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Thread: Profoundly disappointed and sad.

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    Re: Profoundly disappointed and sad.

    And please don't get the idea that this was a single 'bad apple' copper.

    Apart from anything else why do coppers have to swear so much?

    Read this for example (extract from the Times):

    Last week, after spending seven hours as a journalist locked into an increasingly small cordon, after watching police officers charge with truncheons and shields and after watching peaceful protesters retreat bloodied, I wrote about my experience.

    I claimed in this paper that the police action – detaining thousands of innocent people without charge, and then systematically squeezing them over a period of hours – seemed guaranteed to produce violence. I argued that many of the police involved seemed not just prepared, but eager, for a fight.

    After the article was published, Sara McAlpine – who said that she had happened to pass a demonstration the following day to mark Mr Tomlinson’s death – sent me an e-mail. There is no way to corroborate her account, except that it tallies with so many others. “This is what I witnessed myself in 15 minutes standing near the Bank of England,” she said. “The police split the protest into two groups on two cornering streets, not letting anyone leave. Suddenly, a policeman threw a punch at the face of a male, who raised his right arm to try and block the punch (no retaliation, merely a block). Immediately, three officers threw him up against the scaffolding, knocked him to the ground and beat him with their batons. They then carried him horizontally away.

    “A photographer on the spectator side of the cordon tried to capture it. An officer ran over and grabbed him, trying to force him into the cordon. He escaped but the officer came after him and squared up to him (who was right next to me at this point) shouting, ‘Do you want a piece of this, huh, do you want to come and get some?’ He was then called back by another officer.

    “A few minutes later, a girl no more than 10 metres away from me, who was on the front line of the cordon, was suddenly shoved up against a wall and kicked repeatedly by a policeman. He left her as she stayed cowering.”

    “At that point, five police surrounded us (as quite a crowd had amassed in horror by now) and told us that we would be arrested if we didn't move along. One guy said he had a right to stand there and watch and the policeman threatened him in no uncertain terms that he would either be arrested or thrown in the cordon if he didn't move. He did. I left.”

    Hers was not the only e-mail. Steven McManus, who says he is a barrister and a former special constable, was in Threadneedle Street on Wednesday. “At around 6pm I was outside the Royal Exchange chatting with some officers. I was between the officers and the protesers. The atmosphere was calm and non-confrontational. I shared a few jokes with one officer and was just generally chatting.

    “A short while later the line began to move forward. The officers began to shout that we should all move back. I turned towards the crowd and began to move off in that direction. As I was walking away I was struck from behind by a baton and pushed forward towards the steps of Bank Underground.

    “I was more than a little shocked at having been hit. The officer who had struck me was one I had been chatting to moments earlier, who knew about my City Police connection, and to whom I had my back turned. I remonstrated with the officer as to why he had hit me – his reply being: “F*** off, move back”. He said he could not help but be reminded of the manner of the attack on Tomlinson.

  2. Thanks:

    Astro (9th-April-2009)

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    Registered User David Franklin's Avatar
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    Re: Profoundly disappointed and sad.

    Quote Originally Posted by JiveLad View Post
    And please don't get the idea that this was a single 'bad apple' copper.
    The thing is, even if you accept the 'bad apple' theory when it comes to the active violence, I think it's becoming very hard to argue that most police officers aren't willing to perjure themselves to protect a fellow officer who oversteps the mark.

    Hers was not the only e-mail. Steven McManus, who says he is a barrister and a former special constable, was in Threadneedle Street on Wednesday.
    I don't know if it's because this all took place in the City of London (and of course it's partly because it had become a media event), but looking at the witness reports, you notice there are a lot of professional people with no obvious axe to grind who aren't going to be easy to discredit or shut up. I mean, good luck telling a barrister "no, you didn't actually see that, did you sir?"

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    Re: Profoundly disappointed and sad.

