Baton blow and shield attack reports bring calls for full inquiry
CALLS for a public inquiry into the death of Ian Tomlinson at the G20 demo last Wednesday are growing, after new witness statements emerged that suggest police violence was at the root of the incident.
"I remember seeing Ian Tomlinson," said Anna Branthwaite.
"He was rushed from behind by a riot officer with a helmet and shield two or three minutes before he collapsed."
Another witness, Amiri Howe, says she saw Tomlinson being hit "near the head" by a police officer's baton, while a third, who wishes to remain anonymous, said:
"I saw a man violently propelled forward, as though he'd been flung by the arm, and fall forward on his head," she said.
"He hit the top front area of his head on the pavement. I noticed his fall particularly because it struck me as a horrifically forceful push by a policeman and an especially hard fall. It made me wince."
The incident took place at the Royal Exchange Buildings, as police were pushing back demonstrators towards nearby Cornhill, where Tomlinson collapsed.
Tomlinson, a 47 year-old newsagent on his way home, was a bystander to the demo, at which police used various controversial crowd control tactics, including penning in thousands of people for several hours.
The new evidence paints a different picture to the one put out by police via the national media last week.
If first reports were to be believed, Tomlinson died of natural causes while valiant police medics tried to save him in the midst of hordes of screaming anarchists lobbing volleys of bottles at the dying man.
Within a couple of days, that had been watered down to one or two plastic bottles thrown in response to a police charge and now we have at least three witness statements suggesting police violence as a possible cause of death.
"There will have to be a full inquest with a jury," said Liberal Democrat MP David Howarth, one of those calling for an inquiry.
"It is a possibility this death was at police hands."
Meanwhile, the Independent Police Complaints Commission is continuing with its own probe into Tomlinson's death, though it has so far stopped short of opening what it terms a full investigation.