London cop's unprovoked attack on G20 protestor BYSTANDER who then has fatal heart attack

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187 Responses to “London cop's unprovoked attack on G20 protestor BYSTANDER who then has fatal heart attack”

  1. BritSwedeGuy says:

    Nice pic of a police medic attacking protestors http://gl0rify.blogspot.com/2009/04/death-at-g20-media-versus-reality.html

  2. Nelson.C says:

    “If I’m surrounded by the people I think I am” doesn’t sound too impartial to me, Walter.

  3. WalterBillington says:

    @41 – not an eyewitness. I’m looking at the video, the raw footage, and making all my calls off that. So I’m relying on the raw media and the potentially accurate and unaltered representation that provides (and if the Beeb and Guarniad published different versions of the same video, we’d have issues)

    I’m ignoring the media as an organism – composed of pundits, lobbyists, extractions and abstractions of truth, so on.

    Don’t need to be an eyewitness here. In Cory’s last article on the protests, I emphasised the need for evidence before making conclusions. And here it is.

    I don’t presume others have a greater propensity to being seduced by the media than me, but I do exhort at every appropriate occasion the requirement to analyse effectively and objectively. We’re all prone to inclinations. We have to work, as the smart monkeys we are, to maintain objectivity.

    You might say I’m following the scientific method.

  4. WalterBillington says:

    @43 – I think I see his left knee collapse forward following a strike with a baton. Inconclusive.

    So why don’t protests organise themselves with identifiable first-aiders within their ranks? What’d be wrong with that? Red-cross style, reach agreement with the cops that when these people move into action, they must respect that and get medical assistance, and utilise the medical resource there on the scene – the identifiable first-aider.

    It must be said – portable defibrillators are amazing life-saving devices. Tomlinson could relatively easily have been saved, presuming his heart hadn’t totally exploded.

  5. Marja says:

    #46

    Over here, the cops attack medics, same as reporters.

  6. elsmiley says:

    I doubt if that guy would have beaten up the cops if the roles were reversed. The argument of “what did you expect?” begs the question–the act itself is nonetheless wrong. I would expect that people could be decent to one another.

  7. Nelson.C says:

    And you’re still trying to blacken Tomlinson, Walter. There is no evidence that he “directly engaged” the police. He was leaning against a wall, possibly inebriated, when the police van tried to get through. We don’t know precisely what happened during his second encounter, though eye-witness reports give no hint of provocative behaviour on his part, but we have two separate videos of his third encounter, where we can see that he did nothing to provoke the attack. How is this “direct engagement”?

    And how is Bank not on Tomlinson’s way home to Smithfield from Monument? I’m not a native of London, but the obvious route to me is up King William to Bank, along Poultry, Cheapside, Newgate, then up Giltspur or Snowhill. On this particular day he might have been better off going along Cannon Street, but maybe curiousity and habit got the better of him. These aren’t faults. Neither was an assault from police officers “foreseeable” to any degree when he knocked off work that evening.

    “Someone up above” described Tomlinson as passive/aggressive, you say. Uh, I think that someone was you, Walter.

    Say what you like, Walter, by all means, but if you continue to directly engage this thread with this black-hearted calumny on someone who was by all accounts, despite his alcoholism, a gentle soul, a kind man with no malice for anyone, expect to get called out on it. Even allowing for post mortem filtering, he does not deserve to be the subject of this one-man disinformation campaign you want to run.

    It is clear that you are not an impartial observer, Walter. You came into this thread with an already-set opinion, on the basis of very little information, when given new information you’ve have simply tried to bend it to your prejudices, and when challenged on it have laughably tried to invert the challenge by accusing others of being biased. I don’t have to be an unkempt peace-camper to watch the videos and see an unprovoked assault or to assert that no matter what had gone down earlier, it was an illegal act. With that in mind, your continued denigration of a dead man can only be regarded with suspicion and contempt.

  8. WalterBillington says:

    @47 Of course, agreed – silly not to, but that’s like asking me if pigs are pink. Note that because of the status in popular perception, any Millwall fan makes a choice whether or not to be associated with the status. Unless they’ve been away for a long time.

    @49 – yes I do ask a lot, which is why in general I say the protests were ineffectual. I would have been arrested in my attempts to assist the person. I would have recited the badge numbers in the faces of the police, so they knew clearly they were id’d. I would have kept cool and insisted.

    Yes, frightening and chaotic, but yes, dying man. I don’t blame or feel anything negative towards the first aider in the slightest – horses for courses – but me personally, I set a high bar. I’ve engaged in exceptionally dangerous situations to defuse and stop violence. It’s risky, and I’m not trained to do it, but I can’t stand by, and I don’t get brushed off.

    @50 I’m not saying he was looking for trouble, but I am saying that a cautious individual would not wear this shirt in a protest (even riot-prone) area, in front of high-tension police. Much the same as when supporters travelling on the tube keep their shirts under jackets or in their bags – they know perfectly well that aggressive members of the other supporters will respond as if provoked. I reiterate: he looks like he was treading that fine line which aggressive people know, the line between absolute and distinct provocation, and passive aggression – it’s called baiting.

    @51 – yes, that’s why I’m seeking confirmation of someone else’s statement it’s a Millwall shirt. The dynamic of my thinking pivots on that. Without the Millwall shirt, I can see that he’s loitering / sauntering / passively obstructing, but it takes the sting out, and would lean me more strongly towards the idea he’s already suffering chest pains and is slightly disoriented and preoccupied.

    @52 that’s why I say “inconclusive” in #46.

    @53 – it’s not a reason, but it is reasonably foreseeable. From a harsh perspective, communicating an aggressive message to someone you define passively as an opponent is dangerous, and invites undesirable outcomes If you wear a shirt that reads “Fuck the police”, you wouldn’t really be surprised to receive quizzical looks from anyone in a security function. We don’t live in Utopia. From a gentle perspective – the broken windows theory, so well applied in NYNY, highlights that minor indicators of antisocial behaviour and intent are just that: indicators, and might warrant fixing or investigation. Much as when I ride my motorbike into work, I keep a wary eye out for dinged and patched cars, for rev-happy geezers, etc, the police will keep their eye out for indicators of trouble.

    “Fuck the police” would be one of those indicators. Putting that message on yourself is an interaction, because it’s a communication, as much as if you sang it to them to the tune of Singing in the Rain. “I’m fucking the police, I’m fucking the police – what a wonderful fee-ling, to be fucking the police”. C’mon, don’t rest on the old chestnut of “it was passive behaviour” – we’re not 14 years old.

    See – we need a security apparatus in society, otherwise we all rob eachother. The best thing for us to do is hold it to account, and the best way to do it is interact and respond to it.

    I’m not saying all coppers are always very good, but work with them, not against them. Prevent them gaining the tipping-point of power.

  9. 13strong says:

    “@37 – ever been in a rioting fan crowd? Scariest thing that’s ever happened to me, including being stoned by a gang in Lagos, Nigeria. My rioting fan crowd was Middlesborough. Millwall are well known in football circles for being hard-core, nasty supporters. Suggest you research.”

    Oh, I love being patronised. I know the common perception of Millwall fans, and I’m sure it’s not without grounds, but to suggest that his wearing a Millwall shirt justifies his being singled out as a troublemaker, and therefore somehow more worthy of police brutality, is wrongheaded. I would argue that not all Millwall fans are thugs. Do you disagree?

  10. John Coulthart says:

    “I’m saying the police were brutal, so no surprise they’re stepping forward.”

    They’re stepping forward seven days after the assault took place and 24 hours after video evidence came to light. A second autopsy is now required solely because of the new video evidence.

  11. siradambeck says:

    My feeling is that the police push wasn’t excessive. It’s at the precipice of a slippery slope though.

  12. 13strong says:

    “@35 – it means that you don’t let people brush you aside when you believe someone is in peril.”

    And what would you have done, faced with a wall of riot police and police medics in riot gear? If they were ignoring your attempts to help, what would you do?

    If you touch them, it’s likely you’ll get beaten and/or dragged away and arrested. What else could you do?

    You ask a hell of a lot of a single person in a chaotic, frightening situation.

  13. BlackPanda says:

    Walter, unless I’m mistaken, you’re trying to justify this on the basis that the man was “obviously looking for his trouble”, because he was wearing the football shirt of his team who happened to be playing on the same day?

  14. Nelson.C says:

    This looks to be the image on Tomlinson’s tee-shirt. I’m not a football fan, so I don’t know if it would be easily recognised as a specifically Millwall-related shirt. But I kind of doubt that the officer that shoved him even saw the front of his shirt anyway.

    As to the accusations that he was acting provocatively, I can’t see it myself. When Tomlinson first appears in the video, he’s just sauntering across the pavemented area, while the police are arriving from his right. The only obvious interaction he has with them is a bit of confusion with the dogs, and he seems to be trying to get out of the way of the cops. The very next thing to happen is that the officer shoves him, seemingly in a way to make him fall over rather than to get him to gee up a bit. That was a vicious, unprovoked shove, at least a couple of steps up the ladder of applied force.

    It can be seen in the first few seconds of video that the crowd isn’t particularly rowdy, so there’s no excuse of a clear and present danger that the officer should feel he has to react to.

    Uninformed foreigners from across the herring pond have been fond of invoking the phrase “police state” about the UK of late. But it says something about the state these folk come from that many seem to think that sudden violence is the appropriate reaction when someone is slow to follow the instructions of a police officer.

  15. 13strong says:

    Also, it doesn’t look to me like Tomlinson was wearing a Millwall shirt. Looks like a grey t-shirt with a design on the front of a figure.

  16. Lordrabbi says:

    #46: You think you see a collasped knee, I think I see a man adjusting his stride due to dogs possibly. It is inconclusive, thus you have to be very careful with the language you use, it changes how people perceive and remember events.

  17. failix says:

    What’s with all that Millwall T-shirt BS? Even if I wear a “Fuck the Police” T-shirt it’s still not a reason for the police to even interact with me while I’m only walking home!

  18. WalterBillington says:

    * Sound of coffee brewing *

  19. ValuedRug says:

    My blood boils when I see stuff like this. I send it around to my buddies on IM or email. I want revenge as if it was me or a family member on the ground. Then we go back to our lives.

  20. Padraig says:

    Mall Ninja say,

    If trouble ahead, stay clear
    Police may be near.
    You must be wearing target on head
    Police like street thug
    If you near
    You are target – you they mug

    I have no bone to pick with the police. They are a necessary part of a civil society.

    I’ve had the misfortune of requiring the assistance of the police during my career. They have been very useful and helpful. After some discussion we’ve worked out who is responsible for what and all has been good because we’ve each understood what the other needs. I’ve even contacted the Local Area Commander on more than one occasion to mention this to them.

    I’ve also been booked (once) for a traffic offence. He was a bit of a dick. So are so many others in so many other jobs. You can’t weed them all out.

    Seriously, in this instance some police are acting like thugs and have been caught out. Good on the people with the cameras.

  21. jacobian says:

    Home Office PR? Don’t be ridiculous. You can only possibly say that unashamedly if you’re living in a fantasy utopian world. The issue with the kind of comment you make is that it’s clear you cannot adequately manage the information you’re confronted with.

    First, the comment you are responding to could have been in jest from the phrasing. However, it is known that governments hire people to spread bullsh*t in comments on the internet.

    I think the reason people might think that you are from the home office is because your logic is so twisted that most normal people would be unable to imagine someone saying it unless it was their job.

    I mean: the guy was wearing a jersey so it was ok he was killed by police by an attack from behind…

    Yeah, I’d like to believe that anyone who said that felt it was their duty. Otherwise they’d have to be pretty sick.

  22. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Community Manager says:

    If this were a book or a story we were discussing, I’d be certain Walter Billington was the author. That’s where I’d normally expect to see this kind of nearly compulsive responsiveness.

  23. Nur says:

    “Millwall supporters are your classic hooligans, and classic police-baiters.”

    Sounds like WalterBillington is a Chelsea fan to me :).

    You’re really basing a whole lot on the fact he supports his local team – Millwall is a London based football and this man lived in London. That’s like someone in New York supporting the Yankees – that is, “not entirely surprising”.

    People do wear the shirts of teams they support, that’s how the sports merchandise industry works. He wasn’t some high powered lawyer who’s just left the House of Lords and had to change into his “police-baiting” getup just to annoy the police, he was a normal, local man who sold newspapers and wanted to go home through a police barricade.

    If you really want to call a dead man a yob I want to see evidence beyond the team he supports. Shame on you.

  24. Nur says:

    “Millwall supporters are your classic hooligans, and classic police-baiters.”

    Sounds like WalterBillington is a Chelsea fan to me :).

    You’re really basing a whole lot on the fact he supports his local team – Millwall is a London based football and this man lived in London. That’s like someone in New York supporting the Yankees – that is, “not entirely surprising”.

    People do wear the shirts of teams they support, that’s how the sports merchandise industry works. He wasn’t some high powered lawyer who’s just left the House of Lords and had to change into his “police-baiting” getup just to annoy the police, he was a normal, local man who sold newspapers and wanted to go home through a police barricade.

    If you really want to call a dead man a yob I want to see evidence beyond the team he supports. Shame on you.

  25. Chrisyf says:

    @Walter

    I’m not sure what you’re asking about, specifically regarding “resident 1st aiders”. What I can tell you is that in every protest that I’ve been involved in, we’ve had a first responder team, legal team and media team created specifically from within the ranks of the protesters.

    The first responders all had first aid training, some of them were volunteer firefighters or medical students. The legal team were law students and one was a former lawyer. The media team were equipped with video and still cameras.

    All teams were in contact via cell phones and walkie-talkies. All members of these teams were marked with bright arm bands or flags so we could easily be found. Seems fairly organized to me.

  26. Nelson.C says:

    Walter, you’re like an amateur detective, more in love with hypotheses than asking questions. You’re still trying to assign some blame to Tomlinson. There is and was nothing dubious about his presence in the area. This is the centre of London, there were people there because they worked there, there were people there because they were on their way somewhere else, there were people there to protest, and there were people there to watch the protestors. There was no curfew.

    Maybe Tomlinson was there because he works nearby (numerous reports have said that he was on his way home after work), maybe he was there to sink a few bevies before going back to his hostel. He may, indeed, have been there to watch the protestors. All of these are completely normal activities, and merit no blame. Even being slow to move out of the way of a police van isn’t an offence, not one that a magistrate would waste any time with at any rate.

    And, Walter, I have no power to censor you, and I have not done so. Censuring isn’t censoring, despite the resemblance in spelling. I suggested that you should self-edit, which is an entirely different thing.

  27. Nur says:

    “Millwall supporters are your classic hooligans, and classic police-baiters.”

    Sounds like WalterBillington is a Chelsea fan to me :).

    You’re really basing a whole lot on the fact he supports his local team – Millwall is a London based football and this man lived in London. That’s like someone in New York supporting the Yankees – that is, “not entirely surprising”.

    People do wear the shirts of teams they support, that’s how the sports merchandise industry works. He wasn’t some high powered lawyer who’s just left the House of Lords and had to change into his “police-baiting” getup just to annoy the police, he was a normal, local man who sold newspapers and wanted to go home through a police barricade.

    If you really want to call a dead man a yob I want to see evidence beyond the team he supports. Shame on you.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Walter Billington – Ian Tomlinson’s attempted walk home – http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/interactive/2009/apr/08/g20-police-assault-ian-tomlinson

  29. Kay the Complainer says:

    This is like the NYC cop clotheslining a cyclist at the Critical Mass ride: you can froth all you like about how awful Critical Mass/G20 protesters/football fans are, but in the end one man attacked and possibly caused the death of another.