    *Disclaimer* I am not referring to this incident specifically in this post, which seems to me to be fairly blatant abuse *end disclaimer*

    I have a great deal of sympathy in general with police when it comes to accusations of police brutality, especially when it’s related to restraining or “moving on” an uncooperative person.

    In New Zealand at least, media reported accusations of police brutality are fairly rare which is something I put down to the fact that we have a largely unarmed police force. When we do get them though it tends to be the type of complaint where one “victim” is beset upon by five police officers to restrain them while they are being “co-operative”. One person being dragged to the floor by five officers looks like an overwhelming and unjustified use of force to the layman, but it’s the safest method of restraint for everyone involved – including the person being restrained.

    It is extremely difficult to restrain a highly motivated person with only one or two people safely, and this is (I think – I can’t quote any sources off the top of my head) where most injuries to the public occur. The police are often damned if they do something and damned if they don’t.

    Once weapons are involved (as they were in this case) the force multiplier their use provides makes things much nastier if they go wrong, and ironically carrying them makes it more difficult for the police to move people effectively and legally if required. It’s rather like tying one of the police offers hands behind their back if they’re being very conscientious about doing the right thing (you have to carry the weapon after all, and keep it away from someone who might want to hurt you with it), or giving them a hammer and pointing them in the direction of something looking vaguely like a nail if they’re not.

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    Re: Profoundly disappointed and sad.

    Quote Originally Posted by under par View Post
    I am saddened profoundly that this thread fails shamelessly to recognise that 40% of the officers these days are women.

    You have all to a man, ASSUMED it is a male officer... how it saddens me... it may well be a man but why do you assume it so readily.???
    The guy has come forward now - so think we can be pretty sure it wasn't a lady.

    See eg. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/ap...n-police-video


    And while we're at it, the leader in the Independent today is headed "Unaccountable, secretive and out of control". It's about the need for reform of the police.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion...l-1666144.html
    Last edited by JiveLad; 9th-April-2009 at 05:34 AM.

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    Re: Profoundly disappointed and sad.

    Quote Originally Posted by JiveLad View Post
    The guy has come forward now - so think we can be pretty sure it wasn't a lady.
    We could all SEE it was a male there was no assumption involved. UP is stirring...I mean "how it saddens me", c'mon, get a grip

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    Re: Profoundly disappointed and sad.

    Somewhat to my surprise I wrote "common assault leading to death is murder", which is wrong. I intended to write "common assault leading to death is manslaughter"; the typo is evidence of how rattled I was feeling when I started the thread.

    I read this morning that the officer involved has identified himself; that took guts, and kudos to him. Of course he would probably have been identified sooner than later, but still.

    I quite agree with the description of 'thug' in respect of this behaviour. It seems like the guy was inebriated (I must emphasise that he was perfectly entitled to have been drinking, if indeed he had) and certainly it seems he was being truculent. The proper course is for the policeman to say: "we need to make some progress here and we cannot leave you behind us. If you don't get a move on you'll be arrested."

    Whacking him with a baton and shoving him to the ground was not within the range of acceptable responses. That would have been a crime regardless of what happened to Mr Tomlinson.

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    Re: Profoundly disappointed and sad.

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Shnikov View Post
    I quite agree with the description of 'thug' in respect of this behaviour. It seems like the guy was inebriated (I must emphasise that he was perfectly entitled to have been drinking, if indeed he had) and certainly it seems he was being truculent. The proper course is for the policeman to say: "we need to make some progress here and we cannot leave you behind us. If you don't get a move on you'll be arrested."

    Whacking him with a baton and shoving him to the ground was not within the range of acceptable responses. That would have been a crime regardless of what happened to Mr Tomlinson.
    On which topic, it's interesting to listen to this discussion involving Peter Smyth, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation:

    Quote Originally Posted by interviewer
    You look at the video, you realise Mr Tomlinson was not a protester, it doesn't really look like he was hell bent on anything, he wasn't wearing a mask, and ... I dunno, it almost looks like an unprovoked assault, really, doesn't it?
    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Smyth
    I can't comment on the incident, and I won't. Sometimes it isn't clear, as a police officer, who is a police officer and who is not. I know it's a generalization, but anybody in that part of the town at that time, the assumption would be that they are part of the protest. I accept that that's perhaps not a clever assumption, but it's a natural one
    Is Peter Smyth really saying "If he'd been a protestor, it would have been OK"? If so, I think he needs to go.

