There is currently a picketing action taking place outside the offices of the director of public prosecutions. Protesters are demanding Keir Starmer come out and explain the disgraceful decision not to prosecute any of the officers involved in the killing of Ian Tomlinson. The following letter, by some of the organisers, appears in today's Guardian:
The shocking decision by the Crown Prosecution Service not to charge any officers over the death of Ian Tomlinson (Editorial, 23 July) exposes the root-and-branch corruption of the justice system. Rather than protecting the innocent, the police, CPS and Independent Police Complaints Commission have been shown to protect each other's backs. From the start, when the IPCC accepted the police line that no CCTV cameras witnessed the attack on Tomlinson, through Dr Freddy Patel's botched first postmortem, up to this latest scandal, the justice system has closed ranks to protect its own.
The fact that PC Simon Harwood, who struck Tomlinson before he died, had previously been investigated for alleged aggressive behaviour and yet was allowed to join the notoriously violent Territorial Support Group is an outrage. As revealed by the Guardian last November, 5,000 complaints were made about the activities of the TSG over four years, yet only nine were upheld.
Tomlinson's case is far from the first. Since 1969 over 1,000 people have died in police custody in Britain, yet not a single police officer has been charged with manslaughter or murder during this time. The Tomlinson family should be given public funding should they decide to continue the legal battle for justice for Ian – as should all families seeking justice for those who have died at the hands of the police. They should also have the right to see PC Harwood's disciplinary proceedings conducted in the open. We will be picketing the offices of the director of public prosectuions in London at midday today.
Patrick Ward United Campaign Against Police Violence, Samantha Rigg-David Sean Rigg Justice and Change Campaign, Janet AlderSister of Christopher Alder, Saqib Deshmukh and Zia Ullah Justice for Habib "Paps" Ullah, Bob Crow General secretary, RMT, John OMiscarriages of Justice UK, Chris Knight and Camilla Power G20 Meltdown/Democracy Village, Andy Hewett and Teresa Delaney Co-conveners, Green Left, Martin Smith Socialist Workers party, Emily Apple Fitwatch, Anna Mazzola Hickman & Rose, Andy May Defend Peaceful Protest, Ian Bone, Jeff Parks Legal Defence & Monitoring Group
How much longer, I wonder, will we tolerate the idea that agents of the state can kill innocent bystanders in the street in full public view and then walk away scot free? Even when there is clear video evidence, it seems, technicalities can be contrived to ensure no one is held accountable.
I can see anger at this disgraceful establishment cover up building and building. Ian Tomlinson's family are now organising a campaign for justice with the help of supporters. They've set up a fighting fund which you can donate to here. The family are currently considering their options and what, if any, legal action they will take.