Friday, 3 April 2009

Did police murder G20 protester Ian Tomlinson?

The police stories, repeated by the media, are falling apart.

The first statement from cops claimed that Ian Tomlinson was prevented from receiving medical treatment by missile-throwing protesters. Not true. It was a protester that called for a medic and it was protesters that provided first aid. Riot police initially refused to call foe an ambulance. A couple of water bottles were thrown but it was protesters who quickly stopped it and it did not stop treatment.

Various participants in the City of London demonstrations on 1 April have come forward as witnesses to the collapse of a man later identified by authorities as Ian Tomlinson. Four different university students witnessed the collapse of Mr. Tomlinson. "He stumbled towards us from the direction of police and protesters and collapsed," said Peter Apps. "I saw a demonstrator who was a first aider attend to the person who had collapsed. The man was late 40s, had tattoos on his hands, and was wearing a Millwall shirt."

While the first aider was helping the man, another demonstrator with a megaphone was calling the police over so that they could help.

Natalie Langford, a student at Queen Mary, said "there was a police charge. A lot of people ran in our direction. The woman giving first aid stood in the path of the crowd." The running people, seeing a guy on the ground, went around them.

Another demonstrator had already called 999 and was getting medical advice from the ambulance dispatcher. "Four police with two police medics came. They told her [the first aider] to 'move along'.", said Peter Apps. "Then they pushed her forcibly away from him. They refused to listen to her [the first aider] when she tried to explain his condition."

The first aider, who did not wish to be named, said "The police surrounded the collapsed man. I was standing with the person who'd called 999. The ambulance dispatcher wanted to talk to the police, the phone was being held out to them, but the police refused."

Another witness, Elias Stoakes, added "we didn't see them [the police] perform CPR."

Other people who had tried to stay with the collapsed man were also pushed away.

All of the witnesses deny the allegation that many missiles were thrown.

According to Peter Apps, "one bottle was thrown, but it didn't come close to the police. Nothing was thrown afterwards as other demonstrators told the person to stop. The person who threw the bottle probably didn't realize that someone was behind the ring of police." All the witnesses said that the demonstrators were concerned for the well-being of the collapsed man once they realized that there was an injured person.

Natalie Langford said "when the ambulance arrived the protesters got straight out of the way."

Police then claimed that Ian was a passer by on his way home from work. This contradicts there earlier story that they had taken Ian out of the cordon for treatment.

More witnesses have come forward who say Ian was standing in front of a line of riot police before they charged at protesters. The Guardian reports:
Pictures seen by the Guardian, and corroborated by witnesses, suggest that Mr Tomlinson initially fell to the ground by a window of 11 Royal Exchange, outside the Mont Blanc shop, in front of five riot officers.

A subsequent picture shows him being lifted off the floor by a protester.

Seconds later, he is seen walking past a line of police dogs. He is believed to have collapsed again close to the junction of Birchin Lane, near a Starbucks and Office Angels.

Therehave been no witness statements corroborating the police claim that they were the first to offer medical assistance: Again from the Guardian report last night:
Another witness, Fran Legg, said she and a friend had rushed to help Mr Tomlinson after they realised he was not well. "People were calling out: 'Please, we need medics over here'," said the 20-year-old student, from Tavistock, in Devon. "Someone called an ambulance." Her friend put him in the recovery position and noticed he had blood on his face and was losing consciousness.

Legg said protesters were calling for people to move back and give him space as eight police officers arrived. By the time the ambulance reached the scene 10 minutes later, Mr Tomlinson was very white and could hardly breath.
Now we are being told he died from a heart attack. But witness reports suggest actions more consistent with ahead injury. If you have a heart attack you don't get up again and wonder aroud for a bit and then collapse:
"The officers were white as sheets," said Andy Bowman, a 24-year-old PhD student. "The blood had drained from their faces. They were giving us conflicting stories about what had happened; some of the officers were saying he had a blow to the head and some were saying he'd collapsed of a heart attack."

His friend Thomas Barlow, 26, said: "Some of the police were taking their helmets off, looking shocked.

"We were crossing the road and accidentally looked round and saw it.

"Someone called out, 'That person's hurt', and we went to have a look.

"The policemen around us tried to force us on very quickly."

The post-mortem is being held today, so more soon.

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