Ian Tomlinson death: Boris Johnson urges 'fast and transparent' inquiry

London mayor calls for 'full and urgent co-operation of all involved' in investigation into Ian Tomlinson death

Boris Johnson, the London mayor, called today for a "fast and transparent conclusion" to the investigation into the death of Ian Tomlinson, the newspaper vendor who died during the G20 protests.

Speaking after a second postmortem examination revealed that Tomlinson died from internal bleeding, the mayor called for the "full and urgent co-operation of all involved".

Johnson, who is chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority, defended the policing of the G20 demonstrations, where Tomlinson died shortly after an officer allegedly hit him with a truncheon and threw him to the floor.

He said: "Sir Paul Stephenson has rightly called in the IPCC and asked the HMIC to review the policing of demonstrations of this kind. It is vital that everyone takes care not to prejudice either the ongoing IPCC investigation or indeed any future criminal proceedings that may arise."

The mayor, who prior to the G20 summit expressed his full confidence in the police preparations, said the whole country had been deeply disturbed by Tomlinson's death.

He defended the standard of policing in the capital, saying: "The police do an excellent job of making safe the 4,500 events and demonstrations that take place in London every year ... [and they] receive and deserve the overwhelming support of the people of London, but the family of Ian Tomlinson need answers, and so do Londoners."

Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty, said the new postmortem findings would "only add to the distress of Mr Tomlinson's family".

She said: "This further demonstrates how citizens and journalists have pressured the authorities into action. It increases the importance of the IPCC investigation and the Met commissioner's broader review of policing tactics. We all owe it to Mr Tomlinson and his loved ones to ensure that this tragic death was not in vain."

The Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, Chris Huhne, said described the findings as "alarming" and said: "It suggests that Mr Tomlinson's treatment by the police officer caught on video may have been the final contributing factor in his death. These findings put further pressure on the IPCC to investigate this matter with all urgency."

The first postmortem examination concluded that Tomlinson died of a heart attack.

Former mayor Ken Livingstone said the IPCC investigation is likely to shape the future of policing and the role of the Territorial Support Group - the officer at the centre of the allegations belongs to the elite anti-riot unit.

Speaking to BBC News last night he said:

"This is a chance to make changes to the way the police conduct themselves so we're not asking the same questions in years in five or ten years after the death of another innocent civilian. In retrospect the TSG should have been held in reserve at what was an overwhelmingly peaceful demonstration but we're beginning to see a situation where any protest is being seen as a threat."


Hélène Mulholland and Matthew Taylor

The GuardianTramp

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