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Video shows London police assaulting man just before his death at G20 protest
Jeremy Gantz
Published: Tuesday April 7, 2009


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A new video shot during last week's G20 protests in London shows a man being attacked from behind and thrown to the ground by a police officer in riot gear – all just moments before he would suffer a heart attack and die.

The video is available here.

The man, 47-year-old Ian Tomlinson, is shown walking with his hands in his pockets and not resisting or speaking to police before a baton-wielding officer appears to strike him in the leg from behind, and then pushes him onto his back and the ground.

The video was shot by a New Yorker in London on business who decided to attend the April 1st protest "out of curiosity," according to the UK newspaper The Guardian, to which the American gave his footage.

"The primary reason for me coming forward is that it was clear the [Tomlinson] family were not ­getting any answers," the New Yorker is quoted by newspaper as saying.

The Guardian will soon hand over the footage along with a collection of testimonies from witnesses at the scene of Tomlinson's death to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), England's police watchdog.

One witness named Anna Branthwaite said she saw police assault Tomlinson, a newspaper seller who was on his way home from work.

"A riot police officer had already grabbed him and was pushing him," Branthwaite said. "It wasn't just pushing him – he'd rushed him. He went to the floor and he did actually roll. That was quite noticeable."

Several people were injured the day Tomlinson died, when anti-capitalist protesters held in a police cordon surged against barriers following violent clashes and an attack on a bank that led to 63 arrests.

Thousands of protesters rallied outside the Bank of England headquarters that Wednesday ahead of the G20 summit, where world leaders met to respond to the global financial crisis.

Police said about 4,000 protesters, including anti-globalization, anti-war and environmental activists, converged on the financial district to demand more help for the poor and the punishment of bankers they blame for the crisis.

Witnesses to Tomlinson's death said that, prior to the moment captured on video, the man had already been hit with batons by police, reported. These eyewitness accounts contradict the official version of events given by London police.

"In an official statement on the night of Tomlinson's death, the Metropolitan police made no reference to any ­contact with officers and described attempts by police medics and an ambulance crew to save his life after he collapsed – efforts which they said were marred by ­protesters throwing missiles as first aid was ­administered," according to the The Guardian.

In a statement made before reviewing the Guardian materials, Tomlinson's family said: "People are putting pictures on the internet, writing on blogs and talking to journalists. But we really need them to talk to the people who are investigating what happened."

The IPCC began managing the investigation by London police into Tomlinson' death yesterday, after The Guardian published witness statements saying he had been assaulted police officers.

With wire reports.


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