Outrage over non-prosecution of PC Harwood puts establishment on the defensive, notes Jim Gilbert

The Guardian obtained this footage of Ian Tomlinson at a G20 protest in London, shortly before he died. It shows Tomlinson, who was not part of the demonstration, being assaulted from behind and pushed to the ground by baton-wielding policeLink to this video

Dramatic footage obtained by the Guardian shows that the man who died at last week’s G20 protests in London was attacked from behind and thrown to the ground by a baton–wielding police officer in riot gear.
Moments after the assault on Ian Tomlinson was captured on video, he suffered a heart attack and died.
The Guardian has handed a dossier of evidence to the police complaints watchdog.
It sheds new light on the events surrounding the death of the 47-year-old newspaper seller, who had been on his way home from work when he was confronted by lines of riot police near the Bank of England.
The submission to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) includes a collection of testimonies from witnesses, along with the video footage, shot at around 7.20pm, which shows Tomlinson at Royal Exchange Passage.
The film reveals that as he walks, with his hands in his pockets, he does not speak to the police or offer any resistance.
A phalanx of officers, some with dogs and some in riot gear, are close behind him and try to urge him forward.
A Metropolitan police officer appears to strike him with a baton, hitting him from behind on his upper thigh.
Moments later, the same policeman rushes forward and, using both hands, pushes Tomlinson in the back and sends him flying to the ground, where he remonstrates with police who stand back, leaving bystanders to help him to his feet.
The man who shot the footage, a fund manager from New York who was in London on business, said: “The primary reason for me coming forward is that it was clear the family were not getting any answers.”
The Guardian’s dossier also includes a sequence of photographs, taken by three different people, showing the aftermath of the attack, as well as witness statements from people in the area at the time.
A number of witnesses provided time and date-stamped photographs that substantiate their accounts.
Some said they saw police officers attack Tomlinson.
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 it wasn’t just that the officer had pushed him – it became an assault.
“And then the officer picked him up from the back, continued to walk or charge with him, and threw him.
“He was running and stumbling. He didn’t turn and confront the officer or anything like that.”
The witness accounts contradict the official version of events given by police.
In an official statement on the night of Tomlinson’s death, the Metropolitan police made no reference to any contact with officers and simply described attempts by police medics and an ambulance crew to save his life after he collapsed – efforts they said were marred by protesters throwing missiles as first aid was administered .
The force said officers had created a cordon around Tomlinson to give him CPR.
“The officers took the decision to move him as during this time a number of missiles – believed to be bottles – were being thrown at them,” it said.
Yesterday, the IPCC began managing an investigation by City of London police into the circumstances of Tomlinson’s death after the Guardian published photographs of him on the ground and witness statements indicated he had been assaulted by police officers.
The IPCC commissioner for London, Deborah Glass, said: “Initially, we had accounts from independent witnesses who were on Cornhill, who told us that there had been no contact between the police and Mr Tomlinson when he collapsed.”
“However, other witnesses who saw him in the Royal Exchange area have since told us that Mr Tomlinson did have contact with police officers.
“This would have been a few minutes before he collapsed. It is important that we are able to establish as far as possible whether that contact had anything to do with his death.”
The IPCC added that Tomlinson was captured on CCTV walking onto Royal Exchange Passage.
“This is the aspect of the incident that the IPCC is now investigating,” it said.
It was here the video was shot. A post mortem carried out by a Home Office pathologist last Friday revealed Tomlinson died of a heart attack.
Prior to seeing the dossier of evidence, Tomlinson’s family said in a statement: “There were so many people around where Ian died, and so many people with cameras, that somebody must have seen what happened in the Royal Exchange passageway.
“We need to know what happened there and whether it had anything to do with Ian’s death.
“We know that some people who were at the protest may not feel comfortable talking to the police.
“People are putting pictures on the internet, writing on blogs and talking to journalists. But we really need them to talk to the people who are investigating what happened.”
A popular Hindi film dialogue blamed an innocuous mosquito for robbing a man of his masculinity. Similarly, it was an apparently plain paper application that ended up robbing a bhai’s bhaigiri. Though there was a controversy about who was behind the action, the end result seemed to be devastating for the Nagpur’s sole surviving so-called don Santosh Ambekar.

