Ian Tomlinson: It’s A Crime That Pc Harwood Is The Only Copper In The Dock
WAS Ian Tomlinson murdered? No. But he was unlawfully killed. Pc Simon Hardwood, an officer with the militia-styled Territorial Support Group, hit him with baton and pushed him over.
Tomlinson had his hands in his pockets. He offered neither threat nor reistance.
Harwood used “excessive and unreasonable force”. Was that violence typical of the man and the police?
Before he pushed Tomlinson, Harwood had been twice investigated over his alleged aggressive behaviour.
While working for the Metropolitan Police, Harwood was, allegedly, involved in a road rage incident in the late 1990s. He had been due to face a misconduct hearing. But the heating never happened. Before it could, Harwood resigned from the force on medical grounds. So. That was the end of his police career? Obviously not.. He rejoined the police, working as a civilian computer worker. He was back in the system. In May 2003, Harwood applied to join Surrey Police as a PC.
In 2004, Harwood rejoined the Met.
In 2009, Harwood was with the TSG at the G20 protests. Video shows that his police identity number was not clearly displayed. His lower face was covered by a scarf.
In July 2010, the director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer, decided not to prosecute Harwood for manslaughter. That decision has been reversed. Good. The policeman must answer for his action. He must not be above the law.
Harwood professed his inncoence through his lawyer at the inquest:
“In particular, he wishes that he had known then all that he now knows about Mr Tomlinson’s movements and fragile state of health. Pc Harwood did not intend, or foresee at the time, that his push would cause Mr Tomlinson to fall over, let alone that it would result in any injury.”
So. Pc harwood only hits and pushes people who are well and fit – who, as the jury on the inquest ruled, “pose no threat”? It is very unlikely that is what the lawyer meant. But why mention the health of Mr Tomlinson if not to paint a favourable picture of his client?
Other also see Harwood in a good light. Ulster Unionist peer Lord Maginnis opined:
“It’s worried me that you [Sir Paul Stephenson, the Metropolitan police commissioner], as a leader of the police, were prepared to sacrifice a constable who I believe should have the full support of the police service. The idea that you are going to surrender him to the vagaries of the press, who have been calling for his blood, horrifies me. I do hope the police will give some tangible support to that young constable who I believe must not be a fall guy.”
Given the pattern of events leading up to the death of Ian Tomlinson, the notion that Harwood is the fall guy seems based on more than theory.
Now there will be a trial. Justice will deal with the matter. Is Harwood guilty? We don’t know. But at least this way, the law and not the police will decide. Maybe one crime overlooked is that Harwood is the only copper in the dock. He worked as part of a sytem. He did not work alone.