[Marxism] How Ian Tomlinson died

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Apr 17 13:19:42 MDT 2009

April 17, 2009, 2:16 pm
Man Shoved During G-20 Protest Died of Hemorrhage, New Autopsy Says
By Robert Mackey

Amateur video obtained by The Guardian shows British police shoving Ian 
Tomlinson to the ground during the protests against the G-20 summit in 
London. He died minutes later, and a new autopsy suggests his treatment 
by the police may have been the reason.

Update | 2:50 p.m. My colleague Sarah Lyall in London has more details 
in a news article just published on our Web site.

A man who died earlier this month after being forced to the ground by a 
British police officer during a protest against the Group of 20 summit 
in London was killed not by a heart attack but by an abdominal 
hemorrhage, a new autopsy has concluded.

According to a report by The Guardian on Friday, a pathologist working 
for the Independent Police Complaints Commission in Britain and for the 
family of the man — Ian Tomlinson, a 47-year-old news vendor who was a 
bystander at the protests — disputed the findings of a pathologist 
employed by the British government:

An initial postmortem, by the Home Office pathologist Freddy Patel, 
found that Tomlinson died after suffering a heart attack. But Nat Cary, 
the pathologist who carried out a second postmortem at the request of 
the I.P.C.C. and Tomlinson’s family, concluded that while there was 
evidence Tomlinson suffered hardening of the arteries in his heart, it 
was not serious enough to kill him.

Given that there is video evidence, and eyewitness testimony, that Mr. 
Tomlinson was beaten by a police officer before being thrown to the 
ground, the new medical finding suggests that his death during the 
protest might led to criminal charges against at least one British 

Channel 4 News of Britain reports that “the policeman filmed appearing 
to strike out at 47-year-old Tomlinson has now been questioned under 
caution for manslaughter.”

Channel 4 News also reports that a statement issued on behalf of Dr. 
Cary, who carried out the second post-mortem, read:

Dr. Cary’s opinion is that the cause of death was abdominal haemorrhage. 
The cause of the haemorrhage remains to be ascertained. Dr. Cary accepts 
that there is evidence of coronary atherosclerosis but states that in 
his opinion its nature and extent is unlikely to have contributed to the 
cause of death.

As The Lede reported in an earlier post, video clips of Mr. Tomlinson 
apparently being struck and forced to the ground by a police officer, 
photographed from different angles by an amateur videographer and a news 
cameraman, were posted on the Web within days after the incident. The 
first of these videos, contradicting an initial statement from the 
police that officers had had no contact with Mr. Tomlinson before he 
collapsed and died, was obtained by The Guardian from a New York fund 
manager visiting London who videotaped the incident.

In a second article, The Guardian reports that Mr. Tomlinson’s son, Paul 
King, made this statement:

First we were told that there had been no contact with the police; then 
we were told that he died of a heart attack; now we know that he was 
violently assaulted by a police officer and died from internal bleeding. 
As time goes on, we hope that the full truth about how Ian died will be 
made known.

As The Guardian explains, Mr. Tomlinson was not taking part in the 
protests against the G-20 summit, but “had been trying to make his way 
home from work when he was confronted by police, hit with a baton and 
thrown to the ground.”

Even before the video of Mr. Tomlinson’s encounter with the police 
officer surfaced, questions about the confrontational tactics used by 
police in London during the protests were raised in the British press 
and here on The Lede.

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