Ian Tomlinson

Dear Diane,

I wrote to you last year regarding the policing of the G20 protests and the death of Ian Tomlinson. I am writing to you again in light of the deeply upsetting developments today. The decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions not to bring any criminal charges over the death of Ian Tomlinson comes as the latest insult to justice in this sorry saga, and is sadly the latest in a long line of such decisions which place the police above the law.

As you know, the police deliberately spread disinformation in the immediate aftermath of Mr Tomlinson’s death, informing the media that he had died as the result of a pre-existing health condition and that his family were ‘not surprised’ by his death. They also falsely claimed that they had attempted to aid Mr Tomlinson but had been attacked by protestors. This in itself is completely outrageous. Despite eye witnesses coming forward in the days following to contradict this version of events, I strongly believe that this would have been the end of the matter if The Guardian had not obtained the now infamous video which shows Mr Tomlinson being assaulted as he walks away from the police with his hands in his pockets. As a side issue this causes me to wonder how many other instances of police violence have been subject to lies and disinformation which has gone unchallenged because of a lack of video evidence.

The fact that the IPCC unquestioningly accepted the police version of events (and in fact defended their actions) and did not launch an investigation until the release of the video, and that the officer involved was not suspended until 8 days after the assault, demonstrates the grotesquely dismissive attitude afforded to the death at the time.

For the Crown Prosecution Service to now claim that there can be no prosecution largely on the basis of ‘conflicting’ post-mortems, seems like the worst kind of scrambling for an excuse to abandon the case. The initial post-mortem, already conducted in dubious circumstances, was performed by a pathologist who is now discredited and has been removed from the Home Office register. The subsequent two, separate post-mortems both confirmed the cause of death to be abdominal haemorrhage. There is clearly a case to answer here, and CPS excuses as to why they cannot do *anything* simply will not satisfy.

There MUST be a wide-ranging and independent inquiry into the role of the City of London Police, the coroner, the pathologist and the IPCC, who have all played a part in ensuring no charges were able to be brought. This is an issue which goes to the heart of our democracy and our rights as citizens. I urge you to keep pressing for justice for Ian Tomlinson, and for reform of the institutions involved so that we do not have to endure yet another consequence-free death from police brutality.

Philip Matusavage

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