The Metropolitan Police officer who was caught on film pushing Ian Tomlinson to the floor minutes before his death will face a manslaughter charge. PC Simon Harwood, who was on duty at the G20 protests in 2009, will appear at the City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court on June 20th to be formally charged with manslaughter.

The director of public prosecutions (DPP), Keir Starmer, made the decision after reviewing an inquest jury’s verdict of unlawful killing earlier this month. In a statement he said: ‘There is now sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of successfully prosecuting PC Simon Harwood for the manslaughter of Mr Tomlinson.’
Mr Tomlinson’s family released a statement saying they were ‘more than happy’ with the decision to charge PC Harwood with manslaughter.

Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said: ‘I have got to be very, very concerned at an inquest verdict that returns a verdict of unlawful killing involving, as the inquest did, one of my police officers.’

Mr Tomlinson’s death at the G20 protests became an international controversy after New York businessman Christopher La Jaunie handed footage he had taken of a police confrontation to the Guardian newspaper. In the footage, PC Harwood is seen striking Mr Tomlinson with a baton and then pushing him to the ground.

We should remember that PC Harwood is innocent until proven guilty however 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. In addition his senior officers and colleagues 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 let the courts deal with Harwood as they would any other criminal.