    News flash, Walter: Your attire and attitude are NOT grounds for attack on the part of the police or anyone else.

  30. brunogaliza says:

    @WalterBillington

    Man, I’m sorry but I don’t think it’s arguable: the police should not ever harm people. Period. As an institution their job is to keep society safe from the dangers that, well, society creates in all levels and in all ways, but still it should be their focus always to defend the people’s interests. And listen, I know a lot about a harsh police: I’m from Brazil.

    The more chaotic society is politically, socially and even culturally, the more you can see the disparities between how it is and how it should be, and around here it’s really clear: brazilian police, for an example, exists exclusively to keep the poor away from the rich. It’s a serious shame that british police is becoming just another weapon to a paranoid state.

  31. Chrisyf says:

    @Walter

    I chose that abbreviated version of our exchange because I was part of the media team and that sums up what we discussed. I was attempting to show that we had an understanding of each others’ roles. Our relationship with the police was definitely amicable. As someone who was helping to marshal the march along its’ route as well as film the protest, I chatted with several officers along the route, who were also walking with the march doing the same thing I was. It was definitely a friendly scenario.

    Police nowadays know that when there is an organized protest there will be marshals or medics or organizers or whoever who are wearing armbands. The police I was walking with came and found me because of my armband. I assure you that they are just as trained in protest conduct as we were. Sometimes they just throw that training out the window. I’ve seen it happen.

    I can totally understand wanting to find out if/how Tomlinson had provoked an attack, but you’re forgetting that police exist to protect us, not harm us. Prior provocation or not, Tomlinson was exhibiting no threat whatsoever at the time that he was attacked.

  32. brunogaliza says:

    @WalterBillington

    Man, I’m sorry but I don’t think it’s arguable: the police should not ever harm people. Period. As an institution their job is to keep society safe from the dangers that, well, society creates in all levels and in all ways, but still it should be their focus always to defend the people’s interests. And listen, I know a lot about a harsh police: I’m from Brazil.

    The more chaotic society is politically, socially and even culturally, the more you can see the disparities between how it is and how it should be, and around here it’s really clear: brazilian police, for an example, exists exclusively to keep the poor away from the rich. It’s a serious shame that british police is becoming just another weapon to a paranoid state.

  33. brunogaliza says:

    @WalterBillington

    Man, I’m sorry but I don’t think it’s arguable: the police should not ever harm people. Period. As an institution their job is to keep society safe from the dangers that, well, society creates in all levels and in all ways, but still it should be their focus always to defend the people’s interests. And listen, I know a lot about a harsh police: I’m from Brazil.

    The more chaotic society is politically, socially and even culturally, the more you can see the disparities between how it is and how it should be, and around here it’s really clear: brazilian police, for an example, exists exclusively to keep the poor away from the rich. It’s a serious shame that british police is becoming just another weapon to a paranoid state.

  34. brunogaliza says:

    @WalterBillington

    Man, I’m sorry but I don’t think it’s arguable: the police should not ever harm people. Period. As an institution their job is to keep society safe from the dangers that, well, society creates in all levels and in all ways, but still it should be their focus always to defend the people’s interests. And listen, I know a lot about a harsh police: I’m from Brazil.

    The more chaotic society is politically, socially and even culturally, the more you can see the disparities between how it is and how it should be, and around here it’s really clear: brazilian police, for an example, exists exclusively to keep the poor away from the rich. It’s a serious shame that british police is becoming just another weapon to a paranoid state.

  35. brunogaliza says:

    @WalterBillington

    Man, I’m sorry but I don’t think it’s arguable: the police should not ever harm people. Period. As an institution their job is to keep society safe from the dangers that, well, society creates in all levels and in all ways, but still it should be their focus always to defend the people’s interests. And listen, I know a lot about a harsh police: I’m from Brazil.

    The more chaotic society is politically, socially and even culturally, the more you can see the disparities between how it is and how it should be, and around here it’s really clear: brazilian police, for an example, exists exclusively to keep the poor away from the rich. It’s a serious shame that british police is becoming just another weapon to a paranoid state.

  36. Nur says:

    I think WalterBillington is secretly a Chelsea fan.

    Looking at someone who lives in London supporting Millwall as “unusual” or a deliberate act of “police-baiting” is like wondering what on earth those crazy people from New York are doing supporting the Yankees. (Although that in itself is a topic for another day). It’s not a political statement, it was his team.

    WalterBillington points out that the man is walking slowly, he also died of a heart attack minutes later. Do you wonder if the two things are perhaps linked? Expecting Olympic games like speed out of a man with a bad heart is a bit uncharitable.

    “He makes a classic victim pose”. Yeah, because he’s a victim of an attack – he’s been pushed to the ground by a police officer. Of all people he’s allowed to make that pose.

    You suggest that instead “He should stamp his feet”. And yes he should, if he’s 3 years old and in the sweet aisle of the supermarket with his mother. However this is a grown man and turning and presumably saying something to the effect of “what’d you do that for, I was just walking” and that is reasonable.

    Think about this, please. It’s all fair and well saying you’re objective but the anti-Millwall bias in itself speaks against you. We all need to work to be objective and it seems you need to work to not think the worst of people from London.

  37. WalterBillington says:

    @142 You don’t get it. I’m presuming BB is populated by pro civ-lib humanitarian types. Open to all thinking. Desiring progress. Nice twist.

    @145 accepted, that’s a bit shit really. What can happen differently with protests in the future to (1) have video evidence be more comprehensive, accessible and factual (eg UN-type monitors dispersed in the crowds, helmet-cams, whatever). Needs organisation. Add that to my UN-type medics idea. Then it becomes an organised protest.

    @146 Many a true word is said in jest. I can’t stand in a storm of controversy and accept anything that faintly tarnishes my position. And you’re paraphrasing to make it seem that I wrote “the guy was wearing a jersey so it was ok he was killed by police by an attack from behind…”. Work for Alastair Campbell, do you? I’m … spinning around … move out of my way … I didn’t write that, and that isn’t the logical conclusion or even a possible conclusion from what I’ve written. So on that, get your facts straight. Otherwise how much better are you than the people who deliberately spin?

    @147 Given that the writing process is generally painstaking and slow, “nearly compulsive responsiveness” (whatever that actually might mean) wouldn’t really apply to that would it? So you’ve given up on challenging my arguments, and resorted to attacking the mode of presentation? That’s a full retreat, read acceptance of my stance.

    @149 Yes, when I wrote “inconclusive”, I meant it. It was not clear from the initial video that the strike happened, although I felt it did (remember how I keep banging on about clear analysis and objectivity?). But the initial video was inconclusive because it could have been his stride that caused the knee flex. But now we know, and I’m sickened by what the cop did.

    @151 Don’t share your drugs, they’re making you paranoi. See, there’s this theme lurking in this reduction of the soup that people want to go anywhere, anytime, and that if anything bad happens to them, it’s not their fault in the slightest. Problem is, your liberties end where mine begin. There are people with different ideas and attitudes, and the trick is to work in co-operation or co-ordination with them, not to aggress and attack.

    I think this is the end. How would you all change this for next time? No-one ever answers that question. I think you actually like the status quo.

    One last query – why are you all still calling these people “officers”? That’s a title that befits a person of standing, of responsibility exercised in a balanced and useful way. It’s something to be reserved.

    To me, they’re just angry cops, in a bad situation. Do you recall the two undercover officers who were discovered by a mob in Northern Ireland in the late 80s? A helicopter hovered overhead, trying to assist them, but the crowd beat them to death. Every cop, in every crowd situation, will have that scary thought in their mind. And whenever we’re near them, protesting or otherwise, we should remember that kind of thing, so we can interact sensibly and usefully with them.

  38. WalterBillington says:

    Nelson

    Why do you insist on burnishing my words with over-excited impressions? I’m not trying to blacken Tomlinson’s name, but establish how he ended up there.

    Third encounter – the did nothing – three options (1) flirting with the police, (2) heart attack underway, feeling pretty bad, (3) hot, bothered and under the influence, unable to process too well what’s going on, and wishing he was not there.

    I think “unprovoked” lacks any ambiguity, which is why I draw attention to the making of the overall situation. The cop in question responded to Tomlinson’s presence with unnecessary force, in my view. But Tonlinson was not an “innocent bystander”, in the manner of a lost nun.

    Bank IS on ONE of the routes from Monument to Smithfields. It is the direct route through the trouble-zone. Going west along Cannon Street costs no more time. And the closer you walked to the events, the more it was clear you were entering a “hot zone”. It wasn’t a situation where you turn a corner and you’re in it – it was a steadily escalating situation as you approached the epicenter. As I said above, 1/4 mile away it was already sufficiently uncomfortable that I chose to move away with my companions. My instinct was to think – “proceeding is foolish”, because already in the outskirts of the protest were unsavoury characters – angry looking teens mingling with gentle protesters, so on.

    Curiosity and habit. That’s my point. I’m not saying he said “I’m off to cause bother with the cops”, I’m saying he didn’t exercise a choice to avoid the situation altogether.

    Passive Aggressive – see #161, who with this description seems sufficiently confident in their views. They’re describing accurately the mindset of an alcoholic.

    How is this disinformation? Why would you even raise that spectre? You might as well say I’m a witch. But what it does do is show your own proclivities. Disinformation! What information have I given?

    So it’s not denigration. I accept that he may have been a kind-hearted soul, and all that. I personally know a number of alcoholics, in recovery and otherwise, and the one thing they all talk about is the need and temptation to self-harm, a demon of destruction embedded in them that they combat minute to minute.

    I’m presenting an alternative analysis that does not conform to the prejudices of this forum, and seeing an incapacity of you all to show any willingness to consider any other possibilities than the party line you’ve drawn.

    It’s disappointing, but educational, to witness this inability to rise over a situation, especially such an important one, and analyse it differently. Explicit in all of my posts is the theme of “option 1, 2, 3″ – I’m exploring options, which gives me a stronger ability to understand exactly how the third point of aggression occurred, and to consider what could have been different, and then to implement some kind of change based on that learning.

    It’s about change, learning, recognition that we all have ghosts in the cupboard. Everyone – even you, Nelson. Given the right set of circumstances, influences, pressures, we’re all capable of making a mistake, however minor, that can lead us inexorably towards some awful conclusion. And I think of alcoholics. They have an awful tendency to recidivism, and when they crash , they drink hard for days, then find themselves standing in front of mirrors with knives to their own throats.

    Out of interest, you can’t assert it was an illegal act until you understand the law adequately to know the precise set of rules in place for that cop at that time. I’ve studied law, I’ve got a degree in it, with a focus on police and criminal law, and as much as I want it to be illegal, I’ve got a dark feeling that the police gain extra powers for protest/riot situations. That said – I have said before – the cop exercised brutal and unnecessary force in engaging with Tomlinson.

    Actually, I came into this thread in two minds. But the more I saw that one of those minds was being spat at, the more I sought to bolster it and demonstrate my point. The other side was perfectly healthy, so I didn’t post on it.

    Denigration of a dead man. It isn’t denigration to describe a man. Would you say all the press out there is denigrating him, when they point out the negative sides of his history? That again points out the zone you’re operating from, and shows that you cannot straddle over into other people’s point of view.

    Laughably … for people who work so hard to show their shiny purity, there’s a heck of a lot of misquoting, word-twisting and angry desire to use any means to silence dissent and criticism. That’s a good point – rattling on about surveillance, the state, the cheating politicians and awful police – but then practicing the same methods, using the same tools, at no matter how low a level, to achieve means.

    My final point – there are multiple ways of looking at people and situations, and to fail to do so denies us the all-round vision we need to fully comprehend a situation, and to respond to it. In this instance, a prosecution may well fail on some technicality or other, because someone didn’t prepare well or look at the situation from all angles. Gandhi did this. It served him well.

    That’s a theme. Failure to approach all of this with true, accurate strategy. From the protests to this blog.

    It’s a consequential fallability, that allows people to deny what’s in front of them in favour of the version they prefer. Which makes them vulnerable to all sorts of influence, malign or otherwise. It makes them weak, and ineffectual.

    And that, my friends, is the nub of the problem. We are dealing with a potentially awful change in society, but I don’t think you all have the capacity to impact it much at all. You don’t understand the people you’re grappling with, how they tick, and how well organised they are, and how they do it. You’re not well equipped.

    So many fine words, but what impact, what effect?

    This all went through my mind this morning, and I decided on this thread that that’s it.

    Until the next one -

    Adieu.

  39. Nur says:

    I think WalterBillington is secretly a Chelsea fan.

    Looking at someone who lives in London supporting Millwall as “unusual” or a deliberate act of “police-baiting” is like wondering what on earth those crazy people from New York are doing supporting the Yankees. (Although that in itself is a topic for another day). It’s not a political statement, it was his team.

    WalterBillington points out that the man is walking slowly, he also died of a heart attack minutes later. Do you wonder if the two things are perhaps linked? Expecting Olympic games like speed out of a man with a bad heart is a bit uncharitable.

    “He makes a classic victim pose”. Yeah, because he’s a victim of an attack – he’s been pushed to the ground by a police officer. Of all people he’s allowed to make that pose.

    You suggest that instead “He should stamp his feet”. And yes he should, if he’s 3 years old and in the sweet aisle of the supermarket with his mother. However this is a grown man and turning and presumably saying something to the effect of “what’d you do that for, I was just walking” is a reasonable reaction.

    Think about this, please. It’s all fair and well saying you’re objective but the anti-Millwall bias in itself speaks against you. We all need to work to be objective and it seems you need to work to not think the worst of people from London.

  40. Anonymous says:

    I wasn’t aware one had to be a cautious person in order to avoid being knocked down and clubbed by police.

    Or if a person is knocked down and clubbed by police, when he was factually just walking around, his victimhood should be questioned by saying “no cautious person would walk like *that*.”

    I sure don’t want to live in your world, Walter.

  41. Nur says:

    I think WalterBillington is secretly a Chelsea fan.

    Looking at someone who lives in London supporting Millwall as “unusual” or a deliberate act of “police-baiting” is like wondering what on earth those crazy people from New York are doing supporting the Yankees. (Although that in itself is a topic for another day). It’s not a political statement, it was his team.

    WalterBillington points out that the man is walking slowly, he also died of a heart attack minutes later. Do you wonder if the two things are perhaps linked? Expecting Olympic games like speed out of a man with a bad heart is a bit uncharitable.

    “He makes a classic victim pose”. Yeah, because he’s a victim of an attack – he’s been pushed to the ground by a police officer. Of all people he’s allowed to make that pose.

    You suggest that instead “He should stamp his feet”. And yes he should, if he’s 3 years old and in the sweet aisle of the supermarket with his mother. However this is a grown man and turning and presumably saying something to the effect of “what’d you do that for, I was just walking” and that is reasonable.

    Think about this, please. It’s all fair and well saying you’re objective but the anti-Millwall bias in itself speaks against you. We all need to work to be objective and it seems you need to work to not think the worst of people from London.

  42. Anonymous says:

    “In orwellian England, police beat you.”

  43. Anonymous says:

    I know it’s only one video viewpoint here, but I’m really repulsed by the additional fact that not one of the OTHER officers seems to step up and remonstrate with the sneaky hit-from-behind cop. I guess it’s ok to just whack some old guy upside the head if you’re an officer of the law and you feel pissed off or threatened. Yay! I’m so not in a hurry to spend a few days in the land of police surveillance and thuggery. That officer should be hung, at least by the thumbs.

  44. Nelson.C says:

    Walter, if you know so little, do you really consider it wise to comment so freely and at such length?

