Two things have happened since I last was online. Firstly, ITN released further footage of the recorded assault on Ian Tomlinson by a rioting officer. This is good: second sources are always nice, and this revealed that a lot of bollocks has been being talked by authoritarian apologists, claiming that the baton blow in the first video wasn’t real. It’s also good because it led to the IPCC initiating a direct criminal investigation, which they had until then declined to do.
That almost certainly triggered the other good thing, which is that the assaulting officer has come forward to the IPCC. This is very good. It indicates, firstly, that the officer in question may regret what he did: the first such evidence of any remorse on the part of the police that we have seen. As I said before, my anger is not aimed at this trooper, who has now done the honourable thing.
A cynical man might say that the officer’s coming forward was intended to avoid the sudden risk of an actually independent inquiry with the power to get into the Met’s filing cabinets. No-one at senior levels wanted anyone who might find anything looking into this; and that has now been effectively avoided. The Tomlinson affair being concluded swiftly, and with open accuracy, is exactly what his family need, and it’s exactly what we need. But: we must ensure that the identification of the assaulting officer does not divert attention from the men who planned the police assault. They and their political masters must be brought to account. Don’t let a hired man take the fall.