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14 April 2009

A run in with the law

By Paul Evans

Quick Exit

It wasn’t the finest week for the boys in blue. When not pointlessly trying to reprimand me for helping myself to the unsold newspapers outside Starbucks, they appear to keep busy by knocking the public around and fatally undermining their own dawn raids.

The Guardian’s release of video footage showing non-protester Ian Tomlinson being pushed to the ground, after which he suffered a fatal heart attack, appalled even readers of the Daily Mail.

Indeed, it is noteworthy that blogs of diametrically opposed ideology have been united in their sentiments. While it was not surprising to read harsh criticism of the police on Socialist Unity – it was interesting to note The Freedom Association blog describing the video as “sickening” and the actions of the officer involved as “reprehensible”.

He’s rarely off the mark, but Dizzy Thinks seemed to hit the wrong note this week in writing about the left’s instinct to be “pretty much always the demonstrator side,” while associating himself with the right’s “bias towards defending the Police” – describing the actions of the shoving officer as “a bit naughty”.

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The excellent Lib Dem-supporting blog Hug a Hoodie wondered whether the Met had learnt anything from the Jean Charles de Menezes tragedy, as the police at command level appeared to again close ranks and kiss off responsibility for the incident.

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“The real test of how the police has moved on from Menezes will be how they handle these shocking events. If we see an open and cooperative attitude towards finding the truth, something vaguely good might have come out of all this. If we see a repeat, where the Met ducks justice, hiding behind the immunity of being a public servant, then we will have got precisely nowhere,” he concluded.

And so to the ridiculous… when on Thursday morning BoJo announced to Radio 4 listeners that anti-terror top cop Bob Quick had fallen on his truncheon – having royally stuffed a swoop operation by flashing its details at the Downing Street cameras .

Prior to Quick’s harakiri, blogging Labour peer Toby Harris (who chairs the APPG on policing) had adjudged the Tory-led response “a little out of proportion”. But few apart from Ken Livingstone agreed – and Richy observed that it “…makes such a refreshing change for somebody quite high up in the country to take responsibility for their actions”. Guido then swiftly revealed the appointment of his blog’s old friend, Yates of the Yard in Quick’s place.

None as yet, but look out for comment on the excellent (and Orwell Prize shortlisted) police blog, Night Jack

What have we learned this week?

Novelty came to the blogosphere this week, when young conservative Harry Cole issued an apology for his hasty and rather aggressive defence of the Met Police, an escalating factor in his growing webspat with juvenile Labourite Tom Miller.

Around the World

Gil Scott-Heron assured us that the revolution will not be televised. Maybe, Gil. But if the cognoscenti (like the folks at Wired) are to believed – this week’s developments in Moldova prove that we will be able to follow it on Twitter.

Video of the Week

Check out this thoughtful pairing of Muppets footage with N.W.A’s in-your-face 1988 classic, Fuck tha Police.

Quote of the Week

“There is the need for police, and there is a need for certain norms of public order to be enforced.

So for their own protection as well as ours, the police really need to rethink their disgraceful and (in my view) unlawful behaviour at public demonstrations.”

Jack of Kent