Slapped with stringent Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (MCOCA) thrice, Ambekar managed to wriggle out of the accusations in two cases while the last one is pending before the court. While Ambekar seemed to be gearing up to clear his name of MCOCA charges for the third time, the former gangster also tried for an image makeover by floating an organization for protection of human rights.

Meanwhile, Ambekar also showed up at a few election rallies of his political mentors during the last assembly election. He also made a brief but tumultuous guest appearance at university law college’s annual student fest. At the law college programme, the former gangster offered his valuable insight into law from his own legal tussles with the prosecution to guide the future judges and advocates about judicial system of our country.

Every thing seemed to be going great for Ambekar until a realtor’s wife stepped onto his toes by sending an application against him to former police chief Praveen Dixit, who is now principal secretary (home), at Mantralaya.

The applicant had highlighted how Ambekar had kidnapped and threatened her husband for Rs 45 lakh. The application not only sent Ambekar behind the bars, it also laid bare his political patronage leading to the exposure of a senior politician’s role behind his growing stature. If the cops conduct their probe in a fair manner, the name of a reputed hotelier too is likely to be dragged into the controversy.

With a section of the media going hammer and tongs against Ambekar’s political affiliation, the image of this politician from north Nagpur seemed to have come under scanner. The complainant specifically mentioned in the First Information Report (FIR) at Tehsil police station that former gangster was emboldened by the politician’s patronage. With his alleged proximity to a Mumbai-based don, Ambekar seemed to have been shaping up his post-release career blending politics with muscle power. He seemed to be preparing for a career in politics with big cut-outs and banners on roads of Itwari where he called the shots under the nose of the cops along with occasional surfacing at public functions.

Ambekar’s sprawling under-construction bungalow in Itwari too seemed to be adding to his stature. An Itwari resident said that he was surprised how a man who spent nine years behind bars can come out of jail and start constructing a lavish bungalow. “There was a long line of cars in the lane when Ambekar threw a bash,” said an Itwari resident. He recalled how a constable had been deputed to note down the registration numbers of the cars.

Ambekar had also just started to drop names of senior politicians along with senior police officers at public places when his game ended. As the complaint brought the curtains down on Ambekar’s dream to make it big, the city cops have started a campaign for the credit clipping the wings of the former goon who had once left city jewellers sleepless.

A source close to the realtor Rovish Chouriya added another twist to the controversy by stating that no such application was sent to the city police in the first place. “We had sent the application to Mumbai. Who said we sent them an application to the city cops,” a source close to Chouriya family asked.

Your Voices

‘An allegedly crooked man claiming compensation from a crooked project hatched by a crooked PM to build a crooked bridge.’

Court throws out Eskay’s RM20 mil claim

Gerard Samuel Vijayan: The judge should be commended for his wise words and timely reminder to the government. This is how Umno has done business for decades starting with the ‘great’ Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

In his obsession to create a super-rich Malay business community, the government was directed to award huge public projects under closed or negotiated tenders to cronies of the party. In return the party got funding and some of its leaders at division and branch level got lucrative sub-contracts and supply contracts.

In some cases, even these went to crony companies of ministers and their families. The majority of Class F bumiputera contractors got nothing as most jobs went to Class A or B contractors. So the Malay agenda was served by the vesting of wealth and status on a select few.

Of course over the years, most of these elite instant Malay millionaires and billionaires went bust or had to be bailed out using public funds, including Mahathir’s sons. These practices continue under Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Disgusted: This is what NEP is all about to Umnoputras. Easy money by way of getting plum contracts without open tenders allotted to their RM2 company and then farm it out for commissions and then laugh their way to the bank to enjoy the bounty whilst the rest of the rakyat break their backs to make a living in the tough business environment or merely earn wages which barely keeps them above water (because of the prices of everything going up exponentially) and pay taxes.

Abil: Shazryl Eskay Abdullah, now I understand your sandiwara against Anwar Ibrahim, your claim that it was Anwar in the sex video and your alleged role in the production and exhibition of the video, is all to somehow influence the courts to favour you in this case, since you are doing a great favour to fix Anwar, who is an anathema to the present government.

Anonymous_1a1d: Eskay claimed RM20 million in commission fees for crooked bridge? No wonder the High Court dismissed his suit against Merong Mahawangsa.

Not to forget, RM534.8 million in commissions for the Scorpene submarines. What about other mega-projects? It bleeds my heart to know such deals are real in Malaysia!

