Tuesday, September 18, 2012

(Some) justice for Ian Tomlinson

In 2009, UK police officer Simon Harwood beat newspaper-seller Ian Tomlinson from behind during a protest. Tomlinson, whose hands were in his pockets and who posed no threat to police, died shortly afterwards, his insides pulped by the blow. Harwood, a serial offender who had repeatedly been accused of using excessive force against members of the public, was eventually acquitted by a jury. But now, finally, he's been punished in a minor way: he's been sacked for gross misconduct:

The Metropolitan policeman who struck and pushed Ian Tomlinson as he walked away from riot officers on the fringe of the G20 protests in London has been sacked with immediate effect after a disciplinary hearing found he had committed gross misconduct.

It was "inconceivable" that Simon Harwood, who was cleared of Tomlinson's manslaughter in July following one of the most high-profile cases of police misconduct in recent years, could ever work as a police officer again, the three-strong panel ruled.

Commander Julian Bennett, who chaired the panel, said: "PC Harwood's use of force in this case cannot be justified. His actions have discredited the police service and undermined public confidence in it.

Its not enough, but its some justice, and it will at least make sure harwood is not able to abuse his position to beat and kill anyone else. As for real justice, that will have to come from the civil case Tomlinson's family will be pursuing.