The Guardian is disputing an Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation that said police did not set out to “deliberately mislead” the media during the Ian Tomlinson case.
Last week, an inquest into Tomlinson’s death found that he was unlawfully killed after being hit with a baton and pushed to the ground by PC Simon Harward.
An investigation concluded that there was no evidence of an attempted cover up by any press officers or police responsible for agreeing media lines.
However, a Guardian News and Media spokesman said the report made no mention of the fact that on 3 April – two days after Tomlinson’s death – three Met officers told supervisors they witnessed Harwood push Tomlinson. This ommission – and the fact it was not forwarded to the coroner, pathologist, family, IPCC or media – “calls into question the report’s thoroughness”, the spokesman said.
IPCC Commissioner Deborah Glass said the verdict “does not make the circumstances surrounding the death of Mr Tomlinson any less disturbing”.
She accepted the protesters had turned to the media – the Guardian in particular – with their evidence before police because of an “atmosphere of mistrust and suspicion of the police”. Glass praised the media’s role in bringing the case to a criminal investigation, but stressed that “those officially charged with investigating the death of Mr Tomlinson, whether City of London Police or the IPCC, obtained that crucial evidence only after the media had published it”.
The report also established that City of London Police press office was understaffed and inexperience, had “no computerised media logging system” and were “ill-prepared for dealing with a major incident”.