If these commissions can be channeled towards real economic values, such as better infrastructures and agriculture developments in the rural areas, Malaysia will be more developed than Singapore.

Docs: An allegedly crooked man claiming compensation from a crooked project hatched by a crooked PM to build a crooked bridge. This pretty much sums up Umno politics – you need to be crooked to get ahead.

Teoh chose death before dishonour, says MACC lawyer

Anonymous_40ca: TBH’s (Teoh Beng Hock) death was because MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) officers were negligent in their duties. Instead of keeping an eye on TBH, these morons were wanking in their pants with pornographic materials in their laptop.

And to blame the death on a dead person who cannot speak back, what a convenient accusation.

Singa Pura Pura: Yes, that is so true. Some of us lawyers would chose ‘dishonour before death’. But thank Allah, not all of us are like that.

Myop101: MACC lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, you think this is a gang war is it? Death before dishonour, my foot. You are relying on hearsay, not facts.

Going by your argument, I should expect a few MACC officers jumping off the building now for dishonouring the commission for watching porn during working hours using government resources.

Why aren’t they doing that? Is it because they don’t have pride and dignity?

Cala: Shafee, please don’t be ridiculous. No one would buy your crap for telling that the late TBH would choose to end his life in order to protect his superior for whatever reason.

First, there is no proof that Selangor exco Ean Yong Hian Wah (TBH’s boss) or TBH had done anything improper. Second, whatever the issue was, the sum in contention was a paltry RM2,400. Tell me, does it make any sense to take one’s life?

On the other hand, if we assume that TBH had been harshly treated by the Selangor MACC boys, an act which could well happen in view of their past mannerism and habit of mistreating any suspect or witness alike, then a poor TBH might have a disoriented mind that might cause him to think irrationally.

Hence, is it not in the interest of RCI and MACC lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah to address this possibility (of Selangor MACC’s questionable treatment of suspects and witnesses)?

Meenakumari: Please don’t create more anger. Suicide for a paltry sum. It’s not like the billions of ringgit involving the PKFZ (Port Klang Free Zone) project.

Good lord. It’s not easy for a straight man to commit suicide. Even drug peddlers facing the death sentence don’t try to take their life – they fight to free themselves till the last day. Moreover, Teoh is about to get married and his fiancee was pregnant.

Kgen: Where is the charge? The fact that MACC has not charged Teoh’s boss shows clearly that Shafee’s idea was the product of his sick, twisted mind.

Md Imraz Muhammed Ikhbal: Let’s establish the most underlying and fundamental point here. YB Ean Yong, the boss of the late Teoh was cleared of all charges by the MACC merely weeks back as reported in the news. And now MACC’s lawyer has the audacity to suggest such a ludicrous scenario?

In an immediate response to his idiotic insinuation that Teoh chose death before dishonour, may I likewise as an honour to the late Teoh counter that by posing a similar line of questioning?

“Could it perhaps be that MACC chose cold-blooded murder before imminent public humiliation?”

Retnam: Shafee is talking about cheques worth about RM3.2 million. DAP has to explain what these cheques are, if they are true. There is no point in scolding Shafee. He has to be brought down with cold logic. Will DAP please explain what these cheques are?

Changeagent: Muhammad Shafee, if you have any proof at all that Ean Yong had systematically channelled ‘large portions’ of his RM3.2 million allocation for DAP activities in 2008 and 2009, then go ahead and charge him.

But if he was cleared of all wrongdoings, it means that the MACC do not have any incriminating evidence against him at all, as you have falsely suggested. Hence, if you do not have any substantiated or legally admissible proof of any fund misappropriation, do not even imply that TBH had taken his own life by choosing ‘death before dishonour’.

The deceased simply had no logical or comprehensible reason to do so.

Anonymous_4182: Ninety-one comments from the public on this issue. The rakyat have said it all. MACC should just simply stop to spin useless spin to us. We are not buying any. A sheer waste of time and public money, no?

‘How can the Internet be used to tarnish the police if the police force is impartial and serves the rakyat instead of the politicians in power.’

‘Internet being used to tarnish police image’

Cannon: PDRM (Royal Malaysian Police) ought to take a hard look at itself and do some honest self-examination.

It ought to evaluate the public conduct and discharge of duty by its personnel from top down, from the IGP (inspector-general of police) to the rank and file. University bodies are available to carry out attitude-perception surveys for PDRM to gauge how the force is being viewed by the public.

