I haven’t written anything of substance yet about the appalling decision recently taken by Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer and the CPS not to prosecute the police officer who was caught on camera at last year’s G20 protests attacking newspaper vendor Ian Tomlinson – mainly because I’m still too angry about the whole business, and because much of what I want to say has already been said by more knowledgeable and articulate voices than mine.
Ian Tomlinson was an innocent passer-by on his way home from work on the evening of April 1st 2009 – and his unprovoked encounter with the police was so brutal that it resulted in his death. His bereaved and devastated family have been left to fight for justice, which, after this new blow, now seems as if it will never come.
Like many who attended the protest against this decision outside the DPP building last Friday (30th July), I was at the G20 protests in April 2009 and was on the receiving end of unprovoked police aggression. However, unlike Ian Tomlinson, I was one of the lucky ones; I escaped the chaos in a state of shock with little more than bruising to my legs, arms and back.
But I remain angry, over a year on. And the decision taken by the DPP not to prosecute the police officer involved in the death of this innocent passer-by has just made me angrier still. However, I believe that this anger can be used in a positive way – and one aspect of that is to continue to demand justice for the Tomlinson family.
So, belatedly, here are a few photographs from last week’s demonstration.
Department of Police Protection indeed…
Protesters listening to speakers outside the DPP building. The speakers included representatives of the United Campaign Against Police Violence and the National Union of Journalists, as well as the fiercely determined Samantha Rigg, whose brother Sean died under mysterious circumstances in police custody at Brixton two years ago and who has campaigned for the truth ever since.
Marching through the City of London from the DPP building to the site of Ian Tomlinson’s death, where a minute’s silence was observed in memory of Ian and all the other people who have died at the hands of the police in recent years.
Just off Cornhill and round the corner from the Bank of England is St Michael’s Alley, where Ian Tomlinson died on the evening of April 1st 2009. For me, it was a moving experience to visit this small corner of the City again – a small corner which now has a modern tragedy at its heart.