Wednesday, 8 July 2009

MP for Westminster: Tomlinson "in the wrong place at the wrong time"

Mark Field is the MP for the Cities of Westminster and London. When the G20 came to London this April, it was in his constituency that tens of thousands of protesters came to make their voices heard. Numerous incidents during those protests have been scrutinised by the media and the police watchdog, the IPCC - but none has received more attention than the death of Ian Tomlinson. A local newspaper vendor, Tomlinson got caught up in the protests, was struck and thrown to the ground by a police officer and died soon afterwards - a sequence of events initially covered up by the police, until cameraphone footage emerged.

My friend Mike Bennett wrote to Field, as one of his constituents, expressing concerns about the policing of the summit and asking a series of questions about the "relationship between police, public and politicians". Mike has published his letter and Field's reply on his website.

What startled me was the phrase Field used to describe Tomlinson:

"an innocent man who appears to have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time"

Is it me, or is this is a deeply inappropriate description of the situation?

What if Tomlinson had been a protester - would he still have been "in the wrong place at the wrong time"? Or would that have made him fair game?

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