The police officer connected with the death of Ian Tomlinson during Operation Glencoe in 2009 has given evidence about his role in the event.
My principle reaction to Tomlinson’s death was that, regardless of what really happened that day, the authorities couldn’t have made themselves look guiltier if they tried — they seem to choose the dodgiest pathologist available to examine him, drew out investigations, refused to bring charges that were in time and missed deadlines to bring others — and I expected the people involved to really pull out the stops in proving that there’s not a huge conspiracy involving the CPS and the Met ganging up to kill random members of the public going on here. This new evidence suggests they’re not even trying.
In particular, The Guardian reports that there was a sequence of questions designed to clarify the differences between the initial statement that the officer gave at the time and the photos and videos that emerged of the event.
Video footage and photographs shown to the jury, however, appeared to cast doubt on many aspects of Harwood’s account of the incident.
Asked whether he stood by his initial account of what had happened, Harwood appeared to struggle. The judge, Peter Thornton QC, who is an acting deputy coroner, interrupted to clarify matters.
“At the time I wrote this, I thought I fell to the floor,” said Harwood.
“At the time I wrote this, I thought I fell to the floor” ? This is a police officer who has had two years to get his story straight. That’s not acceptable for someone in a position of executive power in a first world country. He’s either lying about it for some reason, which we cannot have in the police, or he’s not got the brains to know when he falls over and we don’t particularly want that in the police either.
The judge seems to screw down the lid a bit more:
“Do you now accept that this is not correct?” the judge asked. “Yes,” Harwood replied.
“That you lost your baton – that is not correct?” the judge asked. “Yes,” Harwood replied.
“That you received a blow to the head – that is not correct?” the judge asked. “Yes,” Harwood replied.
“And that there were violent and dangerous confrontations – that is not correct?” the judge asked. “Yes,” Harwood replied.
When asked why he made so many errors in his account he could only manage a wimpy:
“Because at the time that is what I believed happened, from the information I had, that is what I believed happened to me.”
I frankly expect a better class of suspended-pending-investigation copper in my country. I can only wonder what the jury is making of this.
H/T: The Guardian
. The next question is why did he say these “not correct” things? ↩