G20 Death: Met Police Officer May Face Manslaughter Charge

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The Guardian/UK

G20 Death: Met Police Officer May Face Manslaughter Charge

Officer may face manslaughter charge • Ian Tomlinson 'died from internal bleeding' • We were badly misled by police, say family

by
Paul Lewis

The police officer caught on film attacking Ian Tomlinson during the G20 protests could face manslaughter charges after a second postmortem concluded that the newspaper vendor died from internal bleeding and not a heart attack. (Image/Guardian footage)

The police officer caught on film attacking Ian Tomlinson during the G20
protests could face manslaughter charges after a second postmortem
concluded that the newspaper vendor died from internal bleeding and not
a heart attack.

The dramatic new evidence, made public yesterday,
provoked an immediate response from the victim's family, who said that
they had been "badly misled" by police.

It emerged last night
that the Metropolitan police officer who had been suspended from duty
has now been interviewed under caution on suspicion of manslaughter by
investigators from the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Yesterday's
developments came 10 days after the Guardian first revealed footage of
Tomlinson being struck and pushed to the ground minutes before he
collapsed and died in the City of London.

The New York fund
manager who handed the Guardian the video evidence said last night that
he felt vindicated by the findings. "Now I'm glad I came forward. It's
possible Mr Tomlinson's death would have been swept under the rug
otherwise. You needed something incontrovertible. In this case it was
the video."

Tomlinson, a 47-year-old newspaper vendor, had been
attempting to walk home from work the when he collapsed and died around
7.25pm on 1 April. Moments earlier he had been attacked from behind by
a constable from the Met's territorial support group near the Bank of
England.

The first postmortem results - which were released by
police - said Tomlinson had died of a heart attack. The second
postmortem was ordered by the family's legal team and the IPCC after the footage was broadcast.

Last
night's developments will place enormous pressure on the IPCC.
Initially, the watchdog allowed City of London police to conduct its
own inquiry, even though witnesses were coming forward to say they had
seen Tomlinson being in contact with police.

The second
postmortem was conducted by Dr Nat Cary, who was able to scrutinise
video evidence before conducting his examination. In a statement last
night, City of London coroners court said Dr Cary had provisionally
concluded that internal bleeding was the cause of Tomlinson's death.
"Dr Cary's opinion is that the cause of death was abdominal
haemorrhage. The cause of the haemorrhage remains to be ascertained.

"Dr
Cary accepts that there is evidence of coronary atherosclerosis but
states that in his opinion its nature and extent is unlikely to have
contributed to the cause of death."

Jules Carey, the lawyer
acting for Tomlinson's family, said: "The video footage of the
unprovoked and vicious assault on Ian by the police officer would
easily justify charges of assault being brought against the officer.
The findings of Dr Nat Cary significantly increase the likelihood that
the officer will now face the more serious charge of manslaughter."

Last
night politicians and campaigners called for the IPCC to conduct its
investigation with renewed urgency. The mayor of London, Boris Johnson,
said that the watchdog should now come to "a fast and transparent
conclusion". The Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, Chris Huhne,
said: "This is an alarming finding. It suggests that Mr Tomlinson's
treatment by the police officer caught on video may have been the final
contributing factor in his death. These findings put further pressure
on the IPCC to investigate the matter with all urgency."

Neither
the IPCC nor City of London police made any mention of the injuries or
abdominal blood found by the pathologist Dr Freddy Patel when they
released results of the first postmortem. City of London police said
only that Tomlinson had "suffered a sudden heart attack while on his
way home from work".

Tomlinson's son Paul King said: "We believe
we were badly misled by police about the possible role they played in
Ian's death. First we were told that there had been no contact with the
police, then we were told that he died of a heart attack. Now we know
that he was violently assaulted by a police officer and died from
internal bleeding. As time goes on we hope that the full truth about
how Ian died will be made known."

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