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back to article Who snapped first?

Last week's damp squib G20 protests have finally thrust an issue into the spotlight - just not the one the organizers or the state might have expected. Videos of the moments preceding the death of 47-year-old Ian Tomlinson on his way home from work emerged in quick succession this week. The Guardian was the first to publish …

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Anonymous Coward

I say...

I say that if there is to be public surveillance via CCTV, it must be by an authority completely independent of the police, even to the point of being the remit of an entirely different cabinet minister. Furthermore, "cop-cams" should be under said authority's remit -- officers should be returning the cameras to the public surveillance authority's local representative and only they should be able to download images. Police can get a copy, but under no circumstances should they handle master versions.

The police have not shown themselves in the best of lights when investigating their own and too much evidence has gone missing in the past.

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@the cops

Up shit creek in a barbed wire canoe!

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Do we really expect anything to happen?

A few years ago, police, acting on bad intel, shot and killed an innocent man in cold blood without so much as a warning. They got off scot free - the jury was even told that they couldnt return a verdict of unlawful killing (so it was a case of any verdict as long as its innocent).

Now, one of them pushed a man, and later he had a heart attack. What makes you think anything will happen about this? Investigators mignt not even be able to prove that the push led directly to the heart attack, let alone that the police had no good reason for pushing him.

Like last time, some senior policeman will probably retire to the brilliant state pension that we pay for with our tax pounds, and thats it. The policeman who actually did the crime will be promoted from Common Thug to Gangster, and all will continue as it was.

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Anonymous Coward

heh

"Several police officers, including the officer himself have come forward. It is our intention to interview this officer as soon as possible."

Having spent some time getting their stories streight to create more then enough ambiguity over the situation so that none of them will get more then a short "be more careful next time lads, and make sure if you arn't you get everyones cameras sharpish, tell 'em it's anti terrorism - okay?"

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Black Helicopters

Wrong !!!

"For their part, the authorities will argue that they have a duty to keep tabs on suspicious characters pointing cameras at sensitive buildings, and still need CCTV and cam-toting cops to prevent public disorder and bring those responsible for justice."/

Er no, it gives the police more reason not to allow the public own cameras, have freedom of speech etc etc. It''s incidents like this that erode our freedom not cause blushes amoungst the authorities.

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Coat

So

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Seriously, the police should never question anyone taking pictures of them in public, there is simply no excuse for it in unless they admit that they are here to oppress rather than protect.

Mine's the one with an original copy under the arm.

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Anonymous Coward

candid camera

of course there would be loads more photos of the numerous police assaults on the day if they hadn't been threatening to smash peoples cameras and phones if they didn't put them away, this includes tourists as well as protesters and went on quite far from the most serious carnage

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Silver badge

Sudden silence from the government

Has anyone noticed that New Labour have gone very quiet on this all of a sudden? Especially no one seems to be willing to talk about their 'snap a copper and your nicked' provisions. Will any of them be brave enough to say that this legislation needs to be revoked in order that some measure of confidence in that police can be held accountable?

Also, nice to see the Sun spinning the police line that being drunk (allegedly) is a good enough reason to be clubbed and shoved to the ground. The Met and City of London Police might want to check out Smith v. Leech Brain & Co., [1962] 2 QB 405 and the 'eggshell skull' defence.

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Bronze badge

@I say...

Never heard that one before. Sounds like a damn good idea.

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I would have done the same

I've seen the footage like most people. Some people are sticking up for him claiming he was doing nothing and was innocent, but in my opinion, it looks like he's deliberately walking slowly in front of the officer trying to piss him off. If he was, I'd have shoulder charged him out of the way too. Just a shame the guy who did it was wearing a police uniform.

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Tom

How

How did a piece about police officers putting down violent protest turn into commentry on being able to film children?!

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Not telling the whole story

Given that there's apparently video evidence of the man 85 minutes from the main video doesn't that kinda prove that this man wasn't just simply walking back from work to catch a millwall game?

There's been a big media frenzy over the actions of the police but what was he actually doing? He was hit by the police then, 85 minutes later he was hit again by the police and had a heart attack. Being the innocent victim caught in the crossfire once is more than possible, being caught twice? You'd have thought after the first incident he would've tried to get home ASAP.

Not excusing the police but the facts on both sides don't add up. Remains for the coroner to decide if his heart attack was due to his fitness or if the police's actions directly caused it I suppose. I am interested to know what went on between the two videos though.

