I am not trying to imply that the Police are more ‘Gung Ho’ or more violent towards the general public than in the past and they do often find themselves in very stressful situations but when incidents of conflict between the police and members of the public do occur there seems to be a definate trend toward more brazen acquittals, which can serve no purpose other than to embolden those in the ‘force’ who have a tendency toward violence to use it more often.
The first of two cases that particularly concern me is of a very drunk and no doubt troublesome reveller with a very bloodied face, handcuffed by the police and being pinned down over the bonnet of a police car having CS gas sprayed into his face at just a few inches distance, this was a clear breach of the guidelines on the use of this deterrent, which even in exceptional circumstances (which this clearly wasn’t) should not be used closer than a meter. This video shows what happened, you don't have to watch all of it.
Despite there being a clear breach of the guidelines and a lengthy enquiry we were told there was no case for anyone to answer, so just like the three enquiries into the CRU leaked emails the purpose seems to have been to whitewash.
Next the more publicised case of Ian Tomlinson.
The Director of Public Prosecutions has announced that no charges are to be brought against PC Simon Harwood in connection with the death of Ian Tomlinson.
Video available here, if you have not seen it already then you should watch it.
It shows a man walking along with his hands in his pockets being hit first with a baton, then violently pushed to the ground, having his hands in his pockets he could do little to break his fall. After being helped up he walked on for another 100 yards or so then died.
Ian Tomlinson was examined by three pathologists, The first Dr Patel (who is at present suspended over claims of incompetence) was not given any details relating to the circumstances surrounding Ian Tomlinson's death and concluded that he died from a heart attack. Two further examinations were carried out by seperate pathologists who both concluded that he died from internal bleeding as result of blunt force injuries consistant with his being violently knocked down.
Justice is a process, not an outcome and the decision should not have been decided on conflicting medical evidence alone, there should have been a jury and their judgement should have been based on an assessment of all the evidence, not just the medical opinions.
If a person dies, even from a heart attack just minutes after being assaulted, there should be a case to answer, the IPCC apparently thought so why not the CPS? Just a very quick bit of research on the net shows me this--- Under section 3 of the Public Order Act a person is guilty of affray if he/she uses or threatens unlawful violence against another. That alone would send PC Harwood to prison for at least 3 years.
Or conversely he could have been tried for ‘Misfeasance’, which is an action against the holder of a public office, alleging in essence that the office-holder has misused or abused his power. The video evidence alone shows that there is not much doubt about that.
More recently Ekram Haque a 65-year-old grandfather (in admittedly different circumstances) was knocked down in an almost identical fashion by a pair of intellectually challenged ‘happy slappers’, they received -a much less than they deserved -8 years in jail between them. It might have been said at their trial that they had a record of violence. However, a close inspection of PC Harwood’s record would have shown that he too had been investigated inconclusively by Surrey Police on allegations of excessive force used on another occasion.
Ekram died a week after being knocked to the ground, Ian Tomlinson died just a few minutes after he was knocked down. Yet it has taken 15 months of procrastination, for the Crown Prosecution Service to come out and say that no charges will be brought. They refused to have the case put before a jury and the delays that they have deliberately created now ensure that charges of 'Common Assault’ cannot be brought because the six-month time limit has expired. How very convenient.
In an open and democratic society it must be more important to prosecute police who have broken the law than it is to prosecute anybody else, otherwise any trust the public might have in the police force is destroyed.