On 07 April 2009 (yes that long ago) I reported on the death of Iain Tomlinson during the London G20 protests when he was struck down fiercely from behind as he ambled along with his hands in his pockets. He subsequently died. It was all caught on camera by a visitor from New York so there was never a doubt that the policeman had at the very least contributed to his death.
Then rumours began to appear in the press and on the blogosphere that this particular policeman had 'form' and that this was not the first time that he had been violent. It was with some degree of disgust that I learned last week that he had been found not guilty of manslaughter.We all saw the video but he is 'not guilty'!
Today in the 'Mail on Sunday' leading columnist Suzanne Moore has highlighted this problem and it is much worse than I ever thought. She has uncovered 1433 deaths after contact with the police and not one conviction. I think that the next time someone dies after contact with the police we should all remember this statistic.
We all know the other side of the coin where we praise police heroism but if this seamy side of policing is not addressed then it will be one more step towards a totalitarian state. Police make mistakes and not all are like Simon Harwood who bashed Iain Tomlinson, but they must be made to take more care and follow procedures.
The killing of Jean Charles de Menezes was a massive cock up caused by confused command but the people who just shot him in such a violent manner must bear some responsibility. As far as I can see nobody was held to account even though the whole operation was a farce and an innocent man lost his life. A well connected senior policewoman was apparently in charge and since then she has been promoted to Assistant Commissioner of the Met. The message is that the deaths of the public are not a concern. It must change.