    Tomlinson (please stop calling him IT, he deserves better than to remind people of a Stephen King boogieman) was a news vendor; I don’t know where he worked or where his home was. The video was taken at 7.20 pm and he collapsed and died at 7.25 pm.

  45. jacobian says:

    I for one think BoingBoing staff should look at the origin of WalterBillington’s IP to see if it is coming from govenment or police origins. From the number of posts and the content, it seems highly likely that he’s pushing an agenda.

  46. Anonymous says:

    The policeman needs to be sent to an international court for trial under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as
    Article 23
    Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

    Being attacked (thus put in fear of your life for going to work that day had he lived) is a clear violation of international law and the policeman needs to stand trial to prove his innocent or guilt as to if he is an internatioal law criminal or not, the Hague is in permanant session and the Police (and also MI5 and MI6) know where he lives, so they can send him there to stand tial under article 23.

  47. WalterBillington says:

    @49 – yes I do ask a lot, which is why in general I say the protests were ineffectual. I would have been arrested in my attempts to assist the person. I would have recited the badge numbers in the faces of the police, so they knew clearly they were id’d. I would have kept cool and insisted.

    Yes, frightening and chaotic, but yes, dying man. I don’t blame or feel anything negative towards the first aider in the slightest – horses for courses – but me personally, I set a high bar. I’ve engaged in exceptionally dangerous situations to defuse and stop violence. It’s risky, and I’m not trained to do it, but I can’t stand by, and I don’t get brushed off.

    @50 I’m not saying he was looking for trouble, but I am saying that a cautious individual would not wear this shirt in a protest (even riot-prone) area, in front of high-tension police. Much the same as when supporters travelling on the tube keep their shirts under jackets or in their bags – they know perfectly well that aggressive members of the other supporters will respond as if provoked. I reiterate: he looks like he was treading that fine line which aggressive people know, the line between absolute and distinct provocation, and passive aggression – it’s called baiting.

    @51 – yes, that’s why I’m seeking confirmation of someone else’s statement it’s a Millwall shirt. The dynamic of my thinking pivots on that. Without the Millwall shirt, I can see that he’s loitering / sauntering / passively obstructing, but it takes the sting out, and would lean me more strongly towards the idea he’s already suffering chest pains and is slightly disoriented and preoccupied.

    @52 that’s why I say “inconclusive” in #46.

    @53 – it’s not a reason, but it is reasonably foreseeable. From a harsh perspective, communicating an aggressive message to someone you define passively as an opponent is dangerous, and invites undesirable outcomes If you wear a shirt that reads “Fuck the police”, you wouldn’t really be surprised to receive quizzical looks from anyone in a security function. We don’t live in Utopia. From a gentle perspective – the broken windows theory, so well applied in NYNY, highlights that minor indicators of antisocial behaviour and intent are just that: indicators, and might warrant fixing or investigation. Much as when I ride my motorbike into work, I keep a wary eye out for dinged and patched cars, for rev-happy geezers, etc, the police will keep their eye out for indicators of trouble.

    “Fuck the police” would be one of those indicators. Putting that message on yourself is an interaction, because it’s a communication, as much as if you sang it to them to the tune of Singing in the Rain. “I’m fucking the police, I’m fucking the police – what a wonderful fee-ling, to be fucking the police”. C’mon, don’t rest on the old chestnut of “it was passive behaviour” – we’re not 14 years old.

    See – we need a security apparatus in society, otherwise we all rob eachother. The best thing for us to do is hold it to account, and the best way to do it is interact and respond to it.

    I’m not saying all coppers are always very good, but work with them, not against them. Prevent them gaining the tipping-point of power.

  48. WalterBillington says:

    @49 – yes I do ask a lot, which is why in general I say the protests were ineffectual. I would have been arrested in my attempts to assist the person. I would have recited the badge numbers in the faces of the police, so they knew clearly they were id’d. I would have kept cool and insisted.

    Yes, frightening and chaotic, but yes, dying man. I don’t blame or feel anything negative towards the first aider in the slightest – horses for courses – but me personally, I set a high bar. I’ve engaged in exceptionally dangerous situations to defuse and stop violence. It’s risky, and I’m not trained to do it, but I can’t stand by, and I don’t get brushed off.

    @50 I’m not saying he was looking for trouble, but I am saying that a cautious individual would not wear this shirt in a protest (even riot-prone) area, in front of high-tension police. Much the same as when supporters travelling on the tube keep their shirts under jackets or in their bags – they know perfectly well that aggressive members of the other supporters will respond as if provoked. I reiterate: he looks like he was treading that fine line which aggressive people know, the line between absolute and distinct provocation, and passive aggression – it’s called baiting.

    @51 – yes, that’s why I’m seeking confirmation of someone else’s statement it’s a Millwall shirt. The dynamic of my thinking pivots on that. Without the Millwall shirt, I can see that he’s loitering / sauntering / passively obstructing, but it takes the sting out, and would lean me more strongly towards the idea he’s already suffering chest pains and is slightly disoriented and preoccupied.

    @52 that’s why I say “inconclusive” in #46.

    @53 – it’s not a reason, but it is reasonably foreseeable. From a harsh perspective, communicating an aggressive message to someone you define passively as an opponent is dangerous, and invites undesirable outcomes If you wear a shirt that reads “Fuck the police”, you wouldn’t really be surprised to receive quizzical looks from anyone in a security function. We don’t live in Utopia. From a gentle perspective – the broken windows theory, so well applied in NYNY, highlights that minor indicators of antisocial behaviour and intent are just that: indicators, and might warrant fixing or investigation. Much as when I ride my motorbike into work, I keep a wary eye out for dinged and patched cars, for rev-happy geezers, etc, the police will keep their eye out for indicators of trouble.

    “Fuck the police” would be one of those indicators. Putting that message on yourself is an interaction, because it’s a communication, as much as if you sang it to them to the tune of Singing in the Rain. “I’m fucking the police, I’m fucking the police – what a wonderful fee-ling, to be fucking the police”. C’mon, don’t rest on the old chestnut of “it was passive behaviour” – we’re not 14 years old.

    See – we need a security apparatus in society, otherwise we all rob eachother. The best thing for us to do is hold it to account, and the best way to do it is interact and respond to it.

    I’m not saying all coppers are always very good, but work with them, not against them. Prevent them gaining the tipping-point of power.

  49. 13strong says:

    WALTER:

    “I would have been arrested in my attempts to assist the person. I would have recited the badge numbers in the faces of the police, so they knew clearly they were id’d. I would have kept cool and insisted… but me personally, I set a high bar.”

    Well, bully for you. And I’d ask how causing a further ruckus, and forcibly distracting the police officers from aiding Tomlinson would have helped him?

    The problem with a lot of your posts is that it shows very little empathy for or understanding of other individuals and the fact that they’re NOT YOU. You claim you would have kicked up more of a fuss than the protester who went to Tomlinson’s aid. But you weren’t there, and you’re not that protester. Can you understand why said protester didn’t wade in physically and get herself arrested? And do you really think that choice was wrong and/or immoral?

    Similarly, you make all kinds of judgements of Tomlinson’s appearance and behaviour, and all of those judgements utilise your personality and hypothetical reactions as the yard-stick by which his behaviour should be measured. But Tomlinson was not you. If you have bothered at all to find out a little more about the man (there’s little evidence that you have in your posts), you’d know that, by all accounts I’ve read, he was a pretty gentle, quiet guy. He was, reportedly, a recovering alcoholic. He had spent some time living on the streets. None of this allows me to fully know or understand the guy, but it suggests that his behaviour, from his choice of route home to his reactions to the police, could be the result of all kinds of things, both passive – ill health, exhaustion, depression, a passive personality, a reliance on routine – and aggressive – anger, resentment, previous encounters with police aggression (both as a homeless person and a Millwall fan), stubbornness, sense of victimhood.

    Despite your claims to be basing your posts on the facts and reliable testimonies, your views repeatedly focus blame on Tomlinson for what happened, despite our ignorance of his motives and intentions, and are too much based on a hypothetical comparison with how you would have behaved in his place.

  50. 13strong says:

    “One last query – why are you all still calling these people “officers”?”

    They are technically police officers. That’s their title. Whether they deserve that title doesn’t change that. And actually, I would argue that the idea of the police officer as “a person of standing, or responsibility exercised in a balanced and useful way” is an idea that many people here abandoned a long time ago, because it simply doesn’t reflect reality.

  51. WalterBillington says:

    @49 – yes I do ask a lot, which is why in general I say the protests were ineffectual. I would have been arrested in my attempts to assist the person. I would have recited the badge numbers in the faces of the police, so they knew clearly they were id’d. I would have kept cool and insisted.

    Yes, frightening and chaotic, but yes, dying man. I don’t blame or feel anything negative towards the first aider in the slightest – horses for courses – but me personally, I set a high bar. I’ve engaged in exceptionally dangerous situations to defuse and stop violence. It’s risky, and I’m not trained to do it, but I can’t stand by, and I don’t get brushed off.

    @50 I’m not saying he was looking for trouble, but I am saying that a cautious individual would not wear this shirt in a protest (even riot-prone) area, in front of high-tension police. Much the same as when supporters travelling on the tube keep their shirts under jackets or in their bags – they know perfectly well that aggressive members of the other supporters will respond as if provoked. I reiterate: he looks like he was treading that fine line which aggressive people know, the line between absolute and distinct provocation, and passive aggression – it’s called baiting.

    @51 – yes, that’s why I’m seeking confirmation of someone else’s statement it’s a Millwall shirt. The dynamic of my thinking pivots on that. Without the Millwall shirt, I can see that he’s loitering / sauntering / passively obstructing, but it takes the sting out, and would lean me more strongly towards the idea he’s already suffering chest pains and is slightly disoriented and preoccupied.

    @52 that’s why I say “inconclusive” in #46.

    @53 – it’s not a reason, but it is reasonably foreseeable. From a harsh perspective, communicating an aggressive message to someone you define passively as an opponent is dangerous, and invites undesirable outcomes If you wear a shirt that reads “Fuck the police”, you wouldn’t really be surprised to receive quizzical looks from anyone in a security function. We don’t live in Utopia. From a gentle perspective – the broken windows theory, so well applied in NYNY, highlights that minor indicators of antisocial behaviour and intent are just that: indicators, and might warrant fixing or investigation. Much as when I ride my motorbike into work, I keep a wary eye out for dinged and patched cars, for rev-happy geezers, etc, the police will keep their eye out for indicators of trouble.

    “Fuck the police” would be one of those indicators. Putting that message on yourself is an interaction, because it’s a communication, as much as if you sang it to them to the tune of Singing in the Rain. “I’m fucking the police, I’m fucking the police – what a wonderful fee-ling, to be fucking the police”. C’mon, don’t rest on the old chestnut of “it was passive behaviour” – we’re not 14 years old.

    See – we need a security apparatus in society, otherwise we all rob eachother. The best thing for us to do is hold it to account, and the best way to do it is interact and respond to it.

    I’m not saying all coppers are always very good, but work with them, not against them. Prevent them gaining the tipping-point of power.

  52. Anonymous says:

    @Walter

    So would you also say the woman who wore a short skirt and walked out and bumped into a guy interacting with him deserved to be raped?

    Because I see no difference in your analysis, when you allow what you think someones shirt says make a police beat down part of an acceptable response, your are blaming the rape victim for her clothes.

    No one deserves to get raped for their clothes or location.

    No one deserves to be beat down for calmly walking down the street, even if their T-shirt says “My name is Walter, please beat me”.

  53. Takuan says:

    I think this is going to escalate. I think the next demonstration will have people trying to get some payback for Tomlinson. I predict some cops are going to get hurt. I also think the government understands this and wants this.

    What do police feel about being used this way? Any care to comment on the fact that they may die to advance a politican’s agenda of social repression and control?

  54. WalterBillington says:

    @49 – yes I do ask a lot, which is why in general I say the protests were ineffectual. I would have been arrested in my attempts to assist the person. I would have recited the badge numbers in the faces of the police, so they knew clearly they were id’d. I would have kept cool and insisted.

    Yes, frightening and chaotic, but yes, dying man. I don’t blame or feel anything negative towards the first aider in the slightest – horses for courses – but me personally, I set a high bar. I’ve engaged in exceptionally dangerous situations to defuse and stop violence. It’s risky, and I’m not trained to do it, but I can’t stand by, and I don’t get brushed off.

    @50 I’m not saying he was looking for trouble, but I am saying that a cautious individual would not wear this shirt in a protest (even riot-prone) area, in front of high-tension police. Much the same as when supporters travelling on the tube keep their shirts under jackets or in their bags – they know perfectly well that aggressive members of the other supporters will respond as if provoked. I reiterate: he looks like he was treading that fine line which aggressive people know, the line between absolute and distinct provocation, and passive aggression – it’s called baiting.

    @51 – yes, that’s why I’m seeking confirmation of someone else’s statement it’s a Millwall shirt. The dynamic of my thinking pivots on that. Without the Millwall shirt, I can see that he’s loitering / sauntering / passively obstructing, but it takes the sting out, and would lean me more strongly towards the idea he’s already suffering chest pains and is slightly disoriented and preoccupied.

    @52 that’s why I say “inconclusive” in #46.

    @53 – it’s not a reason, but it is reasonably foreseeable. From a harsh perspective, communicating an aggressive message to someone you define passively as an opponent is dangerous, and invites undesirable outcomes If you wear a shirt that reads “Fuck the police”, you wouldn’t really be surprised to receive quizzical looks from anyone in a security function. We don’t live in Utopia. From a gentle perspective – the broken windows theory, so well applied in NYNY, highlights that minor indicators of antisocial behaviour and intent are just that: indicators, and might warrant fixing or investigation. Much as when I ride my motorbike into work, I keep a wary eye out for dinged and patched cars, for rev-happy geezers, etc, the police will keep their eye out for indicators of trouble.

    “Fuck the police” would be one of those indicators. Putting that message on yourself is an interaction, because it’s a communication, as much as if you sang it to them to the tune of Singing in the Rain. “I’m fucking the police, I’m fucking the police – what a wonderful fee-ling, to be fucking the police”. C’mon, don’t rest on the old chestnut of “it was passive behaviour” – we’re not 14 years old.

    See – we need a security apparatus in society, otherwise we all rob eachother. The best thing for us to do is hold it to account, and the best way to do it is interact and respond to it.

    I’m not saying all coppers are always very good, but work with them, not against them. Prevent them gaining the tipping-point of power.

  55. Boba Fett Diop says:

    Concern troll is concerned.

  56. Nelson.C says:

    “You don’t get it.”

    Walter, fair enough. I shouldn’t post late at night, the simplest statements get warped in the reading.

    Still and all, in your original post you started off with accusing Tomlinson of passive-aggressive behaviour, exacerbated by him wearing a football supporters’ shirt, which you should be having second thoughts about now. When you have to reach so far to create an ‘impartial’ position, you should really reconsider how you decided that that particular position was so impartial and why it’s so desirable to occupy that position.

    Being slow to get out of the way of a forming police line should not be, to any degree, an excuse for the level of violence clear from the Guardian video. Tomlinson was already trying to get out of the way; there was no obvious interaction from the police before the assault; the assaulting officer went directly from sight to assault without verbal warning or any of the other steps up what American police call ‘the use of force continuum’. (I don’t know what it’s called in the UK, but it’s clear that a similar philosophy is followed by the officer on the beat. Generally.)

