An inquest jury had earlier returned a verdict of unlawful killing, hearing that Tomlinson died of internal bleeding after being struck with a baton and pushed to the ground. Video evidence of Harwood pushing and striking Tomlinson was widely circulated, leading to the former’s identification. Within minutes of the not guilty verdict, allegations were made public of several previous incidents of excessive force used by Harwood. These allegations weren’t revealed prior to the trial for the obvious avoidance of prejudice.
It’s a case which has been hotly debated over the last three years and the verdict has made headlines. The Guardian highlights the failings in police disciplinary procedures which allowed Harwood to resign instead of facing a hearing over alleged incidents of violence and misconduct. The Evening Standard also took this stance and provided a profile of Tomlinson.
The Guardian also points out criticism of the misinformation given to Tomlinson’s family following his death, and the legal paradox of a verdict of unlawful killing versus a not guilty verdict for the accused. The Sun’s uncharacteristically restrained report again concentrates on Harwood’s previous.
The BBC’s report leads with the video footage and includes a timeline explaining key events in the case. A map shows Tomlinson’s last movements while the Daily Mail goes with a slightly less considered approach, using the phrase ‘thug in police uniform’ as part of the headline. The Mirror’s headline asks the same question being asked by many others — ‘is this justice?’.
The Huffington Post is (surprisingly, given the high probability of contempt of court) allowing comments on the story though judging by some of them, they’re being tightly moderated. The New Statesman gives some more detail on the original unlawful killing verdict.
The Twittersphere was considerably less moderate, with a general tone of outrage and cynicism. Some comedians have been very funny and scathing, but unlike Londonist, they’ve got enough money to retain a good lawyer so we’re not reprinting what they’ve said.
Photo by rachaelr in the Londonist Flickr pool.