If it were anyone else

April 9th, 2009


If I decided to hit a total stranger, who had done me no harm, across the legs and then shove him to the ground with both hands, I would be charged with assault.

If that stranger subsequently died, I am sure I would be charged with manslaughter.

The video footage of the assault on Mr. Ian Tomlinson shows how human nature controls even trained police. The policeman who assaulted Mr. Tomlinson behaved like a thug when placed into the tense environment of the G20 protests. What is more, none of his colleagues offered Mr. Tomlinson any immediate assistance, I imagine because an “us versus them” mentality had taken over: one of us hit him, therefore he must be in the wrong.

It should be noted that the police (presumably a different group of officers) tried to revive Mr. Tomlinson later when he suffered his heart attack. It should also be noted that the officers involved have come forward, pending an investigation. I feel sorry for them as I would for anyone who lets a tense and emotional situation carry them away. Given a baton and a uniform and a potential riot, how many of us would have behaved better?

However, I feel far more sorrow for the family of the late Ian Tomlinson.

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