Lies and Innuendo in the Ian Tomlinson Case 98

The American tourist who captured on video what may have been the second assault on Ian Tomlinson by the Police, has done us a great favour.

I have been on several demonstrations in Central London in the last few years, and like everyone else who has done that, I have got used to the experience of being constantly filmed. Central London – and particularly the area around Bishopsgate – is fully covered by CCTV. In addition you had at the G20 demonstration scores of police cameramen filming from every vantage point at a demonstration. I have no doubt that on the recent huge Gaza demo I was filmed every step for two miles.

Let me be quite plain. I do not believe that there was no official footage of the police assault on Ian Tomlinson. Just as the security cameras in Stockwell station and on the train were “Not working” in the Jean Charles De Menezes case, I accuse the Police of subverting the video evidence.

So thank God for that American tourist – and thank God he went to the Guardian rather than to the Police. If unanswerable video evidence had not now been produced, what lies do you think we would now be being told?

A lie can be delivered by innuendo. The so-called “Independent Police Complaints Commission” – whose investigations in this case are being conducted by the City of London Police – had put out a statement saying that “it appeared that Mr Tomlinson had contact with the Police.” If we had not seen the video, what image does that conjure up in your mind?

Mr Tomlinson did not have contact with the Police. He had contact from the Police – they came up behind him when he was just walking down the road, and without warning hit him with a baton. This was in fact Mr Tomlinson’s second contact from the Police – he had already been turned away from his route home by another police cordon, and it is possible he was mishandled there too.

New Labour trolls are active all over the web – including in comments on my earlier post here:

We will see more of these attacks on Mr Tomlinson in the next few days, just as Jean Charles De Menezes’ character was slurred (illegal immigrant, drug addict – all untrue).

The claim that Tomlinson died of a heart attack brought on by alcohol is pathetic.

I hope that the family are now getting good advice, and I for one would be happy to donate to a fund for an independent autopsy. Under New Labour we cannot trust the official one.

We also need a radical reconstruction of a police force which thinks it can attack and kill members of the public with impunity, and of the legal framework in which they operate. The legal system has ruled in terms that police may kill people and then may lie about it in court.

We have reached the stage in the UK where we need a revolutionary change. We have to sweep out the old order of corrupt politicians whose one guiding principle is to keep their own snouts in the trough: of City bankers who are multi-millionaires from their bubble scams and whose lifestyles and jobs the ordinary people are now supporting by a massive tax and debt burden, while nobody guarantees the jobs of those ordinary people who fund it all.

We have to realise that the end of the centuries old prohibition of torture by agents of the state is of a piece with the freedom of the police to maintain the system of power by fatal force, in both cases without consequence. You cannot separate this brutalisation of power from the illegal war that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and thousands of our own soldiers, on the basis of a lie but really to secure oil.

The whole system stinks from the head like a fish. And people are starting at last to understand where the smell comes from.

98 thoughts on “Lies and Innuendo in the Ian Tomlinson Case

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  • Dave

    Excellent blog.

    It’s easy and understandable to jump to conclusions, without knowing the context, but with a little knowledge of kettling, and crowd behaviour, here is what the video says to me. It appears as if he’s deliberately walking slowly in front of the police. Who knows whether he’s been told to move faster. The policeman who pushes him appears to lose his temper and push him.

    Losing your temper is no defence, especially if you’re professionally involved. You’ve still committed a criminal offence.

    Furthermore, commanders have a responsibility here too. The decision to kettle people here, which is treating them like animals, was taken on high. If the command is prepared to treat people like animals, why shouldn’t the PCs? they take their lead from the command, and they stand there for hours caging people in. Is it any surprise they stop seeing them as the public they’re supposed to protect and serve?

  • Anonymous

    This is the Home Office pathologist who conducted the post mortem on Jean Charles de Menezes. I am not saying anything.

    Noteworthy that he didn’t make any notes or remember which member of the police had given him information.

    “Dr Kenneth Shorrock had wrongly recorded in his notes that the Brazilian jumped over a ticket barrier before “stumbling” down an escalator in the moments before officers shot and killed him.

    The pathologist told the inquest into the death of Mr De Menezes he was given the false information during a walk-through with officers at Stockwell Tube station, south London, in the hours after the incident.

    Mr De Menezes, 27, was shot seven times in the head on a Tube train by counter-terrorist police who mistook him for a suicide bomber in July 2005.

    When asked why there were “significant errors” in his original report, the doctor answered: “This was what was told to me.

    “What happened at that time was that there were a lot of officers present and we were taken through.

    “I did not write anything down. I did not make any note of who told me what – but, at the next opportunity that I had, I got my dictaphone.”

    Dr Shorrock said he was not sure who it was who told him the Brazilian had “vaulted” the barrier before he was shot.

