Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A worthwhile cause

George Monbiot at the Guardian (Comment is Free and in today's print edition) is dead right about the Crown Prosecution's all-too-explicable decision not to proceed with any changes against PC Simon Harwood, the policeman caught on film beating to the ground an unarmed man who wasn't even part of the protest Harwood was "policing". The man, Ian Tomlinson, died of his injuries a few minutes later, and the decision is all-too-explicable given Britain's previous track record on killings by police (there have been around a thousand in the past seventeen years) for which there hasn't been a single conviction.

George ends his article

This is a moment in which the pomp and majesty of the law falls away to reveal a squalid little stitch-up. In years to come you will hear Keir Starmer's decision mentioned alongside the Widgery report, the Hutton report and the failure to prosecute the killers of Blair Peach and Jean Charles de Menezes. The Tomlinson whitewash will be seen as one of British officialdom's most notorious swindles.

The difference in this case is that, thanks to citizen journalism and the Guardian's investigation, we have unequivocal footage of what happened to the victim. We also know that the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which made its own assessment of the evidence, found that the case was strong enough to warrant prosecuting PC Harwood for manslaughter. This time the Crown Prosecution Service cannot hide behind police lies about what happened. We know what happened: we've seen it. This makes the stitch-up even more infuriating and obscene.

So what can be done? Ian Tomlinson's family doesn't have the money to mount a private prosecution. But could we not raise it for them? I would welcome some advice about how much would be needed and how it could best be found. But right now our duty as citizens is to raise Cain: to show that we will not accept such blatant inequality before the law. If not now, when?

I checked the comments at CiF to see if there were any contact details for making such a contribution, and there are. Ian Tomlinson's family have a website where contributions to a fighting fund can be made. Paypal donations should be available from next week, or cheques can be sent to

Ian Tomlinson Family Campaign
c/o Newham Monitoring Project
170 Harold Rd
London E13 0SE

There is also a petition here to show solidarity with Ian's family.

Let's see what we can do to help the Tomlinsons obtain redress.

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