I’d like to say I’m surprised, but I’m not. Police officers in Britain get away with this kind of thing all the time. No police officer has been found guilty of manslaughter in 25 years, despite hundreds of cases in which families have alleged wrongdoing. The “Independent” Police Complaints Commission initially refused to look into the allegation against Harwood – a serious allegation that a cop had killed someone – and it changed its mind only after the Guardian released video footage, recorded by a US businessman, showing Tomlinson being struck with a baton and pushed to the ground by a police officer. An IPCC report found its investigators had not been told about three police witnesses who, it was discovered 48 hours after Tomlinson’s death, confirmed they saw a colleague strike the news seller with a baton and push him to the ground (obvious cover-up… but by the IPCC or the Met? Or both?) There’s also the fact that Harwood has a very bad history of misconduct (not revealed to the jury until after the verdict). This history includes the fact that Harwood retired from the Met “on health grounds” in 2001, shortly before a planned disciplinary hearing into claims that while off-duty he illegally tried to arrest a man in a road rage incident, altering notes retrospectively to justify his action – then the Met let him join up again making him a member of the infamous Territorial Support Group.
But hey, I’m just going over old ground here – read the Guardian’s excellent coverage here.
One more thing I have to mention here though: last year, after hearing similar evidence, an inquest jury ruled that Tomlinson was “unlawfully killed” by a police officer. They did so on the same standard of proof – beyond reasonable doubt. Neither jury was told about Harwood’s chequered disciplinary background. So what’s that all about? If Harwood “unlawfully killed” Tomlinson but it wasn’t manslaughter… then surely that means it was murder? But I’m not a lawyer,so wtf do I know?