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Flame

@Wrong!!!

"It''s incidents like this that erode our freedom not cause blushes amoungst the authorities."

Do you actually believe the crap you just typed?

It's incidents like this that show why such freedoms are necessary, so that we can hold our public servants to account.

As for "blushes", I'd hope that a police officer who may have been responsible for an innocent man's death would do a little more than blush.

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Anonymous Coward

Just a few more weeks ...

. ..and they' ll have fabricated some shonky half assed footage akin to that of the 7/7 "bombers" -

enough for most people who will already have moved on to the next big Headlie. ...

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IT Angle

One can only hope

If it turns out that this attack was unprovoked (and from the evidence seen so far, it looks entirely possible) that the guardian of the peace that attacked the man with the baton and then pushed him to the ground (while his hands were in his pockets) is charged with manslaughter.

Only then will I believe that there is still some justice in the UK.

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Black Helicopters

question to the moderatrix

Is it me or when we're talking about UK law enforcement on these forums, we see much more AC posting than otherwise... If verified, it kind of proves that the tactics work in reducing free speech, doesn't it? Let's just hope that vulture central is not raided to lift the veil...

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Coat

remember hillsborough

The Sun have a bit of a rep for supporting police who may be in a bit of bother - Hilsborough springs to mind....

Watch the IPCC do a fearless job of investigating this tragic event, just like De Menezes, Babar Ahmad, Harry Stanley, Christopher Alder, Roger Slyvester and so on.

My favourite bit will be when the IPCC ignore the video evidence as the witnesses are too subjective unlike the 'professional' police who at this point are colluding/conferring to write their identical statements

Mines the one with the standard "procedures will be changed & lessons have been learnt" B***s**t logo.

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Unhappy

Sad serious of events

It is more than probable that a blow to the leg or indeed any part of the body could induce brusing, what is less well known is that it can also cause blood clots and they can cause strokes or indeed heat attacks. If that was the cause then its a sad serious of events, indeed any death is.

The police probably under alot of work stress (ie having to work very focused for more than 5 minutes) could of seen some chap walking infront of them and with his hands in his pockets could of been deemed as an obstruction. indeed if he had headphones on he wouldn;t of heard a thing. One should also consider that it may of been somewhat noisy so any if at all shouts or comments from the police to move out of there way probably wouldn't of been heard.

You can easily see how they would deem such a person after a emotionaly long day as someby being clever and slowing them down by walking in a lackluster manner infront of them and as such can see how they could of taken the action they did, and for it to pan out as it did.

One thing though I'm sure on is that they certainly did not wish this innocent gentlemans death or indeed wish any injury upon him. But that dosn't distract from the fact from a person deing.

The only concelation we can find currently is that some of the police involved have come forward soon as this issue was brought to light and that there was already a investigation into the circumstances leading upto the untimely death.

Either way I'm probably feeling as sorry for the family as well as those involved, fairly sure neither wished for this.

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Uh oh..

The real problem the police face is if that there's no way politicians will sanction banning photographers in public places. Even when it comes to the most sensitive buildings, such as the Prime Minister's residence.

While we may ponder how many secret documents captured outside Downing Street it will take before someone recognises the value of a 10p cardboard folder, there are vital issues at stake.

Obviously the aim here is to look extremely cool and trendy carrying "Top Secret" documents as you enter No. 10. The girls find this particularly impressive. So the problem is obviously this. If we force the mandatory use of folders, we risk high ranking fat people looking ordinary. Plus if we ban the press from taking photos in public places, how do important-looking people get to show off how important they are?

So you see it's quite a conundrum and until they work out a solution, snap happy members of the public will unfortunately be allowed to continue photographing the police. It that means a few good men have to explain why they're killing other members of the public, sobeit. It's not like a few days in court-mandated sensitivity training is going to do any harm is it?

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Anonymous Coward

Police snappers at teenage animal cruelty demo ..

Sometime last year I visited a UK city .. I can't strictly remember if it was Oxford or Chester but that does not matter. Anyway, there was a small protest going on in the high-street, nothing major around half a dozen teenage girls and a couple of adults and they had a stall and some posters and were campaigning against animal cruelty (experimentation I think). Fair enough I thought and in the great tradition of British protesting not many people were taking notice of these young girls shouting slogans and asking for people to sign a petition.

However, I then noticed that directly opposite these 8 or so people were two uniformed officers, keeping an eye on them ... however one had a video camera and one had a very big and expensive looking digital SLR.