    The football shirt celebrates the skill of a particular footballer; it has only one discreet club-specific logo over the heart. Whatever the relationship between the Metropolitan Police and Millwall supporters at football matches, this tee could not be regarded as the equivalent of a red rag to a bull, nor can the victim’s behaviour. It was an unprovoked attack on a middle-aged, overweight man trying to get around the protests and home. Trying to find reasons for the attack in the behaviour and dress of the victim… well, you would expect to receive a negative reaction if this was a rape, you shouldn’t be surprised when it’s another kind of assault.

  57. Nelson.C says:

    Walter, you waited four months to get the last word? Sneaky.

  58. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Community Manager says:

    Walter Billington, that’s a nice piece of fanfiction you’ve cooked up there, but it isn’t evidence of anything.

    First, “sauntering” and “being aware that they’re aware of you, and vice-versa” don’t qualify as “interacting with the police,” if what you’re trying to justify is physical assault. If you hold that it does justify their actions, then you’re saying the police have the right to club and throw to the ground anyone who’s wearing a t-shirt they don’t like. That’s a far more inflammatory story.

    Second, it’s obvious from the story that the man had an undiagnosed heart condition, and was not well. Your entire imaginative fantasia is based on the idea that he’s “sauntering,” as opposed to (say) “walking relatively slowly because he’s not feeling well.”

    What I’m imagining is my old friend John M. Ford in that same situation. He had all kinds of health problems, and would also have been walking slowly. By your lights, it would have been justifiable for the police to club him and throw him to the ground. Who knows? He could have had his fatal heart attack a lot earlier than he did in reality.

    I’m always surprised at the lengths people will go to to justify police actions of this sort. Do you imagine that by saying the victim “asked for it,” you’re establishing that the same thing can’t happen to you?

  59. John Coulthart says:

    “Do you recall the two undercover officers who were discovered by a mob in Northern Ireland in the late 80s? A helicopter hovered overhead, trying to assist them, but the crowd beat them to death. Every cop, in every crowd situation, will have that scary thought in their mind.”

    They were armed soldiers, not police officers.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporals_killings

    You claimed above that you were only applying the scientific method to the video of the IT assault. How does that square with “Every cop, in every crowd situation, will have that scary thought in their mind.” ?

  60. bearsinthesea says:

    I’m as suspicious of the police as anybody, and there should be an investigation of this. But I think the event is being mis-characterized. After reading all the comments here, I expected to see a rodney king style beating in the video.

    In any case, it does remind me of the fragility of all media for information. Even with the video, I’m sure written accounts will vary widely. I am reminded that at any ‘news’ event where I have been present, the paper’s account later seems to lack key elements. Which shakes my trust in reading news, but mentally I have to rely on it because what else have we got?

  61. bearsinthesea says:

    I’m as suspicious of the police as anybody, and there should be an investigation of this. But I think the event is being mis-characterized. After reading all the comments here, I expected to see a rodney king style beating in the video.

    In any case, it does remind me of the fragility of all media for information. Even with the video, I’m sure written accounts will vary widely. I am reminded that at any ‘news’ event where I have been present, the paper’s account later seems to lack key elements. Which shakes my trust in reading news, but mentally I have to rely on it because what else have we got?

  62. WalterBillington says:

    @49 – yes I do ask a lot, which is why in general I say the protests were ineffectual. I would have been arrested in my attempts to assist the person. I would have recited the badge numbers in the faces of the police, so they knew clearly they were id’d. I would have kept cool and insisted.

    Yes, frightening and chaotic, but yes, dying man. I don’t blame or feel anything negative towards the first aider in the slightest – horses for courses – but me personally, I set a high bar. I’ve engaged in exceptionally dangerous situations to defuse and stop violence. It’s risky, and I’m not trained to do it, but I can’t stand by, and I don’t get brushed off.

    @50 I’m not saying he was looking for trouble, but I am saying that a cautious individual would not wear this shirt in a protest (even riot-prone) area, in front of high-tension police. Much the same as when supporters travelling on the tube keep their shirts under jackets or in their bags – they know perfectly well that aggressive members of the other supporters will respond as if provoked. I reiterate: he looks like he was treading that fine line which aggressive people know, the line between absolute and distinct provocation, and passive aggression – it’s called baiting.

    @51 – yes, that’s why I’m seeking confirmation of someone else’s statement it’s a Millwall shirt. The dynamic of my thinking pivots on that. Without the Millwall shirt, I can see that he’s loitering / sauntering / passively obstructing, but it takes the sting out, and would lean me more strongly towards the idea he’s already suffering chest pains and is slightly disoriented and preoccupied.

    @52 that’s why I say “inconclusive” in #46.

    @53 – it’s not a reason, but it is reasonably foreseeable. From a harsh perspective, communicating an aggressive message to someone you define passively as an opponent is dangerous, and invites undesirable outcomes If you wear a shirt that reads “Fuck the police”, you wouldn’t really be surprised to receive quizzical looks from anyone in a security function. We don’t live in Utopia. From a gentle perspective – the broken windows theory, so well applied in NYNY, highlights that minor indicators of antisocial behaviour and intent are just that: indicators, and might warrant fixing or investigation. Much as when I ride my motorbike into work, I keep a wary eye out for dinged and patched cars, for rev-happy geezers, etc, the police will keep their eye out for indicators of trouble.

    “Fuck the police” would be one of those indicators. Putting that message on yourself is an interaction, because it’s a communication, as much as if you sang it to them to the tune of Singing in the Rain. “I’m fucking the police, I’m fucking the police – what a wonderful fee-ling, to be fucking the police”. C’mon, don’t rest on the old chestnut of “it was passive behaviour” – we’re not 14 years old.

    See – we need a security apparatus in society, otherwise we all rob eachother. The best thing for us to do is hold it to account, and the best way to do it is interact and respond to it.

    I’m not saying all coppers are always very good, but work with them, not against them. Prevent them gaining the tipping-point of power.

  63. bearsinthesea says:

    I’m as suspicious of the police as anybody, and there should be an investigation of this. But I think the event is being mis-characterized. After reading all the comments here, I expected to see a rodney king style beating in the video.

    In any case, it does remind me of the fragility of all media for information. Even with the video, I’m sure written accounts will vary widely. I am reminded that at any ‘news’ event where I have been present, the paper’s account later seems to lack key elements. Which shakes my trust in reading news, but mentally I have to rely on it because what else have we got?

  64. Takuan says:

    at the end of the day, who is dead?

  65. WalterBillington says:

    @52 that’s why I say “inconclusive” in #46.

    @53 – it’s not a reason, but it is reasonably foreseeable. From a harsh perspective, communicating an aggressive message to someone you define passively as an opponent is dangerous, and invites undesirable outcomes If you wear a shirt that reads “Fuck the police”, you wouldn’t really be surprised to receive quizzical looks from anyone in a security function. We don’t live in Utopia. From a gentle perspective – the broken windows theory, so well applied in NYNY, highlights that minor indicators of antisocial behaviour and intent are just that: indicators, and might warrant fixing or investigation. Much as when I ride my motorbike into work, I keep a wary eye out for dinged and patched cars, for rev-happy geezers, etc, the police will keep their eye out for indicators of trouble.

    “Fuck the police” would be one of those indicators. Putting that message on yourself is an interaction, because it’s a communication, as much as if you sang it to them to the tune of Singing in the Rain. “I’m fucking the police, I’m fucking the police – what a wonderful fee-ling, to be fucking the police”. C’mon, don’t rest on the old chestnut of “it was passive behaviour” – we’re not 14 years old.

    See – we need a security apparatus in society, otherwise we all rob eachother. The best thing for us to do is hold it to account, and the best way to do it is interact and respond to it.

    I’m not saying all coppers are always very good, but work with them, not against them. Prevent them gaining the tipping-point of power.

  66. Nelson.C says:

    Here‘s a blackly amusing picture from the protests. Note what’s printed on the centre cop’s back.

  67. Osprey101 says:

    I’m sure police will clear themselves of any serious wrong-doing following an extensive internal investigation.

  68. WalterBillington says:

    @52 that’s why I say “inconclusive” in #46.

    @53 – it’s not a reason, but it is reasonably foreseeable. From a harsh perspective, communicating an aggressive message to someone you define passively as an opponent is dangerous, and invites undesirable outcomes If you wear a shirt that reads “Fuck the police”, you wouldn’t really be surprised to receive quizzical looks from anyone in a security function. We don’t live in Utopia. From a gentle perspective – the broken windows theory, so well applied in NYNY, highlights that minor indicators of antisocial behaviour and intent are just that: indicators, and might warrant fixing or investigation. Much as when I ride my motorbike into work, I keep a wary eye out for dinged and patched cars, for rev-happy geezers, etc, the police will keep their eye out for indicators of trouble.

    “Fuck the police” would be one of those indicators. Putting that message on yourself is an interaction, because it’s a communication, as much as if you sang it to them to the tune of Singing in the Rain. “I’m fucking the police, I’m fucking the police – what a wonderful fee-ling, to be fucking the police”. C’mon, don’t rest on the old chestnut of “it was passive behaviour” – we’re not 14 years old.

    See – we need a security apparatus in society, otherwise we all rob eachother. The best thing for us to do is hold it to account, and the best way to do it is interact and respond to it.

    I’m not saying all coppers are always very good, but work with them, not against them. Prevent them gaining the tipping-point of power.

  69. Anonymous says:

    You forgot to add that the protesters attacked the paramedics who came to assist the victim and prevented them from doing so in a timely fashion.
    Anyway, what a cluster*deleted*.

  70. WalterBillington says:

    @49 – yes I do ask a lot, which is why in general I say the protests were ineffectual. I would have been arrested in my attempts to assist the person. I would have recited the badge numbers in the faces of the police, so they knew clearly they were id’d. I would have kept cool and insisted.

    Yes, frightening and chaotic, but yes, dying man. I don’t blame or feel anything negative towards the first aider in the slightest – horses for courses – but me personally, I set a high bar. I’ve engaged in exceptionally dangerous situations to defuse and stop violence. It’s risky, and I’m not trained to do it, but I can’t stand by, and I don’t get brushed off.

    @50 I’m not saying he was looking for trouble, but I am saying that a cautious individual would not wear this shirt in a protest (even riot-prone) area, in front of high-tension police. Much the same as when supporters travelling on the tube keep their shirts under jackets or in their bags – they know perfectly well that aggressive members of the other supporters will respond as if provoked. I reiterate: he looks like he was treading that fine line which aggressive people know, the line between absolute and distinct provocation, and passive aggression – it’s called baiting.

    @51 – yes, that’s why I’m seeking confirmation of someone else’s statement it’s a Millwall shirt. The dynamic of my thinking pivots on that. Without the Millwall shirt, I can see that he’s loitering / sauntering / passively obstructing, but it takes the sting out, and would lean me more strongly towards the idea he’s already suffering chest pains and is slightly disoriented and preoccupied.

  71. Oscar_Littlelad says:

    In 2002, 47 policemen and 24 police horses were injured when Millwall FC supporters rioted in Birmingham. Ian Tomlinson is wearing a Millwall T-shirt. I fear it’s going to get very Exodus 21:23–27 next home matchday.

  72. Anonymous says:

    on tonight’s news they were already suggesting he’d been drinking – funny how they didn’t mention that BEFORE the video came out. The cops are dirty fucking bastards nothing but bullies with badges. not one of them will pay for this. not one.

  73. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Community Manager says:

    One more thing –

    Walter Billington @34:

    I am so pro CivLib and human rights. But I’m a realist, the situation needs to be assessed properly.

    Don’t think so. I’m going to claim I’m the realist here. If you think “walking slowly while wearing a t-shirt for the wrong sports team” is grounds for a full-body police smackdown, you’re not “pro civil liberty and human rights.”

    You’re welcome to your opinions. Just get the label right.

  74. dragonfrog says:

    @43 – I think I see his left knee collapse forward following a strike with a baton. Inconclusive.

    Rather more conclusive:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article6061961.ece

  75. mokey says:

    here, i’ll do it for you so you don’t have to.

    “we need the police to keep order blah blah blah some reforms and concessions will certainly alleviate this problem blah blah blah the real problem is those crazy lawless anarchists blah blah blah”

    now this article won’t have to generate 200+ comments. no need to thank me.

  76. WalterBillington says:

    Excuse the delay and repetition – kept getting an error on entry. Rest of my last:

    @52 that’s why I say “inconclusive” in #46.

    @53 – it’s not a reason, but it is reasonably foreseeable. From a harsh perspective, communicating an aggressive message to someone you define passively as an opponent is dangerous, and invites undesirable outcomes If you wear a shirt that reads “Fuck the police”, you wouldn’t really be surprised to receive quizzical looks from anyone in a security function. We don’t live in Utopia. From a gentle perspective – the broken windows theory, so well applied in NYNY, highlights that minor indicators of antisocial behaviour and intent are just that: indicators, and might warrant fixing or investigation. Much as when I ride my motorbike into work, I keep a wary eye out for dinged and patched cars, for rev-happy geezers, etc, the police will keep their eye out for indicators of trouble.

    “Fuck the police” would be one of those indicators. Putting that message on yourself is an interaction, because it’s a communication, as much as if you sang it to them to the tune of Singing in the Rain. “I’m fucking the police, I’m fucking the police – what a wonderful fee-ling, to be fucking the police”. C’mon, don’t rest on the old chestnut of “it was passive behaviour” – we’re not 14 years old.

    See – we need a security apparatus in society, otherwise we all rob eachother. The best thing for us to do is hold it to account, and the best way to do it is interact and respond to it.

    I’m not saying all coppers are always very good, but work with them, not against them. Prevent them gaining the tipping-point of power.

  77. Anonymous says:

    @53 Agreed.

    All these police excuses are wrapped in delicious sugar-coated shells of reason stuffed with lies.

  78. hassan-i-sabbah says:

    Evil murdering fucking scum

  79. minamisan says:

    Thanks to all who sent this in.

  80. WalterBillington says:

    @49 – yes I do ask a lot, which is why in general I say the protests were ineffectual. I would have been arrested in my attempts to assist the person. I would have recited the badge numbers in the faces of the police, so they knew clearly they were id’d. I would have kept cool and insisted.

    Yes, frightening and chaotic, but yes, dying man. I don’t blame or feel anything negative towards the first aider in the slightest – horses for courses – but me personally, I set a high bar. I’ve engaged in exceptionally dangerous situations to defuse and stop violence. It’s risky, and I’m not trained to do it, but I can’t stand by, and I don’t get brushed off.

    @50 I’m not saying he was looking for trouble, but I am saying that a cautious individual would not wear this shirt in a protest (even riot-prone) area, in front of high-tension police. Much the same as when supporters travelling on the tube keep their shirts under jackets or in their bags – they know perfectly well that aggressive members of the other supporters will respond as if provoked. I reiterate: he looks like he was treading that fine line which aggressive people know, the line between absolute and distinct provocation, and passive aggression – it’s called baiting.

    @51 – yes, that’s why I’m seeking confirmation of someone else’s statement it’s a Millwall shirt. The dynamic of my thinking pivots on that. Without the Millwall shirt, I can see that he’s loitering / sauntering / passively obstructing, but it takes the sting out, and would lean me more strongly towards the idea he’s already suffering chest pains and is slightly disoriented and preoccupied.

  81. Hypnoid says:

    A major limitation of this video is the lack of clear sound-the voice-over obscures everything. I for one would like to know what the police were saying to the man before he was pushed down. My impression is they are shouting orders at him. I also have the impression one of them gives him a tap on the shoulder (just to the side of the field of view) before the takedown. He keeps walking. I would speculate that he was being verbally warned to get off the street, and ignored the warning. Whether because he felt he was standing up for his rights, because he wanted to take the piss, or because he was feeling ill and simply wasn’t paying attention to anything around him is a whole deeper layer of speculation. I suspect that the main factor which made the cop decide to hit him is that his hands were in his pockets. To me, that would look harmless and inoffensive, to cops looking for trouble that can be a warning sign of a hidden weapon.

