On 1 April 2009, during the G20 riots, a 47-year-old newspaper vendor was walking home from work. He was then struck by a member of the Metropolitan Police's Territorial Support Group (TSG). He later died.
Over a year later, the Crown Prosecution Service will tomorrow deliver its verdict on the Ian Tomlinson incident. As the Guardian reports, "The possible charges include manslaughter, assault and misconduct in public office. Or, the CPS may decide not to bring any charges."
I am very far from hopeful that justice will prevail. As I wrote last year, the police are the most unaccountable public body in Britain. If you don't believe me, ask the family of Jean Charles de Menezes, shot repeatedly at point-blank range at Stockwell Tube station, in south London, on 22 July 2005 after being mistaken for -- and reported as -- a "suicide bomber".
As I wrote last year, the two deaths have something in common: a police cover-up. Here is brief reminder from the piece of what happened, lest we forget, over Tomlinson:
[On] the day that Tomlinson died of a heart attack the Met issued a wholly misleading statement. A member of the public, it said, told police that "there was a man who had collapsed round the corner". Officers, it was claimed, had tried to help medics save his life as "missiles, believed to be bottles", were hurled at them.
The reality, again revealed in video, shows Tomlinson walking with his hands in his pockets, offering neither resistance nor threat to the police line behind him. Next, he is struck around the legs by a baton-wielding TSG officer who then shoves Tomlinson to the ground. After "bouncing" -- a witness's word -- on the ground, a terrified Tomlinson can be seen looking up in disbelief at the officers, who stand back, leaving the public to tend to him.
In the case of de Menezes, not a single police figure has been held to account. I would be pleased, but very surprised, if the Tomlinson case does not result in the same injustice.