I stood there for a number of minutes and wondered what a complete waste of money having these two chaps hanging around what was a perfectly respectible and problem free protest. The protesters would have already been caught on CCTV, had nothing to hide but the thought that the police were nannying these few people and videoing and photographing them just made me feel ashamed of what our Government have turned us all in to ... potential terrorists.

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Stop

If you've got nothing to hide...

...RUN! RUN! They're coming after you!

The truth will never come out of course, but at least there was a chance of the innocent (for he was only walking home from work, so says the Met themselves) victim might have avoided his fatal heart attack. Imagine if the cops had their much craved tasers, then Mr Tomlinson might not have gotten the chance to collapse a second time under his own power.

"Verbal: Fuggin' cops"

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Paris Hilton

@AC 15:22

"Er no, it gives the police more reason not to allow the public own cameras, have freedom of speech etc etc. It''s incidents like this that erode our freedom not cause blushes amoungst [sic] the authorities."

So we should let the police get away with it if they kill someone so they don't take our cameras away? Huh? That doesn't make any sense to me.

<- Or am I being retarded..?

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Joke

YouTube

If passive resistance worked in India, imagine what live updates to a streaming video website from a mobile phone being waved at a Police officer wielding a baton can do?

Cause some good laughs in offices across the world most likely.

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Anonymous Coward

Riot police

In the Netherlands, some time around 2000 I think it was the Greens who proposed to have each member of a riot police squad wear uniforms with numbers on them, so that if necessary it would be possible to trace who actually 'behaved badly'. However, this proposal was ignored, partly because of the possible risk of 'let's all gang up on number 23 over there!' behavior.

Not sure if this would be (part of) a solution?

On the other hand, i don't think stuff like this will be going away anytime soon (on both sides, i.e. rioters and 'the law'). I saw some footage of a Dutch trauma helicopter taking off in a residential area, while one of the onlookers was throwing a rock at the rotors of that helicopter... People around him laughing. And the comments of the person behind the camera was noteworthy too: 'come on,crash! Damnit!'.

If that kind of attitude and behavior becomes more common, it will be very difficult for the Police to operate. Because it will always be the Police versus the Bad Apples, trying to get rid of the Bad Apples. But with the 'Moral Majority' crying out over 'trampled-on personal freedom', that will be very difficult indeed. Those rioters were wrong in the first place, right? But maybe i'm missing the point here...

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Flame

I am supremely confident...

that the authorities investigating this will leave no stone unturned and no avenue of investigation untried until these coppers are found not guilty.

Phhht :-(

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Black Helicopters

And the Police Officers response when interviewed was...

"No Comment" - as advised by my solicitor.

Makes for a swift and complete investigation.

Unfortunately, it lets down the vast majority of police officers who try, in the face of a public that (in some areas) has an unhealthy distrust and many influential management members that have little but contempt for the people they serve and manage, to do a good job.

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Coat

I hope there will be a conviction soon

So this foreign terrorist (fund manager=same thing) illegally photographed one of our fine boys in blue who was either in fear of his life from a vicious football hooligan / helping an elderly gentlemen out of the way of vicious protesters (depends if you a sun/telegraph reader).

I hope they get this scum off our streets soon.

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JMB

Comments on: Who snapped first?

You can be sure that if the police CCTV backed up any of the various versions of the events that the police PR machine have put out then it would have been quickly released or leaked to the press.

The lack of official pictures suggests that it does not support any of their versions though there must be a good chance that it will have disappeared or wiped in error.

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All aboard

and slowly the bandwagon crawls into town. Still some spare seats up front for a couple of MP's, and an 'expert'.

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Silver badge

All the more reason to use cameras on mobile phones

If you're anywhere near a demonstration make sure you're using the camera on your mobile, and transmitting the pictures to a safe place as soon as they're taken. With a bit of luck you'll even have a photo of the plod who steals and destroys the camera.

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Anonymous Coward

CyberSub

I think you meant to type "or".

"stopping paedophiles snapping children of preventing terrorist reconnaissance."

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Stop

Sorry but...

... I'm with the Police on this one.

From what I saw of the video evidence, as an "innocent passerby" maybe if he was passing by a bit quicker he might not have attracted the attention of the police in the first place. Could he perhaps have been deliberately dawdling along with his hands in his pockets while the police were trying to clear the area in order to obstruct & wind them up? Surely not...

