Tomlinson Family on Harwood 'not guilty' verdictTagged as: repression social_struggles
In April 2009, along with everyone else, we saw the shocking video of Ian being violently assaulted by PC Harwood just minutes before he died. After the unlawful killing verdict at the inquest last year - we expected to hear a guilty verdict today. The NOT guilty verdict really hurts. But this is not the end, - we are not giving up on justice for Ian. There has to be one formal and final answer to the question “who killed Ian?”. And we will now pursue this in the civil court.
The last three years have been a really hard uphill battle. We have had to deal with many obstacles, set backs and emotions on the way. It has been hard to keep going sometimes, it feels hard to keep going today. We do take strength from the support that we receive from so many members of the public. Thank you. And thank you also to Lucy Apps for the compassion you showed to our dad when you tried to save his life and comfort him on Cornhill that day.
Statement from Jules Carey of Tuckers Solicitors - civil lawyers of the family
This is one of the hardest days for the family, and there have been many:
- The morning an officer told them Ian was dead,
- the day they first saw that video,
- the day an investigator said it might be a protester in a policeman’s uniform,
- the day the pathologist changed his evidence about finding 3 litres of blood,
- the day the CPS said that wouldn’t charge the officer of any offence
PC Harwood may have been acquitted of manslaughter by this jury, but another jury, at the inquest a year ago, found that Ian Tomlinson had been unlawfully killed. It is impossible for this family to understand these two, apparently contradictory, verdicts.
Ian Tomlinson’s family have not given up on justice. They will now look to the civil courts to reconcile these verdicts, deliver justice and formally answer the question “who killed Ian Tomlinson?”.
It is a terrible truth that in the last 30 years there have been over a thousand of deaths in custody and after contact, there have been many unlawful killing verdicts but there is not one case of an officer convicted for manslaughter.
Those entrusted with investigating and prosecuting these cases will need to reflect hard on today’s verdict and the unbroken chain of similar verdicts.
Statement from organisation INQUEST
Deborah Coles, co-director of INQUEST said:
"This verdict is a damning reflection of the systemic problems inherent in the current investigation system where deaths following police use of force are not treated as potential crimes. This failure has profound consequences on the proper functioning of the justice system in relation to such deaths.
"It is vital that the rule of law is upheld and applies equally to all, including police officers, and that they do not believe that they can act with impunity.
"For too long there has been a pattern of cases where inquest juries have found overwhelming evidence of unlawful and excessive use of force or gross neglect and yet no police officer either at an individual or senior management level has been held responsible."
Statement from Newham Monitoring Project - civil justice organisation who have supported the family campaign
"The message this verdict sends out to the wider public is that accountability systems are still failing and that police officers appear free to act above the law. The question of how Ian Tomlinson met such a tragic and sudden death still remains unanswered leaving a stain on British justice."