  82. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Protester? Mr Tomlinson, who was not protesting, had been making his way home from work.

    Criminal case call over G20 death

  83. Boba Fett Diop says:

    “The truth may not be nice to hear, but the truth is Ian Tomlinson is to blame. It’s clear from the footage that he was displaying a less than helpful attitude towards the police, who wanted him to move on. The fact that he has his hands in his pockets is a clear sign of defiance. He was courting a shove in the back. That he died is tragic, but it’s not the fault of the police. I am angered by the people who call this police brutality. This was a riot zone for goodness sake, the police were having to deal with violent people who were attempting to smash the Bank of England. Innocent bystanders should have kept well out of the way.”
    David Robertson
    Aberdeen

    Wow…Walter Billington wouldn’t also happen to be David Robertson from Aberdeen, would he?

  84. Anonymous says:

    “You forgot to add that the protesters attacked the paramedics who came to assist the victim and prevented them from doing so in a timely fashion.”

    Right. Just like they did at Hillsborough.

    The only surprising thing about this story is that anyone is even surprised by it.

  85. urshrew says:

    Some commenters are pointing out that when surrounded by angry dogs and cops he saunters away instead of moving out of the way as fast as possible. Something tells me that these same commenters would have something to say if he had run out of the way instead.

    Its interesting the torturous lengths people will go through to defend indefensible actions.

    As for he saunter, I get it. Everyday I have to submit to a search when I get on the PATH going into New York City. Everyday I seethe from over what is essentially an indignity to me. When they call me aside for no other reason then I’m holding a bag in a public space and I’m the fifth guy to walk into the station, I don’t hop to with a pleasant smile on my face. I hate it, and I do it with little desire on both my face and in my actions. I’m sure one day a cop is going to provoke me on this, and I’m going to end up like IT, flat out on my back and probably in jail.

    Sorry authoritarians, some of us more civilized people don’t like being told what to do.

  86. Takuan says:

    “he has his hands in his pockets is a clear sign of defiance.” unless of course he had them out, which is a sign of getting ready to attack the police, or having one hand out, which is the secret handshake of the Evil Demonstrator Cabal, or…. ad nauseum

  87. urshrew says:

    Some commenters are pointing out that when surrounded by angry dogs and cops he saunters away instead of moving out of the way as fast as possible. Something tells me that these same commenters would have something to say if he had run out of the way instead.

    Its interesting the torturous lengths people will go through to defend indefensible actions.

    As for he saunter, I get it. Everyday I have to submit to a search when I get on the PATH going into New York City. Everyday I seethe from over what is essentially an indignity to me. When they call me aside for no other reason then I’m holding a bag in a public space and I’m the fifth guy to walk into the station, I don’t hop to with a pleasant smile on my face. I hate it, and I do it with little desire on both my face and in my actions. I’m sure one day a cop is going to provoke me on this, and I’m going to end up like IT, flat out on my back and probably in jail.

    Sorry authoritarians, some of us more civilized people don’t like being told what to do.

  88. mcn says:

    @walterbillington – is it possible that part of the reason he walked past the police without responding to them is because he was soon to have a heart attack? I am not trying to be inflammatory – but I know that in some cases, people experience dizziness, loss of hearing, dulled external perception prior to major cardiac events like this. It is possible that he was trying to be antagonistic, I suppose – but isn’t it also possible that he was simply unaware, because he was in the midst of a major medical event?

  89. mcn says:

    @walterbillington – is it possible that part of the reason he walked past the police without responding to them is because he was soon to have a heart attack? I am not trying to be inflammatory – but I know that in some cases, people experience dizziness, loss of hearing, dulled external perception prior to major cardiac events like this. It is possible that he was trying to be antagonistic, I suppose – but isn’t it also possible that he was simply unaware, because he was in the midst of a major medical event?

  90. Anonymous says:

    Is there any light at the end of the tunnel for commenting being back to normal? It’s one of those things you don’t notice until it’s broken and then you really miss comments just going through.

    Douglas Adams had Ford Prefect say he gave up when he was told that the killer robots that wanted to kill everyone were fanatical because, he pointed out, you can’t win against fanatics because they care more. I think that is how this thread is going to end up.

    The media coverage that I have heard, and that’s all I can go by given that the events occurred 300 miles away from me, appears to indicate no reason that we should even be looking at any level of contribution on the victim’s part. He was trying to get around a police barrier that separated him from his home and this is not exactly suspicious behaviour. He’s not exactly covertly climbing a wall into an army barracks there – it’s a street in central London.

    In contrast, we have a video of a man wearing a police uniform and standing in a line with other people wearing police uniforms and looking pretty official (and an officer has come forward to claim responsibility so, fine) tackle him to the ground from behind which makes pretty uncomfortable viewing. Why did this happen is unknown but I think it is a situation where the police force and not the victim need to explain what they were doing.

    It’s the scientific method in that you’ve clearly started out with a hypothesis but I’m not sure if the altering or abandoning it based on evidence has happened yet.

    As an interesting aside you couldn’t have looked in their faces and told them their badge numbers if they didn’t let you give him first aid because a substantial number of officers had actually removed them for the protest. They had to be told to put them back on. That’s a bit dodgy given that the badge number is an important element of a official complaint.

  91. WalterBillington says:

    Test

  92. Anonymous says:

    Wait, let me get this straight… I’m American, I’ve never been to Britain, so all I know is what I’ve heard and read.

    This happened in a heavily populated, city area.

    These are the same areas that are so comprehensively covered with CCTV cameras.

    Correct so far?

    Thus, based on those assumptions, there should be comprehensive video, from multiple angles, of this whole situation. Either the keepers of this video will release it to say “see, he was antagonistic / disobedient / acting criminally”, or they won’t release it — and the protesting factions will use that fact to claim there’s a cover-up.

    I’m curious to see the outcome of this. Preventing crimes — even ones committed by those in uniform — is the purpose of all the cameras.

    …right?

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Preventing crimes — even ones committed by those in uniform — is the purpose of all the cameras. …right?

      Selectively prosecuting after the fact is one possible purpose. Except you can’t see anyone’s face with the hoodie up, so that really just leaves creating an atmosphere of government omnipresence.

  93. WalterBillington says:

    @156 You paint an attractively black picture. Boba Fett doodad will like that.

    When did I claim “to be basing your posts on the facts and reliable testimonies”? I didn’t, that’s a falsehood, a fallacy, a misrepresentation. The truth is no safer in your hands than it is in your fictional scenario of my writings. You accuse me of not doing my diligence – you clearly haven’t bothered reading my posts, or approaching them with any kind of level head. You’re accusing me, maligning me, on thin evidence – you’re no better than the people you hold responsible for IT’s death.

    I didn’t say the 1st aid protesters choice was wrong, or immoral, did I? I said it was ineffectual. And bully for me for going to the assistance of people? What sort of pathetic poke is that? Have you ever assisted anyone, for free, with no reward, put yourself in a dangerous position, ever, simply for the benefit of the person you’re trying to assist? I agree people will of course have varying responses in the 1st aider’s position, but my point is – what is effective?

    I’m not indicating any kind of forcible distraction – but I’m saying until I’m clear that the person is getting aid fast, I’d be right there, making sure it happened.

    Please respond to my views on having “resident 1st aiders” in the protest.

    A hypothetical comparison? You make it sound complicated. I know recovering, recovered, and current alcoholics and narc-addicts. I know how they behave. Personally, my construct is simple: I would not have entered the zone. You imply passive aggressive qualities to IT – that supports one branch of my argument, that he responded in a way that could have antagonised the police.

    And don’t you see – can’t you read – I’m saying he contributed to the situation, not that he’s 100% responsible, or at fault.

    @157 when your house is robbed, your purse taken, a bus bumps your car, who’re you gonna call? St Christopher? I don’t think so – the reality is the police are the security apparatus we all as a society rely on. Banging on that they’re all bad apples is frankly childish. You do their job. Just try.

    Plus, you seem now to be presenting evidence in favour of my argument – I think you’ve got your shoelaces tied.

    @159 Of course there’s negative reaction – this death is tragic. Watch again – I see at least two pokes / touches to his shoulders, I see police shouting at him, then (yes, within a space of 5 seconds, but we’d all react fast here) the cop does the nasty lunge.

    Impartiality requires us to examine why IT was where he was when he was there. The truth is a tango.

    @160 scientific method – observe the situation, consider the possible outcomes based on prior evidence. Cops can be terrified the crowd will isolate them and turn. Thanks for the clarification – armed soldiers. Doesn’t amend the observation.

    We know the cop was out of line, morally. We know there’s a possible / probable link between his attack and the death of IT. But I want to examine the other side – what was IT’s role in it?

  94. WalterBillington says:

    Well, I can never let things rest.

    I think someone disputed my characterisation of Milwall as a violent football team. The answer is:

    http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23736744-details/West+Ham+and+Millwall+fans+fight+'like+animals'/article.do

  95. Avram / Moderator says:

    Anonymous @2, thanks for being the guy who reflexively defends brutal police tactics by parroting the police department’s lies. There’s bound to be one in every thread about police brutality.

    The initial statement from the police claimed that “a number of” bottles were thrown by the protestors, but that’s the same statement that neglected to mention any contact between Tomlinson and the cops prior to his heart attack, so we know there’s reason to doubt the truth of that statement. According to independent witnesses, one person threw one bottle, and another protestor used a loudspeaker to announce that there was an injured man.

    Remember the gangland-style execution of Jean Charles de Menezes a few years back? In the immediate aftermath of that murder, the cops made all sorts of claims to make the killing look less like panic-fueled incompetence and more like a plausible honest mistake: that he was wearing a bulky jacket on a hot day, that he’d jumped the turnstiles. Those claims turned out to be lies.

    Remember that: When cops kill innocent people, they lie to cover it up. You can’t believe what the cops say when these things happen. We’ve seen this over and over.

  96. minamisan says:

    I agree with #8: where is all the CCTV footage which must surely have been focusing on such a ruckus?

  97. WalterBillington says:

    Test

  98. GregLondon says:

    walterbillton, what do you do for a living? You talk like a mall ninja.

    And you keep misusing your terms. It’s passive resistance, not passive-aggressive. Passive-aggressive is when what you do when you’re mom tells you to clean up your room and you don’t because you’re annoyed with her telling you what to do even when you’re over 18. Living in her basement shouldn’t give her the right to order you around, right?

    (though, I can’t quite tell if you’re 15 and like to talk big, or if you’re 40 but with the emotional development of a 18 year old, or somewhere in between. What is clear is you’re a mall ninja. You’re some kind of wanna-be who isn’t ever gonna-be.)

    Anyway, passive resistance is what people like Gandhi and MLKjr did. Rosa Parks sat in the front of the bus and refused to give up her seat to a white man. She didn’t attack anyone, she just refused to be moved. That’s passive resistance.

    The job of the police is to uphold the law and the law doesn’t say you get to club someone in the back for walking home from work. Doesn’t matter if it was passive-aggressive or passive-psychic-warfare or passive-nuclear-war. The point is it was passive. This guy did nothing that justified the cop attacking him from behind.

    And you, in pure mall ninja fashion, can’t stop with the verbal diarhea, defending the indefensible. Get off the computer and go play with your GI Joe dolls, OK?

  99. John Coulthart says:

    “First, the comment you are responding to could have been in jest from the phrasing.”

    Yes, I was being sarcastic. It’s the lowest form of wit and one of my vices.

  100. Boba Fett Diop says:

    Oh and Tak-kun, we’ve changed the secret handshake of the Evil Demonstrator Cabal…now you shake with the left while using the right to fondle the groin of the person you are greeting and saying “Oooooh, I love a man in uniform” in a campy voice. Surely no police officer could have a problem with that.

  101. WalterBillington says:

    @169 Thanks, that’s useful. Didn’t say you weren’t organised, but didn’t know. Do you work with the police, is there any kind of accord?

    @168 Yes because this involves high levels of principle. Don’t censor. And also because of this:

    http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23673618-details/G20+victim+seen+on+film+clashing+with+police+an+hour+before+fatal+fall/article.do

    The cop has been suspended (procedure) and the criminal investigation is pending / started. I will research more into what the cops can / can’t do in these circumstances. I covered this ground 15 years ago.

    Poor Tomlinson. He seems to have been drinking, and got himself into a world of trouble. I do believe that when he was attacked, he truly wanted to get home, must have been desperate. But before that, it looks like he wanted to be there – too look, to experience, because a little itch made him go.

  102. WalterBillington says:

    @56 Shame on you. You’re twisting what I’ve written. I haven’t called him a yob. I’ve stated that it wouldn’t shock me if the police had an allergy to the shirt, and it wouldn’t shock if, rest his poor soul, he had a feeling it might bait them a little. My reasonable man thing stands: would a careful person have done this?

    Caveat: if he was already suffering chest pains and dizziness, I remove all and his presence is kind of explained. But why was he where he was, when he was? Tell me he wasn’t sauntering.

    @57 Newsflash: I’m not saying it’s the reason he was attacked (and he was), I’m saying caution and prudence would encourage a reasonable person (1) to route themselves quickly away from the cops, and (2) not really to embark out from work on a route through the protest.

    @63 I repeat – he may already have been suffering from chest pains. I’m from London, and Millwall fans who I know tell me they deservedly have the worst reputation. Supporting them isn’t baiting, but sensibly, I think I’d have entered that situation with as neutral a look as possible.

    @82 I don’t like being told what to do, but I do choose my battles. Messing with the cops tends to be a no-win.

    @84 Yes see above, my argument structures this in. He could be dazed and confused, although he does seem relatively fine when he scolds the bobbies.

    @90 Eggshell works here if you can demonstrate the cop exceeded his authority

    @91 Not getting in their faces, but insisting and risking whatever it takes to be effective. It sounds bad, but if you were on the floor, you’d want someone to hold out till the last in order to get assistance. Both ways – nah. Different paradigms.

    @94 He’s not seen moving slowly and deliberately – or if that’s slow and deliberate, then he’s deliberately obstructing in that passive way. The Millwall point is only icing on the cake. He did die, and I am extremely sympathetic to all who are in pain over this. But his death can’t be twisted. Don’t know about the witness statements – plenty of witness statements and blog posts after Menezes included wires and clocks in his clothing.

    @96 I’ll report you for facetious infractions of the peace. Perverse enjoyment? I just can’t let this be twisted. Agitation? You want me to agitate? This whole event is surrounded by hyperbole, but the actual objective of improving society is not served by this rubbish. Trolling? Repeat postings as the whole thing stopped accepting.

    @100 You’re my century

    @103 You’re hopeless. Don’t play silly buggers. You can clearly see them shouting to him, and tapping / poking him at least twice.

    @115 I’d love to be paid for this. I really would. You could also pay me to teach you to thpell.

    @119 You wouldn’t? Why not? Let me know what your thoughts on the scientific method are.

    @121 Please – you go and saunter in front of the police in the middle of a protest. Go and saunter in front of anyone moving forward. See what happens. Shouting, a least two taps / pokes, then the big shove. I say above I think a prosecution should take place, but I also say I think the rules will favour the fuzz.

    @124 please. Can I have some of your smokes?

