despite video of the policeman pushing news vendor Ian Tomlinson to the ground and beating him with a truncheon at last year's G20 demonstration in the City (London), there will be no prosecution. Not manslaughter, not assault, nothing.
C4 News quoted Tomlinson's son as saying, "We were fighting a losing battle they were on the policeman's side from the beginning. This guy will be back on the beat."
It's as if, with a string of similar cases of killings and assaults by the police, the government has declared war on the public. They know that the present Tory scorched earth policy of savage cuts in services — where we are being made to pay for the bankers' mess while the rich remain untouched, and where no reputable economist will say that this is justified — will result in protest. We now know what police action to expect.
The Tomlinson case serves as a further warning to us that challenges to the government (this one not even elected by the majority of the electorate) will not be tolerated.
One excuse for today's shock decision is the contradictory conclusions from two pathologists. The first, Dr Freddy Patel, said that Tomlinson's death was caused by a heart attack. It was only when the family called in their own expert that the real cause — abdominal haemorrhage — was revealed.
This is not the first time one of Patel's verdicts has been discredited after he has provided results which have turned out to be favourable to certain parties. In 2004, my friend Valerie Chang lost her brother Richard in what was termed a "suicide" at the Abbey National headquarters following an interrogation by his bosses.
The Chang family state:
Richard Chang, 47, senior risk analyst died tragically at work after a fall of over 80 feet, 13 July 2004 in a suspicious suicide at Abbey National plc headquarters, Euston, London following an interrogation organised by senior directors and conducted by Kroll Associates. The incident happened shortly before Abbey National was taken over by Banco Santander.
The pathologist, Dr Freddy Patel who conducted the post-mortem for Richard Chang is under investigation by the General Medical Council. The Fitness to Practise Panel will inquire into allegations that, whilst working as a Consultant Forensic Pathologist Dr Mohmed Patel’s conduct in carrying our four post mortems was irresponsible and not of the standard expected of a competent Home Office registered forensic pathologist and that in one case his conduct was liable to bring the profession into disrepute. He is accused of giving "questionable" verdicts on the causes of deaths, several of which later turned out to be suspicious.
The CPS must have known that Patel is under investigation by the GMC and yet they dragged their heels all this time. Will we be told why?
UPDATE: Harpy Marx reminds me that today is the fifth anniversary of Jean de Menezes's killing by police. The Labour Representation Committee has issued this reaction to the Tomlinson decision. And Harpy carries a press release from INQUEST.
UPDATE 2: Friday 23rd July 2010. Pressure is on Coroner Professor Paul Matthews to stand down from the inquest as it has emerged that, not only did he appoint Dr Freddy Patel at the request of the Metropolitan Police (a not disinterested party at the time), who was already discredited but a safe pair of hands, he also banned the IPPC from attending the post mortem. On top of which, he failed to advise Ian Tomlinson's family of their right to attend or send a representative, or inform them of the date and time of the procedure. See also Advice to charge police officer over Ian Tomlinson death ignored. And Are the Police above the law?