Death of Ian Tomlinson: did police "kettling" of demonstrators contribute to death of innocent man?

5 April 2009

Jenny Jones, the Metropolitan Police Authority member who has formally complained over police tactics during the G20 demonstrations, has spoken out again today (1).

Ms Jones, a Green Party member of the London Assembly and her party's spokesperson on home affairs, said today:

"I'm very concerned about reports gradually coming out about the death of Ian Tomlinson.

"He appears to have been an innocent man. Did he get caught up in attempts by police and dog handlers to clear this area? Are the reports that he fell while being chased by police true?

"And did the policy of 'kettling' demonstrators contribute to his death?"

She continued: "I will also be seeking reassurances from the Commissioner that there will be no possibility of collusion amongst police officers over statements regarding his death and the IPCC iinvestigation. This was one of the recommendations from the IPCC following the Jean Charles inquiry." 

**Eyewitness to death of Ian Tomlinson**

Meanwhile reports have continued to come in to the Green Party's central office from party members who were at the demonstration - including a report from a Manchester Green who watched as Ian Tomlinson died (2). Gayle O'Donovan said today:

"The behaviour of the police was the worst I have seen on any demonstration. Late in the evening we got a call from a friend trapped in the police cordon outside the Bank of England. He had been there for several hours in the heat with no water after receiving a head injury. We were concerned for our friend and others trapped in these conditions. We wanted to bring them water but the police, for reasons best known to themselves, would not allow us to give it out.

"A few minutes later we crossed the road and saw several medics begin CPR on a man lying on the ground. We later found out this to be Mr Tomlinson, the man who died. I certainly didn't see any of the paramedics being pelted with bottles or stones, as was reported by the police.

"It was later divulged that Mr Tomlinson was on his way home from work and probably not a protester. I believe he most likely became trapped due to police tactics on the day. The police were indiscriminate about who they corraled. They shut off an area trapping everyone inside. Parents and children, the elderly and passers-by can often get caught up."

Ms O'Donovan concluded, "The tactic's known as 'kettling' because of the effect it has on those enclosed - basically it raises the temperature and makes an outbreak of anger far more likely. It is a dangerous tactic that I think must now be investigated." 


1. See previous press release

2. See Gayle O'Donovan's eyewitness statement

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