    @125 Gotta see it

    @127 An interaction would be anything that causes any degree of response or reaction – any ripple. Read above – I’m not justifying the assault, and I say very clearly I think it was, or wish it was, a criminal action, because I think these police had other choices. What I am saying is that I don’t think a prosecution will succeed, and I can’t stand this situation being twisted as a useful example of police murder, because that undermines the entire protest movement, and makes everyone look silly.

    How is it obvious the condition was undiagnosed? That’s an assumption. I also say that if he was sick at this moment, it excuses him totally. And I think there’s a relatively decent chance of that, although the heart attack could have been brought on by the assault.

    @127 your 4th para is insultingly fatuous, and you should apologise. IT was in the middle of a protest.

    And my point is that I believe this COULD happen to me, or anyone in front of those cops, but that I would scatter like a fast cat. So I want EFFECTIVE action and change. See my point ref medics in the protest members. I want better decisions by the police. But I also want the police to attend protests like Bishopsgate at 3pm. Then they wouldn’t require hot, heavy riot gear, and would be functioning more normally.

    So I’m a stooge because I can create, hold and argue my position? You want to invade my privacy to discover my origins? Shame on you.

  103. Anonymous says:

    i’m starting to re-think my opposition to the CCTV cameras that blight the british landscape.
    maybe they are a good idea — IF AND ONLY IF they were to be made permanently accessible to the general public in realtime, over the net.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      i’m starting to re-think my opposition to the CCTV cameras that blight the british landscape. maybe they are a good idea — IF AND ONLY IF they were to be made permanently accessible to the general public in realtime, over the net.

      I call it BBCCTV. The only problem is that you can just walk fifteen feet down the street and commit your crime unwatched.

  104. Daveybot says:

    This seems like a rather timely reminder of why we must be allowed once more to point cameras at our policemen.

  105. dragonfrog says:

    There is more to the report than just the footage above. It’s really a short report, you could go read it.

    Witnesses said that, prior to the moment captured on video, he had already been hit with batons and thrown to the floor by police who blocked his route home.

    One witness, Anna Branthwaite, a photographer, described how, in the minutes before the video was shot, she saw Tomlinson walking towards Cornhill Street.

    “A riot police officer had already grabbed him and was pushing him,” she 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.

    “It was the force of the impact. He bounced on the floor. It was a very forceful knocking down from behind. The officer hit him twice with a baton when he was lying on the floor.

    So, at the time captured here, he’s already been knocked to the ground and hit with a club twice. It’s entirely likely he was not reacting as swiftly as the cops desired because he was in shock, barely able to summon the coordination to walk away at all. I know I would be – I get kind of shock-y just from watching the footage, never mind being struck with a baton.

    (Not included in the footage, but the typical cop way of clubbing a downed man is to take good long swings from above the head – the club picks up a lot of speed and hits good and hard)

  106. Anonymous says:

    Well, that is damning evidence. I will remember to not walk with my hands in my pockets near any major protests in the near future. 5 bucks on justice not being served. Ironic captcha is ironic: Tragedy Queens.

  107. dragonfrog says:

    There is more to the report than just the footage above. It’s really a short report, you could go read it.

    Witnesses said that, prior to the moment captured on video, he had already been hit with batons and thrown to the floor by police who blocked his route home.

    One witness, Anna Branthwaite, a photographer, described how, in the minutes before the video was shot, she saw Tomlinson walking towards Cornhill Street.

    “A riot police officer had already grabbed him and was pushing him,” she 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.

    “It was the force of the impact. He bounced on the floor. It was a very forceful knocking down from behind. The officer hit him twice with a baton when he was lying on the floor.

    So, at the time captured here, he’s already been knocked to the ground and hit with a club twice. It’s entirely likely he was not reacting as swiftly as the cops desired because he was in shock, barely able to summon the coordination to walk away at all. I know I would be – I get kind of shock-y just from watching the footage, never mind being struck with a baton.

    (Not included in the footage, but the typical cop way of clubbing a downed man is to take good long swings from above the head – the club picks up a lot of speed and hits good and hard)

  108. WalterBillington says:

    @129 One more thing.

    I challenge you to repeat your comments without including any quotes – it looks like you’re quoting me, and you’re not, are you? You’re PARAPHRASING and framing it so it looks like my comment. Nicely done.

    So you join the ranks of media-twister. Did you mean to do that (conscious competence)? Or are you utterly unaware of what you’re doing? (unconscious incompetence).

    Everything about this piece of police action is brutal. But it was also foreseeable. It’s realistic to imagine that the police will respond in this way, and then to plan for the future and help it not happen like that again.

    So really, how pro civlib and human rights are you? Measure up.

  109. JoshuaTerrell says:

    After having read the footage, and read the commenting up to this point, I want to add my 2 cents, for what it’s worth.

    -IT was definitely not moving as fast as the other protestors around him, and I think that indicates an attitude of some sort, whether or not he was wearing a Millwall shirt (and he was facing away from the cops in the footage, so they would have had to see him before the incident, which the footage doesn’t show)

    -So IT displays less then cooperative conduct (only slightly less IMO) and the cops see him. The first thing they did was tap him on the shoulder (not in a polite how-do-you-do-please-disperse sort of way, but a riot-squad-tired-of-beating-people-just-leave-now sort of whack) Needless to say, the cops are impatient and aggressive, and have hundreds more people who will respond in this way to them. The cops view IT the same as all the other protestors, I.E. (in their minds) potentially violent.

    -So they body check him, he falls on the ground, plays the wounded bystander looking upwards for a bit, then gets up and walks away.

    Final verdict? I think the cop in question shouldn’t be fired/prosecuted/etc. anymore than any other cop there that day. The eggshell principle doesn’t really have much ground when IT put himself in that place in that manner (assuming he did what I assume the footage shows, show different data, and I’ll concede that point).

    However, I think the entire protest/riot/police beatdown, is simply the result of the British police’s one track mind when it comes to large bodies of people. If they don’t move, they must be dangerous. The fact that football hooligans who assemble in large groups ARE dangerous doesn’t help. The police know what large groups of people can do, and the assume the worst, and this ends up badly for everyone involved.

  110. Anonymous says:

    Walterbillington wants it both ways. ‘Walking whilst being Millwall’ is sufficiently provocative to make an armed assault an understandable, albeit regrettable, reaction on the part of the riot cops; but ‘being a protestor in the aftermath of a sporadically violent demonstration’ is sufficiently non-provocative, that said protestor should have been getting in the faces of a bunch of riot cops when they gave her the brush off.

    Sounds to me like if she had followed Walter’s advice, she’d have been batoned to the ground and arrested (probably for assaulting the police) and IT would still have died.

    Regards
    Luke

  111. Avram / Moderator says:

    This must be why the UK is making it illegal to photograph police.

  112. JoshuaTerrell says:

    After having read the footage, and read the commenting up to this point, I want to add my 2 cents, for what it’s worth.

    -IT was definitely not moving as fast as the other protestors around him, and I think that indicates an attitude of some sort, whether or not he was wearing a Millwall shirt (and he was facing away from the cops in the footage, so they would have had to see him before the incident, which the footage doesn’t show)

    -So IT displays less then cooperative conduct (only slightly less IMO) and the cops see him. The first thing they did was tap him on the shoulder (not in a polite how-do-you-do-please-disperse sort of way, but a riot-squad-tired-of-beating-people-just-leave-now sort of whack) Needless to say, the cops are impatient and aggressive, and have hundreds more people who will respond in this way to them. The cops view IT the same as all the other protestors, I.E. (in their minds) potentially violent.

    -So they body check him, he falls on the ground, plays the wounded bystander looking upwards for a bit, then gets up and walks away.

    Final verdict? I think the cop in question shouldn’t be fired/prosecuted/etc. anymore than any other cop there that day. The eggshell principle doesn’t really have much ground when IT put himself in that place in that manner (assuming he did what I assume the footage shows, show different data, and I’ll concede that point).

    However, I think the entire protest/riot/police beatdown, is simply the result of the British police’s one track mind when it comes to large bodies of people. If they don’t move, they must be dangerous. The fact that football hooligans who assemble in large groups ARE dangerous doesn’t help. The police know what large groups of people can do, and the assume the worst, and this ends up badly for everyone involved.

  113. JoshuaTerrell says:

    After having read the footage, and read the commenting up to this point, I want to add my 2 cents, for what it’s worth.

    -IT was definitely not moving as fast as the other protestors around him, and I think that indicates an attitude of some sort, whether or not he was wearing a Millwall shirt (and he was facing away from the cops in the footage, so they would have had to see him before the incident, which the footage doesn’t show)

    -So IT displays less then cooperative conduct (only slightly less IMO) and the cops see him. The first thing they did was tap him on the shoulder (not in a polite how-do-you-do-please-disperse sort of way, but a riot-squad-tired-of-beating-people-just-leave-now sort of whack) Needless to say, the cops are impatient and aggressive, and have hundreds more people who will respond in this way to them. The cops view IT the same as all the other protestors, I.E. (in their minds) potentially violent.

  114. HMGovt says:

    @16 I wholeheartedly agree – the CCTV network should be opened up for everyone to view. Those are our streets and neighbourhoods.

  115. Boba Fett Diop says:

    WALTERBILLINGTON

    So what you’re saying is that it was still somehow his fault. He should have known better. Regardless of the fact that he was doing nothing wrong, he should not have been there, or walking that way, or wearing that shirt, and he should have seen that it would get him killed by the police. Is that what you’re saying? Is it? I want to hear you fucking deny it.

  116. Nelson.C says:

    Walter, if you’d been paying attention, you’d know why he was there; it was in the Guardian yesterday, and was shown in the Channel 4 videos posted upthread. Tomlinson’s route home up King William Street was blocked by the kettling at Bank Junction. So he cut across to Lombard Street and then Cornhill Road as the police were advancing down Cornhill, driving members of the public and more protestors away from Bank. So he went up Royal Exchange Passage where he encountered more police coming down that route.

    After the assault, he went back down Cornhill, following the crowd, until he collapsed. Several members of the public stopped to help, despite being encouraged to move on by the advancing police line. At least one member of the public phoned the emergency services. When the emergency operator learned that police were on the scene, and asked to speak to the officers, as per procedure, the nearest officer refused to do so, saying “No, move along, we’re dealing with this.”

    It’s not impartiality to refuse to seek out easily available information about the situation. It’s not impartiality to cast vague doubts on the victim’s status as a victim. It’s downright obtuse to refuse to acknowledge that you are receiving a negative reaction because, despite repeating that it’s tragedy, you keep trying to blame the victim. Teresa probably has a good word for what this is.

  117. HMGovt says:

    @16 someone already wrote an article proposing that CCTV be opened up http://www.i-resign.com/uk/workinglife/viewarticle_107.asp

  118. 13strong says:

    “You’re accusing me, maligning me, on thin evidence – you’re no better than the people you hold responsible for IT’s death.”

    hahahahaha

    Is that a fact?

    Seeing as how pretty much EVERYONE else on this thread seems to be reading things in your arguments that you claim not to be implying or proposing, does it seem possible you’re not making your points clear enough? Or maybe that there is something objectionable in what you’re saying?

    And on the organised protest medics idea – I think it’s a good one, and I’m surprised it’s not been implemented already.

  119. Takuan says:

    why should citizens who know they are not breaking any law run in fear at the sight of police?

    If this is indeed the state of affairs, then it is NOT a police/citizen relationship. Rather, it is occupying soldier and the occupied.

    If someone with a uniform and gun tries to enslave me, I will use as much force as is necessary to stop them. So would you.

    This is not supposed to be a war. But it can become one.

    Police contempt for law destroys the Rule of law faster than anything else.

    I ask again to any police reading this: did you sign up to be a soldier? A jailer?

  120. WalterBillington says:

    OK, this goose is cooked. Illegal aggression. Passive/aggressive provocation from Tomlinson, but no defence for the cop.

    Tomlinson is clearly not hurrying to move away from the police team, which is probably him being a little armchair provocative. The T-shirt has meaning, to him and the officers. He’s dawdling, somewhat deliberately, inviting trouble. Done. That’s not a criminal act, he isn’t obstructing, he’s just being rash. It’s a very english yob attitude, and it’s written all over him. But attitudes are not illegal.

    But, the attack is definitely unprovoked. The riot fellow whacks his leg then performs a severe body check. Cop must’ve been on drugs-cocktail, because there was no threat nearby, and no requirement to eliminate IT from the scene. He was properly moving away, albeit recalcitrantly. I don’t even believe this is an “example” attack, i.e. showing the crowd what’s coming.

    I bet the cop involved has some history brought up by that Millwall shirt.

    So this is definitely outside their powers, he is an innocent bystander, and attacking him opens the door to the “eggshell” concept – which in English Law describes that if you aggress someone, and that someone suffers harm because of some inherent condition, then you have no defence to having caused that particular harm (eggshell – if you thump someone with a thin skull, and they crack it and die, you’re up for murder or manslaughter, not for thumping someone). Most people would cite “Reasonable expectation” or some other expectoration. Not here – especially because IT is not young and fit – it’s obvious you shouldn’t hit him. So he’s attacked, has heart attack, dies.

    Criminal act. Criminal prosecution. The cop should go down.

    I am SO saddened that the police wanted to cover this up. It is sickening to imagine that the force assigned to assist society maintain itself performs this kind of act, and lies about it.

    So where do we sign up? Who’s leading the charge?

    This one is going to be good.

  121. Boba Fett Diop says:

    Walterbillington,

    Yeah, he was wearing a Millwall shirt, he must be one of those thug hooligan skinhead football supporters. Clearly he was asking for it- they love to bait the police. What other excuses are you going to come up with? He was walking too slowly? He said something smart in cheeky Cockney patois? He had his hands in his pockets? He hunched his shoulders in a threatening manner?

    Here was a man who was trying to get home from work. Along the route he encountered a scene of violence and disorder. At some point he encountered police with dogs and clubs. According to witnesses, he was struck with clubs just before the events captured on video. He then tried to move out of the way of police, slowly and deliberately, turning his back to them. He was then attacked from behind by a police officer, first being struck with a baton, and then being pushed to the ground. Several minutes later he died.

  122. Phikus says:

    They want to keep the peace… ALL TO THEMSELVES!

  123. Boba Fett Diop says:

    Walterbillington,

    Yeah, he was wearing a Millwall shirt, he must be one of those thug hooligan skinhead football supporters. Clearly he was asking for it- they love to bait the police. What other excuses are you going to come up with? He was walking too slowly? He said something smart in cheeky Cockney patois? He had his hands in his pockets? He hunched his shoulders in a threatening manner?

    Here was a man who was trying to get home from work. Along the route he encountered a scene of violence and disorder. At some point he encountered police with dogs and clubs. According to witnesses, he was struck with clubs just before the events captured on video. He then tried to move out of the way of police, slowly and deliberately, turning his back to them. He was then attacked from behind by a police officer, first being struck with a baton, and then being pushed to the ground. Several minutes later he died.

  124. GregLondon says:

    WalterBillington@34, you’ve been reported to BB moderators for being an absolute fucking moron, and for sauntering. Sauntering, by law, is a hanging offence. Also, you’re perversely enjoying your moronic postings, and perversely enjoying trolling is a human rights violations. I truly hoped your banned. And if you think it in your right to complain, then you’re doing nothing but assuming the classic “victim” pose, which clearly indicates that your entire set of posts have been nothing but deliberate attempts at aggitation and trolling from the very beginning.

  125. WalterBillington says:

    @133 I’m not hard of reading.

    I’m not so much attributing blame to him as saying a cautious person would not have done that. He was in front of an advancing police line. He may have been suffering chest pains and accompanying disorientation, which would explain his slow movements, but he may also have been passively obstructing and generally gaining their attention.