Our police are partial and selective in law enforcement. It comes down hard on peaceful, civil demonstrators, NGOs and the opposition, while it turns a blind eye to demonstrations by Umno/Perkasa/Pembela hoods and bigots.
It hinders opposition election rallies and blocks them from entering villages. Whereas it escorts lawbreakers bringing obscenity into the mosque to frame and accuse a rival in Allah’s name.

What image is PDRM talking about? The police force is its own worst enemy. PDRM has trashed its uniform and shredded its own credibility. The reputation of the police needs no tarnishing, and it should not threaten and blame the bad-news bearer.

Cala: Kuala Lumpur police chief Zulkifli Abdullah has erred for not differentiating “lies” from “facts” as carried in the Internet. The Internet is a force to be reckoned with for its facilitating role in giving a more balanced view on matters not picked up by the MSM (mainstream media).

Without the Internet, many incidents of police brutality would have been swept under the carpet. What is there to be afraid of if the police have been acting professionally?

Tbala: One need not resort to independent surveys to gauge the image of the police. It is written on the wall. We dare the police to undertake an independent survey to prove the existence of its good name before they even talk about defending it.

By Election Fan: How can the Internet be used to tarnish the police if the force is impartial and serves the rakyat instead of the politicians in power.

Can you explain why the ‘cow head’ protesters were allowed to march with intention of insulting Hindus and those who gathered to campaign for minimum wages were arrested? Why was the reporter (Sin Chew Daily’s Tan Hoon Cheng) detained under the ISA and the party which uttered racist remarks left off?

Dood: It is the police force itself that is tarnishing its own image by its irresponsible, unjust, and partisan behaviour.

It’s a pity we have people like Zulkifli leading the force, because only a fool will blame others for “manipulating” issues like deaths in custody, causing the public to lose faith in the police force, rather than realise that if not for the police causing those issues in the first place (for example, allowing deaths in its custody to happen), there wouldn’t be any issue to “manipulate”.

Lim Chong Leong: What nonsense coming from the police. The Internet did not kill the many Kugans and Aminulrasyids. The Internet did not rob picture-frame makers or pregnant storekeepers.

The Internet did not have its special forces kill and bomb a Mongolian girl. The Internet did not offer protection to cow-head protestors and racist Perkasa or even porn producers.

The Internet also did not arrest candlelight ‘vigilians’ and their lawyers. And the Internet did not make stupid statements like this to make itself look even more stupid. So, the image of the PRDM (sic) being an Umno personal security guard is projected by them.

Petestop: It is not the Internet that tarnishes their image, it is police actions. What with the protection given to the Datuk T, who showed porn to the press and probably leaked it to the public (YouTube) since they claim they have the only copy of the sex video.

It is really weird to see these three jokers wearing bullet-proof vests and guarded by police when doing the ‘sumpah laknat’. Is that what the police force is used for nowadays – to guard criminals so that it could gain political points?

The police actions tarnish their image and the Internet is just a medium to spread the information.

Anonymous222: There’s no smoke without fire.

P Dev Anand Pillai: The police are pleading with the people not to simply judge them? What a joke! Actions speak louder than words and the police show it everyday.

When a group of students wanted to ‘welcome’ the visiting Chinese premier, why were they arrested for just holding out a cloth banner? Why was PSM secretary-general S Arutchelvan arrested when all he was doing was to give the press their feed on what was happening on May Day.

The police force has now become the uniformed and armed unit of Umno-BN, it is no more the force that the British left us with. It has now become an armed force used by the government to threaten the people into submission instead of caring for and protecting them.

This was clearly displayed during the cow-head demonstration, Perkasa’s loud demonstrations every now and then and during the Perak coup by the BN. Reputation and respect can only be earned not by force or threats.

Glocal: I would like to remind Zulkifli that the Internet had been an eye opener for the uninformed. The newspapers and the TV stations in this country are not telling us the truth. In fact, they are the culprits tarnishing the police image by falsifying reports of the actual situation. I think you have got the whole idea of the Internet wrong.

Ttloo: If the police image is tarnished by the Internet, there must be some truth in it as most of the articles that appear online come from the press, either locally or overseas. Only a small portion come from irresponsible Net users.

To sum it up, if the police image is good, an RCI (royal commission of inquiry) would not have been called before and until today the key recommendations from RCI had failed to take off. Does that answer your questions on the police image?

