by a New Worker correspondent
AROUND 200 protesters gathered at the London headquarters of the Crown Prosecution Service on the south bank of the Thames in Southwark last Friday to demand that the police constable responsible for pushing Ian Tomlinson to the ground with such force that he died minutes later should face a criminal prosecution.
The protesters were demanding further action be taken against Pc Stephen Harwood – and the CPS for shielding police officers who assault, injure and kill members of the public from facing criminal charges.
Members of the campaign for justice for the victims of police violence were there in force.
The event was noisy but there were no incidents. After a number of speeches there was a two-minute silence for Ian Tomlinson.
Tomlinson was making his way home from work, walking with his hands in his pockets through an area where riot police were clashing with G20 protesters on 1st April 2009.
Dozens of witnesses saw, and some filmed on their mobile phone cameras, as PC Stephen Harwood gratuitously pushed Tomlinson from behind; since his hand were in his pockets Tomlinson fell heavily and died shortly afterwards.
A week ago the CPS refused to prosecute because, they said, three post mortem examinations had given two different results. This decision was given on 22nd July – exactly five years from the shooting by armed officers of Jean-Charles de Menezes.
Understandably the family of Ian Tomlinson was greatly concerned by the lengthy investigation fearing a cover-up and the impact this whole process has had on their lives.
In April 2010, John McDonnell MP and leading civil liberties campaigners, MEPs and trade unionists wrote a letter to the Guardian to express their “growing concerns” about the investigation.
The Labour Representation Committee expressed outrage at the decision not to prosecute Harwood, Saying: “Today’s announcement illustrates that the police are a law unto themselves. Ian Tomlinson died in an unprovoked savage attack exposed on video yet that is not enough for the CPS to seek prosecution. Where is the justice for Ian Tomlinson’s family – who have described the decision as a “disgrace”?
John McDonnell MP, who chairs the LRC, said: “Given the stark nature of the video evidence it is hard to understand the CPS’s findings. An independent public inquiry is warranted.”