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    Re: Profoundly disappointed and sad.

    Quote Originally Posted by David Franklin View Post
    Is Peter Smyth really saying "If he'd been a protestor, it would have been OK"? If so, I think he needs to go.
    Is it a natural assumption that everyone is a protestor in an area during a protest? Only when you are an idiot surely? Perhaps in the countryside he would have a point, but in the city of London people walk the streets all the time, you know, to get to places....

    Also I like this; "it isn't clear, as a police officer, who is a police officer and who is not", which has the implication of "we won't hit other police officers if they look like police officers, but anyone else is bloody asking for it"

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    Registered User John S's Avatar
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    Re: Profoundly disappointed and sad.

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Shnikov View Post
    Somewhat to my surprise I wrote "common assault leading to death is murder", which is wrong. I intended to write "common assault leading to death is manslaughter"; the typo is evidence of how rattled I was feeling when I started the thread.
    I'm not having a go at Barry, mistakes happen when someone is under stress.

    However, the stress felt by Barry, or by anyone else reading about the Ian Tomlinson incident, would have been trifling compared with the stress felt by a police officer (maybe young, maybe inexperienced) when in the middle of a demonstration where missiles were (allegedly) being thrown, the aim of many of the demonstrators was to bring down the capitalist society, and everyone's adrenaline levels had been hyped up - not least by the media who were talking the whole affair up as though it was going to be a warzone (“Anarchists plan City riot!” said a headline in the Daily Mail.)

    And as we know from every conflict, in the fog of war mistakes happen - people are killed by "friendly fire", as are innocent children and people sitting in their homes. We have to remember that the police did not organise this demonstration and (probably) did not throw the first missiles - perhaps their actions in crowd control may have provoked reactions, but that is with hindsight - they were entitled to believe from the pre-publicity that some demonstrators were out to cause serious damage ("Hang the Bankers" etc), although I am sure the vast majority of the marchers were peaceful and the footage I have seen shows the police and marchers walking calmly along the streets.

    I am NOT excusing the individual policeman's actions, and he should face due process of law to establish if he has acted illegally by using more force than was reasonable - on the face of it he did, but there may have been other circumstances of which we are not yet aware. Credit to the public and the media for bringing to public notice the incident (which would otherwise never have been heard of), but any trial should NOT be by the media or by the public.

    Nor do I approve of the "kettling" of crowds - in my view it represents illegal imprisonment - but it happens week in, week out at football matches and the police view (supported by the courts) is that it actually minimises damage to property and injuries to the public, albeit at the temporary loss of liberty for some people.

    Sadly, we are well down the road of turning our police into agents whose main function is to uphold the status quo, and incidents like this (and the many other similar ones that go unreported) are doing the work of the anarchists and those who want to destroy our society, by destroying public confidence in the police. I wish I knew the answer.

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    Re: Profoundly disappointed and sad.

    Quote Originally Posted by dave the scaffolder View Post
    The thing is there are some really horrible Police Officers. Now I was married to a WPC for 8 years and some of her colleagues were really marvelous people, whilst some of them, my ex wife included, were just racist bullies.
    DTS XXX XXX
    I think the attacker was a TA guy. Some of these guys are real thugs in and out of uniform.

    Yeah, well the police seem to have moved on from targetting racial minorities they can't get away with it so easily anymore, and have moved on to the whites.

    I would love to go and demonstrate peacefully, but I know that I'm likely to get physically hurt.

    Too risky master.

    But if the police played fair and followed the rules for policing demos, I would go.