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Black Helicopters

Now we can be absolutely certain

... that personal use of Cameras will in future require a license if used in a public place. Violators will have their equipment confiscated, their computers seized [for evidence], and their DNA and prints taken because all of this will be a cautionable offence.

Remember, you read it here!

Copter - cos they watch us be we're not allowed to watch them

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The Met experiences panopticon blowback

I have just gotta say "Panopticon Blowback" is just the best phrase about the police state that I have ever heard.

Somehow I will have to work it into a conversation.

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Unhappy

Right to protest

It appears that if you want to take part in a peaceful protest in Britain today, you should expect to be beaten and intimidated by heavily armed, masked police. What amazes me is even the liberal media seemed to be scared into making apologies for the police conduct during the G20 protests, until the footage of this poor man appeared.

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Predictable

"The Sun's pictures were accompanied by claims that Tomlinson was drunk, had been pushed aside after refusing to move out of the path of a police van, and did not seem to be intent on heading home."

I've been waiting for this to come out. They did the same thing when de Menezes was shot. Release enough little rumours and slurs on the character of the dead bloke to ensure that 51% or more of Daily Mail readers conclude that "well, he may not have done that but he probbly did sumfink else so he deserves what he got".

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If...

If the police fudge this - and knowing the joys of the (I)PCC first hand you can bet they will then they've had it. The sole reason that the police hold any power is they have the respect of the populace - this is how it works. It only takes enough people to realise that the police are just a bunch of playground bullies in blue uniforms and they are in a world of trouble. If the people dont respect them the police are just targets - it doesnt matter how many truncheons you wield it'll make the storming of Badajoz look like a walk in the park (and the acting will likely be as bad) - Bags me the Nock Gun...

This is a murder - plain and simple. This man was not involved in the G20 crapola - and the way the police were acting he was just an easy target for their frustrations. If this crime is taken as anything other than a murder then its another nail in the police's collective coffin. It'll match the one regarding the 16 year old girl who was hit and killed by a police officer driving at 91mph in a 30mph zone - just because, it appears, he could.

Just for once PTB's deal with this properly - or it'll come back to haunt you.

My deepest respects for the Tomlinson family, my thoughts are with you.

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CCTV

According to the IPCC none of the CCTV cameras in the area were switched on at the time. And I thought people were being too cynical when they said this would happen.

Incredible isn't it, the heart of the most surveilled city in the world (with the possible exception of downtown Pyongyang) with tens of billions of Pounds worth of property about to be the centre of a huge demo - and no one thinks of putting a tape in the machine?

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Silly question,

but how does one get a heart attack from getting pushed an hour earlier? I cannot for the life of me understand this. Anyone with a medical degree care to shed some light on the subject?

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A title is required.

"...their argument will be strengthened if and when they produce their own footage of the events leading up to Tomlinson's death. So far they haven't."

Quite. The footage and pics will likely have been "accidentally" deleted, or subject to some creative archiving.

Hopefully it won't matter, given the evidence that *did* make it to light.

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Black Helicopters

Trust?

Seems the issue will be trust after this, perhaps the CCTV systems and Police body/hat cam's will also be evidence in this case...What ever the truth, more and more people don't trust the Police.

Still THEY (H.O./MET Comissioner) don't trust the MET with TASER's, with good reason maybe?

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Title of some sort

I almost posted to your story last week about the Met's own warnings of anticipated police-v-crusty mayhem, that it was nice of them to let us know in advance they were going to beat up protesters - unlike in Edinburgh where it was not advertised in advance, but peaceful marchers were herded into suburban streets and beaten up anyway by the Met's finest on tour.

Unfortunately I didn't, so I can't say "I told you so" ....

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Flame

Hidden Cameras

When people are filming something, they need to have a second recording, or even an additional hiddden camera. Perhaps someone has invented a camera that automatically sends all its shots to email, or a website or something?

Then, when the "autorities" require the hand over or deletion of pictures, the world will actually still get a copy of whatever they intend to hide.

Isn't this just a suggestion to the terrorists how to carry out theis plans?

No, Terrorists wiill not even be noticed - usually because they are not even there!

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Black Helicopters

France Info

On Thursday 2nd April I was listening to Radio "France Info" as I drove past Geneva towards Lyon.

France Info mentioned the "death of a protester" during the G20 protest confrontation. I retuned away from FM to 198KHz as this is the extreme edge of Radio4 LW reception, listened to news, NOTHING. I then started to become surprised, there was no item on the next 648KHz BBC WS news either. As far as I can tell, the UK only noticed that there was a death with the Sunday papers, well after the G20 'Gordie-the-hero' event. Of course, I may have recollected things wrongly, but there might just be a faint whiff of "Media Strategy Ratified" and UK news sources holding off for a few days????????