    Would you like to swear more? Can I? Or should we have an instructive debate?

    So when you indicate it got him killed by the police, you’re thoroughly erasing context, as if this took place in the middle of tea at Bucks Palace. Walking that way, wearing that shirt. Linking that to the prescience the police would “kill him”. I can’t do anything with that.

    And I’m not making normative statements – I’m not saying should or shouldn’t, and I am saying I’m immensely saddened by this, and that the police were unforgiveably brutal.

    But, I think this was foreseeable, and if he wasn’t sick, he knew he was playing a bit. he didn’t think he was risking death, but I think if he wasn’t feeling sick, he may have known he was risking more attention than he’d like from the cops.

    I’m not making ethical or moral judgements on him. You are – “he was doing nothing wrong”. Well, grey areas. What was he doing right?

    Why don’t you tell me you’d do the same thing as him, and expect a different outcome?

    To answer your question – I deny clearly that this is what I’m saying.

    I want you to understand that what I’m looking for is effective change. The fault here is with the police, probably, but I think IT could have avoided them, or scarpered faster. In a way it’s about a parallel concept to “contributory negligence”.

    So don’t get over-excited.

  126. Boba Fett Diop says:

    Walterbillington,

    Yeah, he was wearing a Millwall shirt, he must be one of those thug hooligan skinhead football supporters. Clearly he was asking for it- they love to bait the police. What other excuses are you going to come up with? He was walking too slowly? He said something smart in cheeky Cockney patois? He had his hands in his pockets? He hunched his shoulders in a threatening manner?

    Here was a man who was trying to get home from work. Along the route he encountered a scene of violence and disorder. At some point he encountered police with dogs and clubs. According to witnesses, he was struck with clubs just before the events captured on video. He then tried to move out of the way of police, slowly and deliberately, turning his back to them. He was then attacked from behind by a police officer, first being struck with a baton, and then being pushed to the ground. Several minutes later he died.

  127. GregLondon says:

    WalterBillington@34, you’ve been reported to BB moderators for being an absolute fucking moron, and for sauntering. Sauntering, by law, is a hanging offence. Also, you’re perversely enjoying your moronic postings, and perversely enjoying trolling is a human rights violations. I truly hoped your banned. And if you think it in your right to complain, then you’re doing nothing but assuming the classic “victim” pose, which clearly indicates that your entire set of posts have been nothing but deliberate attempts at aggitation and trolling from the very beginning.

  128. Boba Fett Diop says:

    Walterbillington,

    Yeah, he was wearing a Millwall shirt, he must be one of those thug hooligan skinhead football supporters. Clearly he was asking for it- they love to bait the police. What other excuses are you going to come up with? He was walking too slowly? He said something smart in cheeky Cockney patois? He had his hands in his pockets? He hunched his shoulders in a threatening manner?

    Here was a man who was trying to get home from work. Along the route he encountered a scene of violence and disorder. At some point he encountered police with dogs and clubs. According to witnesses, he was struck with clubs just before the events captured on video. He then tried to move out of the way of police, slowly and deliberately, turning his back to them. He was then attacked from behind by a police officer, first being struck with a baton, and then being pushed to the ground. Several minutes later he died.

  129. Drabula says:

    I was right in that same area during the protest (after I had been lucky enough a few hours earlier to escape the detention camp inside the main square)
    The area was crawling with regular types and lookee-loos. I’m not sure exactly what time it happened but it looks close to dusk. By then all kinds of people getting off work or coming out of pubs were around. There was absolutely no excuse to confuse anyone as a protestor and BESIDES there was NO reason to strike him even if he had been.
    As far as “attacking the cops” – yes, I saw plenty of things hurled towards the cops but only after they had hemmed everyone in for hours and AFTER they had started clubbing people for trying to escape the internment camp….oh, I mean protest.
    Things become so chaotic in these situations – cops would beat on people trying to break thru the cordon and then attempt to drag some of them away to arrest them and THAT was when they’d usually get pelted with things mostly as harmless as empty plastic water bottles. So if one lone person threw something I’m sure it was from meters away and they surely thought it was cops just dragging another protestor away.
    The City tried it’s best to vilify the demonstrators leading up to it. The whole crap about professionals “dressing down” for their own safety was ridiculous. There wasn’t a single person at that proetst who would have lain a finger on a civilian…..well, maybe if Fred Goodwin had showed up……but even then the rot cops would have formed an impenetrable shield around them, becasue that is their job – to protect the powerful, the wealthy and their assets. The whole cry of “police state” seems a bit hysterical until you’re standing right in front of it.

  130. Robert says:

    I watched the video at full speed before reading the comments from here and from the Guardian, and even I got the immediate impression that the guy was intentionally getting in the cops’ way.

    I think that only an idiot or a malicious person would walk right across the path of a bunch of riot police, and then get in their way.

    Yes, it’s a tragedy that he died, but I think he died because of his own deliberate actions. This is not to diminish any other incidents of police brutality, but on this particular day, at this particular time, with this particular individual, I don’t think the riot cops are to blame.

  131. Anonymous says:

    Following the recent report into the Policing of the Kingsnorth Climate Camp this should prompt some serious questioning of Police tactics at demonstrations in this country.

    I hope there remain some journalists and MPs in the UK willing to press this matter further.

    But I doubt there are. They have their hands full commenting on Jade Goody and the expenses claims of Irish republican politicians after all.

  132. Boba Fett Diop says:

    Walterbillington,

    Yeah, he was wearing a Millwall shirt, he must be one of those thug hooligan skinhead football supporters. Clearly he was asking for it- they love to bait the police. What other excuses are you going to come up with? He was walking too slowly? He said something smart in cheeky Cockney patois? He had his hands in his pockets? He hunched his shoulders in a threatening manner?

    Here was a man who was trying to get home from work. Along the route he encountered a scene of violence and disorder. At some point he encountered police with dogs and clubs. According to witnesses, he was struck with clubs just before the events captured on video. He then tried to move out of the way of police, slowly and deliberately, turning his back to them. He was then attacked from behind by a police officer, first being struck with a baton, and then being pushed to the ground. Several minutes later he died.

  133. Kieran O'Neill says:

    Indymedia has the original piece containing witness statements from protesters who were the first to attend Mr Tomlinson. There’s an accompanying video in which they recount the entire incident.

    What’s most notable (apart from the refutation of the “hail of bottles” myth) is that the police completely brushed aside the protester with first aid training who initially attended to him, and refused to even listen to her description of his condition (which could have saved them time and maybe saved the man’s life).

    But that’s the way it goes, I guess. People seem to really want to believe the lie.

  134. Robert says:

    I watched the video at full speed before reading the comments from here and from the Guardian, and even I got the immediate impression that the guy was intentionally getting in the cops’ way.

    I think that only an idiot or a malicious person would walk right across the path of a bunch of riot police, and then get in their way.

    Yes, it’s a tragedy that he died, but I think he died because of his own deliberate actions. This is not to diminish any other incidents of police brutality, but on this particular day, at this particular time, with this particular individual, I don’t think the riot cops are to blame.

  135. ikhwanelbanat says:

    The cop really should be tried and convicted for manslaughter, or for what would be murder in the 3rd degree State-side. I suppose the riot police will argue that they whispered some verbal command to the victim to move out of the way. Maybe they mistook him for Tiananmen Tank Man, and decided that a mild-mannered stroll in front of London’s finest is a grave insult. Or maybe everyone looks like they need a pounding when you’re wielding a baton. I hope the bastard’s pension goes toward paying his victim’s family’s expenses.

  136. Boba Fett Diop says:

    Walterbillington,

    Yeah, he was wearing a Millwall shirt, he must be one of those thug hooligan skinhead football supporters. Clearly he was asking for it- they love to bait the police. What other excuses are you going to come up with? He was walking too slowly? He said something smart in cheeky Cockney patois? He had his hands in his pockets? He hunched his shoulders in a threatening manner?

    Here was a man who was trying to get home from work. Along the route he encountered a scene of violence and disorder. At some point he encountered police with dogs and clubs. According to witnesses, he was struck with clubs just before the events captured on video. He then tried to move out of the way of police, slowly and deliberately, turning his back to them. He was then attacked from behind by a police officer, first being struck with a baton, and then being pushed to the ground. Several minutes later he died.

    These are the facts of the matter.

  137. tybalt says:

    A little bit reminiscent of the de Menezes case back in 2005. The difference being that IT was not gunned down in the subway. But in both instances we see clear acts of London police overreacting in innocuous situations. In both instances it appears that the police are skewing the facts to defend their own. IT is clearly not protesting in this video. Remember how the police said that de Menezes was acting suspicions and jumped the turnstile in the Tube before running to catch a train? The CCTV cameras proved that to be a complete fabrication. Three cheers for police overreaction.

  138. ThermobaricTom says:

    Ooooo comment number 2 once again blame the protesters without even reading up on any of their accounts of the incident. I mean why would you the whole thing was obviously one huge anarchist fight filled with dirty students and trouble makers, not a mostly peaceful protest with a tiny minority window smashers.

    http://www.opendemocracy.net/blog/ourkingdom-theme/guy-aitchison/2009/04/06/does-britain-have-a-problem-with-the-police

  139. WalterBillington says:

    Well, is the forum down?

  140. John Coulthart says:

    Wow, Walter, you’re a one-man Home Office PR service.

    Four police officers have now–finally–come forward to assist with the investigation into this death, 24 hours after the video came to light.

    Meanwhile the Times today reports more eyewitness accounts of police brutality:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article6060244.ece

  141. tybalt says:

    A little bit reminiscent of the de Menezes case back in 2005. The difference being that IT was not gunned down in the subway. But in both instances we see clear acts of London police overreacting in innocuous situations. In both instances it appears that the police are skewing the facts to defend their own. IT is clearly not protesting in this video. Remember how the police said that de Menezes was acting suspicions and jumped the turnstile in the Tube before running to catch a train? The CCTV cameras proved that to be a complete fabrication. Three cheers for police overreaction.

  142. Chrisyf says:

    @Walter

    (#169) “Didn’t say you weren’t organised, but didn’t know.”

    (#27) “This is another issue – protesting is currently lax and disorganised. Know your rights, study it up. Forming a “medic” unit from the crowd of four people with armbands or something.”

    (#46) “So why don’t protests organise themselves with identifiable first-aiders within their ranks? What’d be wrong with that?”

    (#155) “Needs organisation. Add that to my UN-type medics idea. Then it becomes an organised protest.”

    In the case of the protest I was on the organizing team for, we were in near-constant contact with the police for several weeks before the protest.

    Police rep: “We’ll have cameras on the protesters.”
    Organizer: “Good. We’ll have cameras on the police.”

    The police knew what our teams would be wearing (armbands, etc.) so they could find us easily.

  143. tybalt says:

    A little bit reminiscent of the de Menezes case back in 2005. The difference being that IT was not gunned down in the subway. But in both instances we see clear acts of London police overreacting in innocuous situations. In both instances it appears that the police are skewing the facts to defend their own. IT is clearly not protesting in this video. Remember how the police said that de Menezes was acting suspicions and jumped the turnstile in the Tube before running to catch a train? The CCTV cameras proved that to be a complete fabrication. Three cheers for police overreaction.

  144. WalterBillington says:

    Hyperbole coming thick and fast. Careful please, it diminishes the desire of people to read and go along with what you say.

    Analysing situations like this means, like all analysis, segmenting the process into distinct elements, some of which may overlap, and applying the relevant set of principles and thoughts to each segment.

    I predict the family may get compensation, but I also suspect the police were within their powers here. The individual cop had a choice over how he exercised his desire to eliminate IT from the scene, and made a bad choice.

    @24 – can’t make out what you’re saying or where you’re coming from.

    Reviewing the footage, it’s pretty evident the police are communicating very keenly with IT to get him out of their way, for whatever reason. He gets poked, shouted at (we need the verbal transcript). But on he saunters. He knows what he’s up to, although he probably didn’t think he’d have a heart attack. This is classic Millwall supporter fun – baiting the police. And here, he’s baiting riot police – really, not a good idea – especially as their function and determination is visually apparent.

    It’d be a bit like obstructing the old-style CRS in Paris – they’d pummel you.

    It’s not illegal, but the problem is – for any prosecution – he’s playing in a volatile situation where the police more than likely have an altered set of rules that allows them to take action like this – eg “if there is someone obstructing a police advance, you may forcefully clear them from that advance”.

    In a situation where the police perceive danger (and they make and record that perception according to procedure which we, the citizenry or subjects, have implicitly agreed to), they have the law on their side. And frankly, we want that to be so, because if the local residents of my road riot and threaten my property or family, I’ll welcome 300 police in riot gear, batons and all.

    I think the police lied, I think the media machine lied, I think you can’t eliminate the possibility there is a causative link between the incident and the heart attack, I think IT provoked them, I think the legal case may not get off the ground.

    It’s problematic. IT was not a mild-mannered, bespectacled shrew of a man. The police didn’t make the best decision, but I think they can rely on the appearance (and probably fact) of repeated warnings and escalation (however fast) of physical encouragement to clear out.

    Prediction: no successful criminal prosecution vs the cop, possible compensation to the family, police look bad. Not as bad as Menezes.

    I don’t think this is going to be the banner-waving anti-fascist case everyone wants.

    May he rest in peace.

    @25 – please. The 1st Aid Protester, if believed IT was in serious trouble, should have laid down a little more than words to assist him.

    This is another issue – protesting is currently lax and disorganised. Know your rights, study it up. Forming a “medic” unit from the crowd of four people with armbands or something.

    I throw myself at your mercy – but I believe the protesters were ineffectual, even in this emergency situation.

    @24 again – “There wasn’t a single person … laid a finger on a civilian” – implausible, improbable, unlikely, and propaganda from you. The thrown bottle proves the point – why throw it?

  145. WalterBillington says:

    @177

    Quote:
    Police rep: “We’ll have cameras on the protesters.”
    Organizer: “Good. We’ll have cameras on the police.”

    That’s why I asked if you had an accord with the police. These comments make it seem like you had an adversarial relationship – why did you choose this segment of your communications to display? How can you expect the police to co-operate in the light of this sort of conversation?

    I refer again and again to effective protest. If you encourage the police into an adversarial stance with sarcasm and inflammatory comments (as heroic and applause-winning as that may be in your social group), then they’re hardly going to pay attention to someone with a “medic” armband are they? Did you receive confirmation that all cops on duty would be aware of the medics’ status? And how to id them?

    The police knew what you were wearing so they could find you easily … that bit sounds like an accord, but I need a stronger indication. If the police rep knew, but the average Bill the bobby didn’t, not useful. How did you ensure this mutual recognition?

    @178

    Nelson, you’re now leaving reality. His route up King William Street took him straight towards Bank. No-one in a 50 mile radius didn’t know that was the heart of the protest. And he worked in a newsagent, where the Evening Standard would arrive at 12:30, and have ongoing incoming editions, telling everyone there all about it.

    Yes, people have a right to freedom of movement, but cautious people steer clear of trouble. I approached the area, up to the junction of Fenchurch and Bishopsgate, then round to Leadenhall market and away, because I was with two people concerned at their ability to evade any trouble.

    And again, you resort to hyperbole. You implicitly suggest I’m accusing Tomlinson of an offence. I’m not – I’m saying wrong place, wrong time, and wrong set of choices. It’s as if I ride my motorbike at 30mph through stationary traffic – it’s the legal speed for the road, but I can preview disaster if a vehicle moves a couple of inches. So I slow down to 5 mph. Due caution in the interests of my self-preservation.