    He also rejected a suggestion he had been swayed by media reports, saying he had completed his notes before he saw any news items.”

  • Ruth

    The removal of responsibility is a typical government tactic used when deceitful acts occur.

  • Jess

    Lies and Innuendo in the Ian Tomlinson Case

    But all you have done is use this case to lie about the police and make innuendo. What’s this latest crap about not trusting autopsies under New Labour?

    Actually for awhile I thought irrationality had completely penetrated everybody on this issue, but I’m increasingly seeing posts from people on sites like CiF who have chosen to tell the truth about this incident and its context.

    You often get these spasms of emotion and people using it for political purposes in the aftermath, but logic does tend to regain its normal path after awhile. That makes me feel better.

  • John D. Monkey


    It’s always the same with media rivalries and jealousies. The Times and Indy were also slow to cover this as it wasn’t “their” story. But I agree the BBC coverage has been supine -all too often they are just a New Labour mouthpiece these days. Evan Davis was disgracefully pro-police on Today this morning.

    Now the Channel 4 film has filled in most of the gaps, the nonIndependent PCC are having to show a bit more urgency. Watch for them all distancing themselves from what went on…

    Disgraceful that it takes a tragic death (not sure whether it was murder, probably manslaughter) for things to change. But they can’t do a de Menezes on this one any more…

  • John D. Monkey


    Have you actually watched the Guardian and Channel 4 News films? It’s not innuendo, it’s observation.

    Defending the indefensible is not a good idea…

  • mary

    Did Mr Crick display the Top Secret memo on purpose so that the fear of terror could be heightened and the ten ‘terrorists’ be swooped down upon immediately? Will they ultimately be released like the Viva Palestina nine?

    It might also have been decided that it was a good diversionary tactic in the light of current events.

    NuLabour trolls like Jess can leave the room.

  • anticant

    He is Quick, not Crick. He may or may not be Thick or Slick, but is definitely a Pr**ck.

  • Anonymous

    ‘Will they ultimately be released like the Viva Palestina nine?’

    I don’t know. I’m watching the BBC now and they were supposedly muslim and Asian so may well have been evil terrorists. :-0 I reckon they sped it all up to divert headlines away from the G20 death. Ooh and the news just said that Jacqui Smith claimed it was a purely operational decision to rush the raids. :-0 All above board then. Ooh, the report just finished with ‘they may well all be released’ after a full 10 minutes into the subject. Good job BBC!

  • mary

    V. good Anticant. I don’t know how my clumsy mitts transposed Quick to Crick. It must have been a trick. Francis Crick discovered the DNA molecule so was obviously very bright. I don’t think we can say the same about Quick whom I think of as Quick, Quick Slow from the days of those dancing programmes with Victor Sylvester. I will go and lie down now.

  • Rick

    Re: Death of Ian Tomlinson.

    Heart attack, not head injury.

    The likelihood of a not-so-young unfit person suffering a heart attack is thirty (30) times greater when stressed either physically or emotionally than when at rest (ref: Wikipedia on heart attacks).

    A big squirt of adrenaline makes the heart suddenly double its normal rate, the arteries pound, bits of plaque flake off and combine to start a thrombus. Ten minutes later – heart attack, whose location determines whether you live or die.

    Being body-checked and batoned out of the blue by a riot police officer would be enough stress to cause a sudden high heart rate and ultimately death in someone with furred arteries.

    I suppose police training doesn’t include “This is an older person, don’t shove them around”. More along the lines of the finer points of baton usage, what do you bet. Just what a young aggressive plod doesn’t need.

    Manslaughter? On balance, I’m not sure. There is no reasonable excuse for the level of force used. Dismissed the force, certainly. But some senior officers should also have their careers ended, for their lack of foresight in providing proper guidance.

  • Nextus

    The revolutionary rhetoric is starting to hit the target. We need to change the whole governance system, rather than venting bile against individuals. Don’t you think it’s time to revise the Parliamentary system? We need constitutional change. As Milgram demonstrated, good people easily lose their moral sense when acting on behalf of institutions. The reasons are found in the nature of the group, not the peope who comprise them. History shows that if we get rid of the miscreants, good people step in to fill their shoes and end up behaving the same way – as long as they toe the party line. Watch the film ‘The Corporation’ (Google for the trailer), in which numerous leading lights argue that large companies tend to behave like psychopaths (step forward Micro$oft, Coca Cola … ad nauseam) unless they are somehow held in check; but they’re not composed of social demons. The phenomenon is also endemic in the public sector (NHS, government, universities, even charities). It’s not that these institutions attract bad people – they don’t even produce bad people. Instead, they twist people’s perceptions until they don’t realise the sinister connotations of their actions (re Michael Palin’s character in ‘Brazil’). Craig is a worthy exception. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough like him around. Short of cloning, we need to look at how and why institutional allegiance does this to people and try, somehow, to neutralise it.