    See, the brutallity works. How many others like me stay away out of fear? My freedom of Speech Right is being impinged on.

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    Cool Re: Profoundly disappointed and sad.

    Quote Originally Posted by Astro View Post
    I would love to go and demonstrate peacefully, but I know that I'm likely to get physically hurt.

    Too risky master.

    But if the police played fair and followed the rules for policing demos, I would go.

    See, the brutallity works. How many others like me stay away out of fear? My freedom of Speech Right is being impinged on.
    Nice try

    OK colour me confused here... one minute this forum is all - all dole claiming, pot noodle eating, traffic disrupting slackers with nothing better to do than protest should to be slaughtered as they made me late for work and bashed up an RBS - then this...!?

    Just so I can keep up - are we killing everyone today who thinks differently to us or is that just a weekend occurrence?

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    Registered User David Franklin's Avatar
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    Re: Profoundly disappointed and sad.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadful Scathe View Post
    Is it a natural assumption that everyone is a protestor in an area during a protest? Only when you are an idiot surely? Perhaps in the countryside he would have a point, but in the city of London people walk the streets all the time, you know, to get to places....
    Although I agree with you, I think faffing about whether he was mistaken as a protester misses the point. There is still a right to protest in this country, so a policy of "you can violently shove them to the ground if they're a protester" is, to my mind, illegal.

    Also I like this; "it isn't clear, as a police officer, who is a police officer and who is not", which has the implication of "we won't hit other police officers if they look like police officers, but anyone else is bloody asking for it"
    If you listen to the interview, there's a rather pathetic moment where he says, in outrage {paraphrased}: "Some of these protesters were obviously out for trouble, wearing masks to hide their faces".



    Hmmm.....

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    Re: Profoundly disappointed and sad.

    Quote Originally Posted by John S View Post
    However, the stress felt by Barry, or by anyone else reading about the Ian Tomlinson incident, would have been trifling compared with the stress felt by a police officer (maybe young, maybe inexperienced) when in the middle of a demonstration where missiles were (allegedly) being thrown,

    irrelevant in this case - from your comments, it doesnt sound like you watched the video. summary: man walks along street, gets whacked to ground by policeman from behind, has heart attack and dies. There was no stressful situation as far as the policeman was concerned, no missles were being thrown and the police were not in the middle of anything. Also, you make it sound like "stress felt" is a reason for attacking someone from behind - it isnt, and inexperience/youth is a terrible excuse, its up to police command to deploy suitable people.

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    Re: Profoundly disappointed and sad.

    Quote Originally Posted by Astro View Post

    See, the brutallity works. How many others like me stay away out of fear? My freedom of Speech Right is being impinged on.
    It's not just freedom of speech. When I was working in the City a few years ago during a protest - I was trying to get home from work, I approached a line of Police Riot officers, explained that I was trying to get home and asked to be let through, - they were polite to me and let me through.

    Would I do the same thing now? No, I don't think I would, I'd be fearful of getting beaten up.

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    Re: Profoundly disappointed and sad.

    Right, I've just watched the footage three times (twice in slow motion) and here's what it looks like to me.

    Ian Tomlinson looks drunk and he's clearly just wandering around getting in the way. The policeman, who's clearly got the hump from already having a day from hell, shoves him out of the way and Ian loses his footing and falls over. Ian then has a heart attack and dies.

    Should he be charged with manslaughter? IMO, absolutely not!

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    Re: Profoundly disappointed and sad.

    Freedom of speech is not the same thing as the freedom to demonstrate peacefully, and is far from any idea that we are allowed to disrupt the lives of others.

    The right to speak our mind does not mean that we can force others to listen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Astro View Post
    ... But if the police played fair and followed the rules for policing demos, I would go.
    If the demonstrators followed the rules there would be no problem, except that most demonstrations would only be seen by hundreds. To make TV it usually needs lawbreaking and conflict.

    See, the brutallity works. How many others like me stay away out of fear? My freedom of Speech Right is being impinged on.
    No, you are being deterred from engaging in a law breaking activity.

