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Posts Tagged ‘Police Brutality’

Scotland Yard last night suspended a second officer over brutality allegations after fresh video surfaced showing him striking a woman who was attending a vigil in honour of Ian Tomlinson, the man who died after being attacked by police at the G20 protests.

The officer, a sergeant, was the second person from the Territorial Support Group to be suspended in the last week.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission announced it would investigate the alleged attack by the TSG sergeant, the second time in a week the police watchdog has announced an investigation after media revelations.

The footage and series of photographs were taken at the Bank of England the day after Tomlinson’s death. The latest footage appears to show the officer hitting a woman across the face with the back of his hand, and saying: “Go away.”

The woman, clutching a carton of orange juice and digital camera, remonstrates with the officer. He is then seen drawing a baton from his pocket and striking the woman on her legs. The officer’s badge number was concealed.

“People were there for the vigil out of respect to remember Ian Tomlinson,” said Tristan Woodwards, 25, who caught the incident on film. “Police officers have to be held accountable.”

David Winnick MP, a member of the home affairs select committee, said last night the footage showed “more totally unacceptable” behaviour by a police officer.

He added: “The home secretary should make a statement about events at the G20 protests. That statement should include first and foremost Ian Tomlinson’s death and explain why police made a totally misleading statement about their contact with him.”

The first officer to be suspended came forward after the Guardian last week published footage of his clash with Tomlinson. It is believed the officer suspended last night had not come forward, but Scotland Yard would not say how he had been identified.

The new claims of brutality came as the chair of the IPCC faced renewed criticism after he wrongly claimed there was “no CCTV footage” in the area where police allegedly assaulted the newspaper vendor before he died.

The IPCC said yesterday that Nick Hardwick had been mistaken when he said there were no security cameras around Royal Exchange Passage, a pedestrianised area near the Bank of England where an officer struck Tomlinson with a baton and pushed him to the ground.

Tomlinson, 47, had his hands in his pockets and his back to police when the attack occurred around 7.20pm on 1 April. He collapsed and died moments later.

The IPCC is investigating whether the attack caught on footage obtained by the Guardian last week was an isolated incident or the culmination of a series of unprovoked assaults on Tomlinson. The father of nine had been trying to walk home when he was confronted by police at the G20 protests.

A first postmortem concluded that Tomlinson had died of a heart attack. The results of a second examination is expected within days.

Hardwick said on Thursday there was no CCTV evidence of alleged police assaults on Tomlinson. “We don’t have CCTV footage of the incident,” he told Channel 4 news. “There is no CCTV footage – there were no cameras in the locations where he was assaulted.”

Yesterday, after pictures were published showing cameras in the area, the IPCC said: “[On Thursday] Mr Hardwick believed that he was correct in this assertion – we now know this may not be accurate. There are cameras in the surrounding area.”

An IPCC spokesperson said while there may have been cameras in the area, that did not mean the watchdog had discovered footage of any alleged assaults.

The IPCC would not comment on why, a week after it said “investigators have looked at many hours of CCTV”.

City of London police manage and control the public CCTV cameras in the area, including at least one that overlooks Royal Exchange Passage.

Shami Chakrabarti, director of the rights group Liberty, said she had “serious concerns” about the IPCC’s leadership, whose confusion over CCTV was “very worrying for the investigation”.

“You have to ask the question: Where are they getting their information from? Are they taking [City of London] police at their word?

“If the IPCC can’t grip this investigation and win back the public confidence that was lost in the Jean Charles de Menezes case, then I think patience will run out.”

There were at least two cameras on or beside Royal Exchange Passage. One, on the corner of Threadneedle Street, is a City of London police camera that can turn through 360 degrees.

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20 March 2009

Early on Wednesday morning, a Greek prisoner actively engaged in defending prisoners’ rights was found dead. Katerina Goulioni and other prisoners were being transferred on a ferry from Thiva women’s prison in Greece to Neapoli prison on Crete.

It is alleged that, during the transport, she was seated at a distance from other prisoners and that her hands were tied behind her back. Other prisoners are reported to have said that she looked as if she had been hit in the face.

Katerina Goulioni contacted Amnesty International on several occasions to report on the inhuman treatment of prisoners and prison conditions for women, including at Thiva prison, near Athens, and at Diavata prison, Thessaloniki.

She informed Amnesty International that she had lodged complaints with the Greek Ombudsperson, including one in February 2009, and the prison governor of Thiva prison. She also appeared in a television documentary just before her death.

Katerina Goulioni had also been actively involved in Amnesty International’s campaigns by collecting petition signatures from Thiva prisoners. She told members of Amnesty International Greece on 17 March 2009 that the organization’s campaigning materials had recently been removed from her cell together with other human rights documents and that some materials had not been delivered at all.

According to information provided by the Greek Ministry of Justice, Katerina Goulioni died of a heart attack. The official coroner’s report is expected next week.
 
Amnesty International is calling on the Greek authorities to carry out a full, prompt, independent and impartial investigation into the full circumstances of the death of Katerina Goulioni; and into the complaints that she had lodged about the treatment of women prisoners.

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