Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Tomlinson cover-up

In 2009, a UK police officer beat newspaper-seller Ian Tomlinson from behind during a protest and killed him. At the time, the police swore black and blue that he had not been beaten, and that he had died of a heart attack. It wasn't until video footage of the beating emerged that they were forced to admit that they might have had something to do with it. And now, with the UK's Independent Police Complaints Commission releasing further reports on the case, the dirty truth is emerging.

Firstly, the police knew all along about the beating. Three police officers had seen it, done the right thing, and reported it to their superiors. Their evidence was hidden from the initial IPCC inquiry by a police hierarchy concerned primarily with its public image rather than justice.

Secondly, the IPCC has found that a senior police officer misled two pathologists over the circumstances surrounding Tomlinson's death, telling them that he had previously fallen over before the beating (and thereby implying that he was ill and that there was another cause of death). The IPCC can't prove it was deliberate, but its dodgy, and contributes even further to the cloud of suspicion around the killing.

That suspicion needs to be dispelled. The public need a police force they can trust. Those responsible for the cover-up need to be disciplined and sacked. And the officer responsible for the killing must be prosecuted.