  • Jess

    There is not a shred of evidence that the police as an institution lied about anything, of course. Only an individual officer who didn’t come forward presumably because he thought people would blame Tomlinson’s subsequent heart attack on him. I think we can safely say that the officer’s fear’s have been proven correct from the media coverage of the event.

    I wouldn’t defend this notorious shove of Tomlinson – clearly it was a bit heavy handed – but I can also understand why it would seem strange to the officer that this man still didn’t obey their orders to clear the street despite them having vicious police dogs. They must have thought he was a bit of a nutter for doing that, and did not know he was simply drunk.

    I agree that there should be a full investigation of this matter, but now we’re all on record as agreeing that shoving people can be dangerous, I look forward to Murray’s campaign to appeal for witnesses and TV footage of all the people that threw bottles at the police on that day, and to have them prosecuted for attempted murder. One thrown glass bottle can kill, of course, as we know from the case this week of a baby that died after a bottle was thrown into a pub, so I hope you will have the faces of these would-be killers at the G8 protests on the frontpages tomorrow.

  • Drew Murray

    ” … but I can also understand why it would seem strange to the officer that this man still didn’t obey their orders to clear the street despite them having vicious police dogs. They must have thought he was a bit of a nutter for doing that, and did not know he was simply drunk.”

    Jess do you work for the police? You manage to portray the victim as a “drunk” and a “nutter” in one sentence. So a man walking home from work who is (according to eye witnesses and video evidence) billy clubbed and pushed to the ground can be vilified because he wasn’t quick enough in running away from the thugs in uniform. Your world must be a very unpleasant place.

  • Strategist

    Drew, Jess is just a troll. His objective is to wind you up. Best to ignore him.

    John D. Monkey: The British press can do the right thing, as long as there is a base & ignoble reason for doing so… the very best traditions of Fleet Street!

  • Merkin

    It seems that Mr Tomlinson was somewhat cowed on video having already been given a good kicking all along the street – before the video in question.

    We must ask why ‘that particular video’ was allowed out – leaked to The Guardian no less.


    I wouldn’t defend this notorious shove. . . said a notorious troll.

    Well, he would say that wouldn’t he?

  • Strategist

    Craig, I’ve just gone snap between here and Lenin’s Tomb:

    “Jess” posting on this site at 8.48pm: “Actually for awhile I thought irrationality had completely penetrated everybody on this issue, but I’m increasingly seeing posts from people on sites like CiF who have chosen to tell the truth about this incident and its context. You often get these spasms of emotion and people using it for political purposes in the aftermath, but logic does tend to regain its normal path after awhile. That makes me feel better.”

    The infamous, obsessive, virtually full-time troll “Mike” of Harry’s Place notoriety posting on Lenin’s Tomb at 8.34pm:

    “Actually for awhile I thought irrationality had completely overcome everybody on this issue, but I’m increasingly seeing posts from people on sites like CiF who have chosen to tell the truth about this incident and its context. You often get these spasms of emotions and people using it for political purposes in the aftermath, but logic does tend to regain its normal path after awhile. That makes me feel better.”

    Jess is Mike (who is also Ed D who has been trying to disrupt discussion on the Socialist Unity site). Craig, I hope you will seriously consider simply deleting Jess on sight. Sounds harsh but, to coin a phrase, it’s the only language he understands.

  • frank verismo

    Ken: good insight via your son’s take on police attitudes.

    Government reduces police morale.

    The police then become increasingly confrontational.

    Public becomes increasingly wary of police.

    Government behavior outrages public, leading to demonstrations.

    Demonstrations inevitably lead to clashes between police and public.

    More violence.

    More outrage.

    Government then awards even more power to both themselves and their nu-praetorian guard.

    It should be obvious that both the police and the public have a common enemy. The enemy which seeks to inflame the passions of both to keep one ‘loyal’ – and the other down.

    If anyone doubts that we are all being royally set up, just consider the publicity campaign that led up to this: all the ‘Summer of Rage’ headlines – the slick trailer campaign fed to us over the last few months . . . .

    When those who serve the system (police, military, civil servants) finally see how utterly used they have been we will see real, systemic and lasting change. In the meantime, we need to remember we have all been assigned the roles of bit players in a drama written by pathological cowards.

  • Jaded

    So he has nothing better to do with his life than try – unsuccessfully – to upset people on internet forums? That’s quite sad. Sort it out Jess. Life’s way too short for pathetic activities like that. Something obviously isn’t right in your life. THE GUY IS ***DEAD***. HE HAD A LARGE FAMILY. WHAT HAPPENED WAS INEXCUSABLE. Wake up, start thinking, contribute intelligently and i’m sure you will be welcome on internet forums.