The police are fully capable of tarnishing their own image. You score own goals in almost every game you play.’
‘Internet being used to tarnish police image’

Gerard Samuel Vijayan: There is nothing left to tarnish because the police have proven to be a tool of the Umno/BN regime. If the IPCMC (Independent Police Complaints and Misconducts Commission) had been formed, the police could have been saved but now they are doomed to failure and can only be reformed under a change of government that may not be too sympathetic to the police.

Therefore, the police are hell-bent on maintaining the status quo. The police must be reminded that serving the government of the day does not mean serving the party in power. The job of the police is to maintain public order and security without fear or favour with the utmost sincerity, integrity and professionalism. The police must be impartial and independent of politicians in the discharge of their duties.

But alas, the police now have an opinion that only Umno/BN can protect their interests best. Serving political interests and agendas is their priority and not that of the ordinary public. So why should the public support or trust the police?

Malaysians Are Not Stupid: The people responsible for tarnishing police image are the police themselves. More specifically the top leadership. The rakyat are not blind. We can see for ourselves the actions of the police. We know what is right and what is wrong.

Stop pointing at shadows and finding scapegoats for your failures. Look at yourself. The answer to raising the police’s image among the rakyat lies in the police themselves.

DontPlayGod: Kuala Lumpur police chief Zulkifli Abdullah, you may say that the police must be professional and unbiased, but then, you are not the IGP (inspector-general of police). The IGP thinks diffferently, and he answers to Umno.

And by the way, Zukilfli, the PDRM (Royal Malaysian Police) can always defend themselves online to any misunderstandings or wrongful accusations levelled against them.

Ericlcc: Spot on Zulkifli, maybe there are some opening in Bukit Aman soon and you don’t want to miss out on this promotion opportunity, so you definitely have to say something brave and bold, like “don’t tarnish the image of the police…” so that you will get noticed.

One wonders what the police image enhancement unit in Home Ministry is doing. The unit head with a superscale salary must be sleeping on the job.

Malaysiasakit: Zulkifli, please don’t sell PDRM short by giving too much credit to the Internet. The police are fully capable of tarnishing their own image. You score own goals in almost every game you play.

You might have forgotten that PDRM arrested a journalist under ISA to “protect” her, provided protection to a man who took an oath in a mosque over the sex video affair, shot chemical-laced water cannons at candlelight vigils and other peaceful gatherings.
The Internet did not create these episodes, it merely spread the word around faster. Stop blaming others for your faux pas. For once, stop and think before going around doing silly things.

Anonymous_1a1d: The only way PDRM can regain public trust apart from managing abuse of power and corruption is for the IGP and senior officers and all PDRM personnel to disassociate themselves from any interferences of any political parties.

The motto (borrowed from Rotary International) for PDRM should be ‘Service Above Self’ and the guidelines to fostering a good public image are:

a) Is it the truth?
b) Is it fair to all concerned?
c) Will it build goodwill and better ties with the public?
d) Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Kingfisher: The KL police chief should be commended for his call to his colleagues to be mindful about the fact that this is a multiracial country and that the PDRM must act in a responsible manner.

The fact that the PDRM is severely taken to task on a number of issues of public interest via the Internet is indicative of the lack of public trust in the PDRM. In general, the public, by and large, should be favourably disposed towards an agency that looks after internal law, order and security.

The PDRM should therefore be vigilant and competent at all times in order to to earn due respect from the public.

M’siaKiniFan: PDRM, you are working for the rakyat. That means we are your boss. We pay your salary. Please don’t bite the hands that feed you. If we complaining about you, that’s because you must improve the force.

Don’t be so negative. We know Umno-BN is squeezing your balls. So stop barking at us, we only telling you the truth.

Habib RAK: Zulkifli, as a responsible member of the public, let me give a lead on where the source is that leads to the tarnishing of the police image.

If you look carefully, there is place called Bukit Aman. It’s near Parliament House. You can’t miss it. Send your men there and you will find the real culprits. Most of them wear blue but at other times they dress like members of the public.

Hope this helps. If there is any monetary reward for this lead, please donate it to Kugan and Amirulrashid families.

Meranti Kepong: So long as the police force do not act fairly and honestly in the discharge of its public duties, there will be the Internet to act as an unofficial watchdog to its blatant misbehaviour in performing its duties, especially bribery and corruption, which must be rooted out among the force’s members.


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