Police Apologise For Ian Tomlinson's Death

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 60 months ago
Police Apologise For Ian Tomlinson's Death

2009G20protest_060813The Metropolitan police has apologised "unreservedly" for the death of Ian Tomlinson during the G20 protests on 1 April 2009.

The death of Tomlinson near the Royal Exchange, after being pushed and struck by PC Simon Harwood's baton even though he was – in the words of the inquest that declared Tomlinson was unlawfully killed – "walking away from the police line. He was complying with police instructions to leave Royal Exchange Buildings. He posed no threat". Harwood has been found not guilty of manslaughter, leading to the Kafka-esque situation where a man was unlawfully killed but nobody's legally responsible (watch your comments here, you don't want to be in contempt of court).

Yesterday, it was announced that all ongoing litigation between the Met and Tomlinson's family is at an end. It's understood that the family has received compensation but the amount hasn't been disclosed, and the police statement makes it quite clear that nobody will be talking about it in the near future.

The apology is comprehensive, covering Harwood's "use of excessive and unlawful force" (the officer was sacked in September 2012 for gross misconduct), for misleading comments to the media in the days following Tomlinson's death, to the family that they had to find out what happened through the media (chiefly, the Guardian uncovering footage), for "inadvertent" misinformation given to the medical examiners, and for re-employing Simon Harwood in 2004 despite a history of misconduct, on which they say "we got it wrong". It's a shockingly long list, ranging from cock-up to cover-up; and infuriating that it took more than four years for the police to accept responsibility.

Photo by Tanya Nagar from the Londonist Flickr pool

Last Updated 06 August 2013