  • anticant

    Oh – is Jess a man? I had visualised him/her as a crabby middle-aged Stalinist woman [university lecturer or some such] of the Anna Pauker variety.

  • Jess

    Drew, I said the police must have percieved Tomlinson as a nutter for not moving back with the other demonstrators despite holding police dogs. That he was drunk is what the autopsy said. You will also note that this wasn’t a normal day with a normal police patrol walking along – violent protests had occurred all day and police had been given orders to clear that street.

    Why are people so scared of the context of what happened?

    I note Strategist is calling everyone who disagrees with him a troll.

  • sabretache

    I find it very difficult to comment about the police for fear it will be read as anti-policing per se – and thus counter-productive. So let me be clear: I believe effective policing is as necessary to the smooth running of society and community as the any other public service – transport, communications, utilities etc etc. – the operative words being ‘public service’. But – BIG BIG BUT – something has gone horribly wrong with policing in this country. The execution of Jean Charles de Menezes and the death of Ian Tomlinson are just the high profile tips of a massive iceberg. My own realisation of this was forced by the behaviour of the Met police and their arrogant swaggering TSG thugs at the last Parliament Square demo before passage of the Hunting Act. I was present throughout. Their behaviour was quite simply appalling – totally unbelievable to the average Joe in fact. Subsequent ‘investigations’ and attempted prosecutions of a few officers were of a piece with all that I have seen since – the Babar Ahmed arrest and subsequent cover ups being among the worst. Police statement collusion; vanishing evidence (letters of complaint dossier about the officers involved with Barbar Ahmed, de Menezes CCTV evidence; blaming the victim; A cosy relationship between the IPCC and the police etc etc)

    It is a complex issue but at its heart is one simple fact: viz the police will ALWAYS be given the benefit of the most grave and obvious doubts by a cowed, fractious and fearful public. The police know this better than anyone and their behaviour is MASSIVELY influenced by it. They are human, with all the strengths and failing that implies. Given the pumped up environment of perpetual (but ridiculous) terrorist fears we now inhabit, they know it is all to easy to indulge their brutish instincts – or even ‘shoot first and ask questions later’ – and get away with it. so it is inevitable that some of them do just that.

  • Jon


    > Why are people so scared of the context of what happened?

    I don’t know if that’s a fair characterisation, but conversely, why are you so keen to support the police? Is it the case that, in supporting New Labour authoritarianism, you’d prefer state violence of this kind to go substantially unchallenged?

  • Jon

    @sabretache – good analysis. I differ slightly from your perspective in that I tend to view the necessity of a police force as a societal failing, and admire the theoretical ideals of anarchism here whilst doubting it could ever exist in practise. I see the vote-winning gambit of “more officers on the beat” is a sticking plaster offered by all political parties, and challenging the root causes of crime and disenfranchisement is offered by precisely no mainstream parties at all.

    Meanwhile just as is the case with the armed forces, the opportunity to exercise violence against others rouses the worst kind of monster in people psychologically pre-disposed to authoritarianism. Modifying Chomsky’s maxim he applies to the position of US President, I would offer, somewhat tongue in cheek: “Any officer who wants to join the riot squad should be automatically disqualified from doing so”.

  • fortuzero


    Where to begin… I lack both the time and inclincation to make this comprehensive, so all I will say is this;

    The police “perceived I.T as a “Nutter” ” – Ah, I see – so it’s OK to assault the mentally unwell now is it?

    “..he was drunk…” – Again, that makes it OK to assault him. From behind. With a baton.

    Have you ever heard of “Power and Responsibility”? The state and their tools and apparatus, in this instance the police, have the upper hand. They are armed, and essentially have carte blanche. Why are you siding with them? Escpecially given the “Context of what happened”.

    This was a man who was clearly unarmed, passive, and moving away from the “officers”.

    Presumably you are, as others have noted, a troll or a paid PR bod. Or possibly you have some ties to the forces, or other government agency. Either way, your arguments are vacuous and hold no water.

    Just on the subject of police track record, and off the top of my head;

    Birmingham 6 Guildford 4, Macguire 7, Judith Ward, Danny Mcnamee, Jean Charles De Menezes, Harry Stanley…

    All were definitely, absolutely spot on, and the police/government didn’t lie or attempt to cover up ANY of these pieces of work , did they…

    Don’t get me wrong – some individual policemen and women do a great job, and they enter the force with the best of intentions, I am sure. Many of us can be grateful for the good work they do. Many, however do not. We should never assume they are right or honest or any less corrupt than anyone else, just because they wear uniforms. History really should teach us that if nothing else.

  • Chris

    Jess, stop being a tool.

    “..a nutter for not moving back with the other demonstrators..” He wasn’t a demonstrator, he was a man going home from work. A little care with the facts, please.

    This man was struck by a police officer, he is now dead. The episode is shameful, as are you.

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