The inquest into the death of Ian Tomlinson, the newspaper seller who died at the G20 protests in London in 2009, has returned a verdict of unlawful killing.

Tomlinson was hit with a baton and pushed to the ground by a police officer in April, 2009, while the G20 protests (which he was not a part of) were taking place. The jury found that the force used by the police officer was ‘excessive and unreasonable’, and that he had acted ‘illegally, recklessly and dangerously’ in shoving Mr. Tomlinson ‘who posed no threat’ to the ground. The jurors found that Mr. Tomlinson died from injuries caused by a combination of the baton strike and the push.

Criminal proceeding could now reopen against PC Simon Harwood, the officer who pushed Tomlinson. Evidence from PC Harwood was discredited as part of the verdict. PC Harwood was accused of misleading the inquest by Matthew Ryder QC, acting for Tomlinson’s family, who said he told ‘half truths’ and ‘deliberately painted a false picture of Mr. Tomlinson’.

The British Police are in my opinion the best in the world however this shows that whilst they are the best, they are not perfect and that sadly some officers appear to abuse the extraordinary power granted to them. PC Harwood is innocent until proven guilty however he should be tried and if found guilty then he should be severely punished not only for bringing about the death of an innocent man but also for abusing the trust of the public and for bringing disgrace upon his uniform and the reputation of his force. Equally if as it appears, the evidence seems to show him as being guilty, then his senior officers should not blindly protect him as one of theirs. They should have the moral courage to stand up and say, “No, this was wrong” and prosecute Harwood as they would any other criminal.