    So Nelson, you’re coming from the angle of police state and all that – curfews, cordons and so forth. This guy went to have a look, but then, as I suspected, he engaged the police. He wasn’t a protester, he just did it.

    And anyone within range of an Evening Standard knew that wouldn’t be smart.

    In fact, someone posted way up above the set of characteristics Tomlinson displayed, the passive aggressive etc – he did what someone like him would do.

    I think we’ve done away with the “innocent bystander” bit. I’m looking at “hapless participant”.

    @179 Thanks. He was headed to his hostel at Smithfields? Googlemap the area (I’m intimately familiar with it). Short of landing fresh from the moon, he would know about Bank and the cordon. All businesses were advised constantly by the Met, and there were many sources of information, including the radio. No-one can tell me Tomlinson was unaware.

    He was walking from somewhere on the south end of King William Street. He went straight to Bank. Where he was drinking, we don’t know yet. To go to Smithfields from his starting point, or from the point we first know he was at, he could simply have gone west on Cannon St and then up.

    I’m not saying he’s to blame for his own death, but he wasn’t cautious. He became enmeshed in the weeds at the bottom of a river. I don’t know if he was really drunk, but he did actively engage the cops (drunk or not), and a set of foreseeable circumstances then rolled out. Poor soul.

    I err on this: he was fairly tanked up, and desperate to get out when he was saying so, but the jaws of the beast closed around him.

    In all the chaos, with all these people taking pictures of Tomlinson and remembering him, why didn’t anyone try to remove him from the scene? Just persuade him away. Especially after he faced down the riot van.

    I’m not a fanatic, and Douglas Adams is entertaining, but he’s not Hobbes, Locke or Rousseau is he? I’m standing my ground and exercising my right to hold my views.

    Badge numbers – take photos of the offending cops and report them. Balaclavas – how annoying.

  146. WalterBillington says:

    @ Cory, and @ risk of being banned from BB for heresy: the moment IT chose to interact with the police, he stopped being a BYSTANDER. He was a participant. You’re running fast with all this, but it’s bubbling over into hyperbole. What’s your mission?

  147. Boba Fett Diop says:

    Walterbillington,

    Yeah, he was wearing a Millwall shirt, he must be one of those thug hooligan skinhead football supporters. Clearly he was asking for it- they love to bait the police. What other excuses are you going to come up with? He was walking too slowly? He said something smart in cheeky Cockney patois? He had his hands in his pockets? He hunched his shoulders in a threatening manner?

    Here was a man who was trying to get home from work. Along the route he encountered a scene of violence and disorder. At some point he encountered police with dogs and clubs. According to witnesses, he was struck with clubs just before the events captured on video. He then tried to move out of the way of police, slowly and deliberately, turning his back to them. He was then attacked from behind by a police officer, first being struck with a baton, and then being pushed to the ground. Several minutes later he died.

    These are the facts of the matter.

  148. tybalt says:

    A little bit reminiscent of the de Menezes case back in 2005. The difference being that IT was not gunned down in the subway. But in both instances we see clear acts of London police overreacting in innocuous situations. In both instances it appears that the police are skewing the facts to defend their own. IT is clearly not protesting in this video. Remember how the police said that de Menezes was acting suspicions and jumped the turnstile in the Tube before running to catch a train? The CCTV cameras proved that to be a complete fabrication. Three cheers for police overreaction.

  149. Takuan says:

    look at what happened Walter; a cop decided to smash a man down for no good reason, and he died. That’s all. Nothing more.

  150. GregLondon says:

    Dammit, now I’ve got stupid splattered all over me.

  151. shadowfirebird says:

    CCTV cameras in Westminster were turned off just before the demonstrations in compliance with a recent ruling that they were illegal. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/mar/30/cctv-london-government-transport-g20

    Coincidence? I have no idea. Convenient, though.

  152. kiddr01 says:

    about the lack off cctv footage – weren’t a truckload of cameras switched off the day before this (because they didn’t meet broadcast resolution standards.)

    the conspiracy theorist in me is twitching…

    shocking stuff by the police though, a real fucking attitude problem. Two of my close family are police officers, one of them fairly high up, and i worry for them and the attitude they’ll be coaxed into developing.

  153. shadowfirebird says:

    @walterbillington:

    What makes you think he “chose to interact with the police”?

    If only half the newspaper reports in this case are correct, all he wanted to do is get home to watch the game on TV.

    If you have evidence that he did anything that justified being beaten in the leg by a police baton and then being shoved to the ground from behind, I’m sure the inquiry would love to hear about it.

    He sounds very much like an innocent bystander to me.

  154. jacobian says:

    Boigboing staff should look careful at the origin of WalterBillington IP address. It seems likely that he is a paid stooge. He’s a bit to well versed with the defense of police and appears to have a *LOT* of time to defend them.

  155. Takuan says:

    something I would like everyone to remember: failure in compassion is one of the few weaknesses that genuinely merits shame. Failure in empathy is to fail yourself as a human being. Both are ultimately choices. There should be sorrow even for the poor fool of a cop whose momentary surrender to the base pleasure of hurting someone weaker has reaped him a lifetime of guilt. But there should be even more sorrow for the man who was just walking home and died for it. And for those he left behind.

  156. jacobian says:

    Boigboing staff should look careful at the origin of WalterBillington IP address. It seems likely that he is a paid stooge.

  157. WalterBillington says:

    @29 hyperbole – it’s not what happened, it’s clear the police are exhorting him to do something, which is unlike to be whistle a tune. They’re telling him to clear out.

    @32 – Let’s find the 30 seconds of footage before the Guarniad segment. Note the Guarniad did not include the bottle-throwing, which the Beeb did, which is an intrinsic part of the story, although doesn’t go to the heart of push -> heart attack.

    Don’t count on the media for your evidence – all media has bias, no media is objective. My favourite media even capitalises “bystander” to enhance and embellish a point – that’s manipulation.

    What forms my view he chose to interact?

    (1) Millwall T-shirt over a long-sleeved shirt – he’s put his colours on, he knows the hard-nut police will be there in force, he shows up to work, he wears it out, and doesn’t head in the opposite direction or stay inside till it’s all over. Millwall supporters are your classic hooligans, and classic police-baiters. No reasonable person would fail to see the potential for this to signal to police you mean trouble. He’s making a statement, as smart as wearing a bikini in a Riyadh shopping mall.

    [Please someone tell me what the address of his work was, where he lived, and how he intended to get home, and where you'd conceivably avoid if you wanted to stay safe]

    (2) He’s in the thick of it. He’s sauntering. The police move up and he doesn’t, as my bespectacled shrew of a man would, move away fast. I’m 6’2, big and strong, but there is no way I’d stay near those people.

    (3) He’s not moving fast. He’s perversely enjoying the moment. He’s not just “heading home to watch the game” – he’s taking the opportunity for a little sport. He saunters, and ignores the police.

    (4) It’s not morally or ethically justified, but a hard-core deployed riot force have enhanced rights to take action on recalcitrants. I don’t like it one bit, and I think they didn’t need to do this, but I suspect they’re safe in their decision.

    (5) His subsequent remonstration with the police is a classic “victim” pose and set of actions. He’s drawing the attention to himself. A truly shocked individual, “just on their way home”, would lose the plot here – cry, get angry, stamp feet – but he didn’t. He responds in a fashion that tells me the outcome he encountered was within the set of outcomes he vaguely predicted.

    I suspect he’s actually having chest pains before the incident. He doesn’t look well. That could be one way to say he didn’t know what he was doing – he was sick. Then I might go with everything.

    I see two touches / pokes to him before he’s shoved. One cop taps him on the shoulder (the dog handlet, and I think the cop who shoves him gives him a poke right before shoving him.

    I am so pro CivLib and human rights. But I’m a realist, the situation needs to be assessed properly. That’s why I talk of banner waving – because if that’s all anyone does, it gets everyone nowhere.

    I’m not saying this doesn’t warrant a criminal investigation, but I think the outcome will not be positive for IT.

    [Can someone provide a link or highlight proving it's a Millwall shirt?]

  158. WalterBillington says:

    @137 I’m obliged to defend my position, really.

    Home Office PR? Don’t be ridiculous. You can only possibly say that unashamedly if you’re living in a fantasy utopian world. The issue with the kind of comment you make is that it’s clear you cannot adequately manage the information you’re confronted with.

    I’m advocating a prosecution, therefore a full investigation. I’m saying the police were brutal, so no surprise they’re stepping forward. After Menezes, they don’t want to be seen to be following the same deceitful path (although initially, they misrepresented the events). I’m saying they had other, better choices for handling IT, and one cop took matters into his own hands. I’m saying I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that they had extended powers at this point in time. I’m saying they over-reacted. I’m saying IT possibly had other choices, and other attitudes to bring to the party. I’m saying if he was medically disoriented, his presence is utterly unwitting. I’m limiting my comments to this situation, and challenging the statement that IT was an innocent bystander. I acknowledge that the police committed acts of brutality.

    But what is to happen to change it? I’ve made many suggestions as to what could help – why not respond to them? Or does that not serve the purpose of radicalising and demonising my theme?

    What fascinates me is the incapacity for acceptance of dissent so many contributors to BB demonstrate. It’s just so bigoted.

    So, John, you’re a one-man spin-machine. Wow. Who’da thought?

  159. 13strong says:

    “@25 – please. The 1st Aid Protester, if believed IT was in serious trouble, should have laid down a little more than words to assist him.”

    I don’t understand what this means. According to witness statements, the protester who helped Tomlinson was doing more than just describing his condition. She had been tending to him before the police arrived to help, and she attempted to then tell them what had happened, though by all but the police’s account, they refused to listen.

    That doesn’t bother you?

  160. 13strong says:

    “the Guarniad”

    Oh dear.

  161. jacobian says:

    Boigboing staff should look careful at the origin of WalterBillington IP address. It seems likely that he is a paid stooge.

  162. 13strong says:

    “Millwall supporters are your classic hooligans, and classic police-baiters.”

    Sounds like hyperbole to me.

  163. Lordrabbi says:

    Can I just say that the discription of what the officer did is incorrect. He did not club Ian Tomlinson, he pushed him (shoved if you want). By saying he ‘clubbed’ him, then threw him to the ground, you are distorting the perception of the event. I am not saying what the officer did was warrented but the words used convey a totally different picture to the reader than what actually happened.

  164. Takuan says:

    can’t say bigoted or lacking capacity for dissent just because you are in the minority here. You are being heard.

  165. WalterBillington says:

    @35 – it means that you don’t let people brush you aside when you believe someone is in peril. Did she shout at the police that he looked like he was dying? Did she risk anything? If indeed she was “brushed off”, that’s no good. I don’t allow myself to get “brushed off”. I feel for her, it must be awful knowing he died, so I only approach this generically, no blame on her. Did she take pictures identifying the police who brushed her off?

    @36 let’s let that stand. Love to know if you know what I know.

  166. WalterBillington says:

    @37 – ever been in a rioting fan crowd? Scariest thing that’s ever happened to me, including being stoned by a gang in Lagos, Nigeria. My rioting fan crowd was Middlesborough. Millwall are well known in football circles for being hard-core, nasty supporters. Suggest you research.

  167. jacobian says:

    Boingboing staff should check out WalterBillington’s IP address. I think he has a 50% chance of being a paid stooge or a police officer or both.

  168. WalterBillington says:

    @163 thanks that clarifies.

    But careful with your accusations: I’m not refusing to seek out the information, although I haven’t due to time. I was taking the video clip and working from there. So isolate the evidence I was referring to, and look at impartiality from there.

    But yes, you’re right, insufficient evidence.

    And again, and please tell me you’re capable of understanding this – I’m not blaming IT, I was enquiring as to the possibility of contribution to the situation. If cop 90% and IT 10%, that’s contribution.

    So he was hemmed in, and that’s atrocious and unfortunate. In all of this, I pity his situation. And I’ve made clear repeatedly that I hold the police accountable for the lunge.

    It’s a question of zooming in on the moments and the decisions by individuals. One theme I’ve followed is how this will play out in a prosecution. So examining these apparently tiny details (like, is he antagonising, or in agony) is a requirement of flowing your understanding through the events, and allows you to perceive different and multiple outcomes.

    @164 hahaha … the thread has boiled down to me vs few, so your stats look thin. You respond with sarcasm to clarity and firm points. It doesn’t look good on your resume, and if that’s all you’ve got, I beg you to take a seat and quieten down.

    Thanks for noting on the medics. I’ve challenged again and again all of you to suggest and recommend change, and this is the first time someone stands and says something.

    @165 – I’d never leave the last word to that kind of facile comment. It demonstrates arrogance, conceit and fallability. Until you can turn around and see things from my point of view, you’re highlighting your own incapacity to absorb an entire situation, and underlining the fact that you’re going to take a particular view, come what may. You’re not open-minded.

    Teresa has lots of good words.

    See, maybe my point is this – was IT’s interaction with the police – passive, active, deliberate, accidental – whatever – preventable? If you’re going to attribute blame only to the cop involved, I challenge you, and look to the set of circumstances that put these actors in place. You can’t ignore that. And you can’t pretend that there weren’t elements in the protesters who were fired up and looking for trouble – I came across them, saw the preparation.

    I’ve been to peaceful rallies, where there was excitement and intent, but there were factions here who came to cause trouble. And that’s why the police responded.

    IT’s death will go down in history, but as we chew it over, there’s more to it than simply “a fascist cop killed him”. For the sake of the truth, and for the sake of allowing change, I’m not going to let that stand.

    For instance – what strategies were put in place to cope with the known police strategies from Mayday 2001? We know they hem in, we know they come armed with truncheons. It’s not good, but it is fact.

    Because if it doesn’t change, it’ll happen again, and again, and again.

  169. shadowfirebird says:

    @walterbillington:
    “Don’t count on the media for your evidence – all media has bias, no media is objective.”

    So you were an eyewitness, then? Otherwise, what are you doing but counting on the media for your evidence?

    I agree that media bias is a problem. But what else do we have, other than unsubstantiated claims from commenters on the internet who say they were there?

    Please don’t assume that other people are more prone to accepting media bias than you merely because they have a different opinion.

  170. Takuan says:

    that Times article from John in #137 makes me think that a great number of people have now become polarized to the point that violence against police is inevitable now. This means more dead protesters of course since the police have all the guns.

    I understand those in power in the UK will freely spend the lives of their citizens for political ends, but does the police administration also think it is OK for police to be injured and killed? Have they already made a budget of how many police lives they will spend to pursue some joint goals with the government? Does the police rank and file approve of this? After all, they will be the ones dying.

  171. WalterBillington says:

    Takuan, you’re great.

    If I’m surrounded by the people I think I am, then I’m in the majority. My minority position relates to accuracy and impartial analysis, with the aim of changing the future and avoiding repetition of the same incidents.

    Good night all – long day.

  172. WalterBillington says:

    What was IT’s place of work? The address. What was the time of the incident?

  173. shadowfirebird says:

    #38: watch the footage again. It’s easy to miss. An officer hits him with a baton on the back of the leg. seconds later an officer pushes him to the ground.

  174. Anonymous says:

    @38

    yes, actually he did club him.
    the back of his leg.
    before knocking him to the floor.

    kindly watch the video.

  175. Lordrabbi says:

    #42: I have watched it a couple of times, and I think it is a little inconclusive whether that was contact with the baton…and even if it was I would not class that as being ‘clubbed’, tapped on the leg maybe.

  176. GregLondon says:

    You might say I’m following the scientific method.

    You might say that. I sure wouldn’t.

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