When turning your back is threatening behaviour
This is what I hope will be the last politics post for a little while. I try to avoid it, because the volume of material means there’s a huge amount to criticise on all sides. Yet it seems foolish to look into a trivial book, when something like this happens.
At the G20 protests Ian Tomlinson died from a heart attack. He wasn’t protesting, he was just trying to get home. The police issued a statement that he died after protesters prevented medics from treating him. Video evidence has come to light which shows that’s not likely to be true. A video at the Guardian shows Tomlinson, with his hands in his pockets walking away from police armed in riot gear. He is attacked from behind and knocked to the ground shortly before he died. No police officers offered any assistance, it came from the public. In light of that, it’s reasonable to seriously consider other claims that Tomlinson had been assaulted by officers before the video was shot.
There’s plenty of blame. The police officer striking Tomlinson is clearly a coward but, seeing as his actions don’t seem to have resulted in immediate action, there’s plenty of other people to suspend or fire. Whoever put out the misleading statement on Tomlinson’s death is, at best, negligent. The people who devised the policing strategy are, at best, incompetent. Ultimately the government has eroded civil liberties to the extent that people cannot protest against its economic mismanagement. The same government has recently passed a law which could make this type of filming illegal because, as any Icelander can tell you, anti-terror leglislation has a tendency to spread. By making everyone a potential enemy they too have had a part in this.
It’s common to pin the blame for the breakdown of modern society onto a fashionable hobby-horse, video games, rock ‘n’ roll or the fad of the day. The behaviour of the police is always going to be contributing factor. I’m willing to best most of the people joining didn’t enter the force to assault people, but if you meet an officer now will you really want to take the risk? That’s a problem if you’re in favour of justice because policing cannot happen without the consent of a community. Otherwise it’s just a paramilitary occupation. The video shows plenty of witnesses in yellow jackets. If they won’t assist the law, who will?