Djcnor’s Weblog

G20 Death – I Told You So

Posted on: April 8, 2009

Allow me to quote myself:

“Another thing that caught my attention was the  way that Brit police dealt with the protesters. I’m sure this country has kidnapping laws. Yet the British police walled off large groups of protesters at several different places. I can understand, for the sake of safety of the protesters themselves, who were converging on the spots from several directions, limiting the influx into the central recipient space. But the policy of the Brit police in not letting protesters leave that space after the police had cut off further entry, not even to receive medical treatment for injuries caused in confrontations with police, amounts to kidnapping. It is also a policy designed to discourage participation in protests. It says, “Don’t dare to come if you might need to go to the bathroom, or eat, or treat your diabetes, or any number of other things within several hours.” It could result in totally unnecssary medical emergencies.

It is wrong. It is kidnapping. And I hope it is brought to court.”

https://djcnor.wordpress.com/2009/04/01/g20-observations/

Well, it certainly will be, now. A guy simply on his way home from work was pushed violently to the ground by a policeman. Only minutes later, he collapsed with a heart attack. Protesters called the attention of the police to the collapse. The police gathered round him, a protestor threw a bottle, another protester used a loudspeaker to let the protesters know that the police were assisting someone who had collapsed, the police decided to move him, eventually called for an ambulance, and the man was dead before he reached the hospital.

Luckily, for thee man’s family, all this was caught on tape. Up until the pictures came out, the stoy the police were telling was that the man died of natural causes, though they had admitted that he was no protester. Interestingly (suspiciously?), the crucial images of the policeman striking the man with his baton so hard that the man was knocked to the ground were recovered from a damaged camera.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/apr/08/ian-tomlinson-g20-death-official-police-account

Only a few years ago, when I was involved in the protests outside the GOP convention in New York, it was more than a bit scary how the police were coming up with techniques to make protesting too costly in one way or another. The New York protesters dealt with it by recruiting huge numbers of law student observers and civil libery activist observers marked by green caps. If you wanted to play it safe, you positioned yourself always in sight distance of them.

The police played their tricks, arresting hundreds and “storing” them in a concrete warehouse for several days, taking their time and doing their concept of the minimum in terms of complying with civil rights laws. They didn’t do enough, of course, and it was taken to court, and they paid a huge penalty, but the damage had been done.

The difference in the London protest was cameras. Witnesses sometimes lie. Strangely, [maybe?], several of the policemen in the group containing the policeman who knocked the man who died to the ground from behind have not yet come forward to give their stories of what happened.

But cameras don’t. The police killed an entirely innocent man. I do hope this will have consequences in terms of how they deal with protests in the future.

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