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    Registered User David Franklin's Avatar
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    Re: Profoundly disappointed and sad.

    Quote Originally Posted by bigdjiver View Post
    If the demonstrators followed the rules there would be no problem, except that most demonstrations would only be seen by hundreds.
    Lots of demonstrators would dispute that. Of course, they would say that, wouldn't they, particularly when they're obvious trouble makers like Tom Brake, Liberal Democrat MP for Carshalton & Wallington (there as an independent observer).

  19. 2 'Thanks':

    Astro (9th-April-2009), bigdjiver (9th-April-2009)

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    Re: Profoundly disappointed and sad.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Trouble View Post
    Right, I've just watched the footage three times (twice in slow motion) and here's what it looks like to me.

    Ian Tomlinson looks drunk and he's clearly just wandering around getting in the way. The policeman, who's clearly got the hump from already having a day from hell, shoves him out of the way and Ian loses his footing and falls over. Ian then has a heart attack and dies.

    Should he be charged with manslaughter? IMO, absolutely not!

    It was more than a shove in the back, look here:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle6061961.ece

    To me, the weapon was used against a single unarmed man who was walking away from a group of armed officers and dogs while his own hands were restricted from movement.

    He was attacked.


    Maybe he looked drunk because of A: he'd been walking all around London trying to find an unblocked path to get home for ages, compounded by B: his heart condition. I don't see how that justifies the attack.

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    Re: Profoundly disappointed and sad.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Trouble View Post
    Ian Tomlinson looks drunk and he's clearly just wandering around getting in the way. The policeman, who's clearly got the hump from already having a day from hell, shoves him out of the way and Ian loses his footing and falls over.
    There's footage that makes it pretty clear Ian was also hit by a baton.

    Ian then has a heart attack and dies.

    Should he be charged with manslaughter? IMO, absolutely not!
    What ever your opinion, the law is pretty clear on this. If it wasn't "reasonable force" (which I accept is open for debate), the charge should be manslaughter.

    An argument I saw somewhere else:

    Suppose there's a gang of us walking home from a football match. Our adrenaline's up, we want to get home. In front of us is a middle aged PC in poor health, dawdling and getting in the way. So I shove him from behind, and he falls to the ground and dies.

    Does anyone want to seriously argue that a civilian wouldn't get charged with manslaughter/murder in that scenario?

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    Re: Profoundly disappointed and sad.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil_dB View Post
    It was more than a shove in the back, look here:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle6061961.ece
    on the footage that I saw, you can't see the weapon being used, it just looks like a shove.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil_dB View Post
    To me, the weapon was used against a single unarmed man who was walking away from a group of armed officers and dogs while his own hands were restricted from movement. He was attacked
    Quite. But it's not as black and white as that is it? I think we have to wait for evidence from folk that were actually there to get the full picture. For example, we have no idea what Ian was doing 30 seconds before the attack.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil_dB View Post
    Maybe he looked drunk because of A: he'd been walking all around London trying to find an unblocked path to get home for ages, compounded by B: his heart condition. I don't see how that justifies the attack.
    I'm sorry, but there's a difference between walking around London trying to find an unblocked path, than getting in the thick of it and deliberately getting in the way, albeit in an unthreatening manner.

    I agree that this incident should be investigated but I can only imagine what a terrifying job the police do. I think charging him for manslaughter is wrong and I suspect will never happen.

    Quote Originally Posted by David Franklin View Post
    Suppose there's a gang of us walking home from a football match. Our adrenaline's up, we want to get home. In front of us is a middle aged PC in poor health, dawdling and getting in the way. So I shove him from behind, and he falls to the ground and dies.

    Does anyone want to seriously argue that a civilian wouldn't get charged with manslaughter/murder in that scenario?
    Completely different to the situation the police were in so totally Irrelevant, IMO.
    Last edited by Double Trouble; 9th-April-2009 at 01:20 PM.

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