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Coat

Errrmmm....

I for one welcome our heavily padded baton wielding overloads.... it seems safest.

Must remember these defences in court:

. he looked a bit brown and I had to run after him.

. he was a bit drunk and uncooperative.

Can't see those holding up if you weren't wearing a uniform at the time.

Coat - Mine's the one with a secret memo just waiting to spill out the pocket...

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Anonymous Coward

@abigsmurf, Re: Not telling the whole story

"There's been a big media frenzy over the actions of the police but what was he actually doing? He was hit by the police then, 85 minutes later he was hit again by the police and had a heart attack. Being the innocent victim caught in the crossfire once is more than possible, being caught twice? You'd have thought after the first incident he would've tried to get home ASAP."

He was indeed trying to get home. But the police were preventing people from leaving the protests by surrounding them on all sides - what they call a "kettle". The police let people in, but they didn't let people out. So, anyone passing through on their way home from work would end up trapped with the protesters.

What's more, there seems to be no legal basis for such "kettles", so it seems to be mass false imprisonment. Every police officer who was "only obeying orders" by taking part in keeping everyone in that "kettle" may have contributed to that death. If so, they should all be in the dock.

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Alert

Re: CCTV

"According to the IPCC none of the CCTV cameras in the area were switched on at the time. And I thought people were being too cynical when they said this would happen."

That's strange. I seem to remember the news channels at the time reporting how the police were using CCTV and stuff to keep track of the protests. It was more than a passing reference; more a featured part of the on-going news story. They even had a correspondent reporting live from some sort of control centre where the police were monitoring the protests.

Or did I just dream all that?

Suddenly an important aspect of 1984 has become a lot more credible to me. I must remember, it's Eurasia we're at war with...

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Black Helicopters

@ AC re Riot Police

"Those rioters were wrong in the first place, right?"

They weren't Rioters.

There were a small minority who were causing trouble, but the vast majority were people who feel they had a genuine grievence.

The problems started when the Stazi decided to use "Kettling" which basically means surrounding the protesters, closing in on them from all sides and not letting then move for 6 hours.

And at all you Fuc*tards who say he got what he deserved, watch the video, that is an assault, pure and simple.

There can be no defence for someone who is supposed to uphold law and order behaving like that.

The police are trained to cope with provocation so it doesn't matter what the guy did or said.

If he needed to be arrested, then the officer should have used the proper procedure, which normally involves walking up to the guy, getting hold of him and slapping the cuffs on.

If he resists, you and the dozen friends around you, use pressure points to subdue him and get him to a position where you can control him.

Twatting him across the back of the legs with a metal baton, shoulder charging him in the back, then running away so you can't be identified must be a new addition to the Police operations manual.

I'm not saying the copper definitely killed Ian Tomlinson, that is for a coroner to decide, but I am saying the officer assaulted him.

The police can only work with the cooperation of the public and if this guy isn't at least charged with assault we have just proved that we haven't moved on from the dark days of the SPG and Blair Peach in 30 years.

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Black Helicopters

My prediciton for the future

Had it been a member of the public doing the pushing he would have been arrested and processed, possibly remanded or bailed with conditions not to talk to witnesses etc.

What the police do is suspend him and leave him free to work with his colleagues to concoct a "story" which will be that the victim had whilst off camera been abusive and told them he wasnt moving off so despite repeated warnings he was "helped along". This will be argued as a reasonable response as the officers in question where en route to assist some trapped colleagues. The first thing that should have happened is that he was arrested and bailed to prevent the above, but thats not how the police like to do it.

There wont be any police footage or CCTV available as despite the vast number of cameras and police snappers in the area they just didnt take any.

Even if some comes to light and its known about it will be "lost" or "damaged".

Having had the joys of making a complaint against the police in the past I can attest to there inability to keep hold of evidence on an epic scale. There ability to concoct corroborating statements (in my case using time travel!) etc etc ad infinitum

Black helicopters, with yellow bits on

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Bronze badge

@Mike Richards

<<According to the IPCC none of the CCTV cameras in the area were switched on at the time. And I thought people were being too cynical when they said this would happen.>>

Odd that. Didn't that happen in the Stockwell incident, too? "Workman stood on the cable"

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