Policeman to face misconduct charge over London G20 death

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A riot squad officer who struck a man and pushed him to the ground during last year's London G20 protests was on Monday served with gross misconduct allegations by the police over his death.

Ian Tomlinson, 47, was filmed being hit with a baton and being pushed over by Police Constable Simon Harwood as he walked through demonstrations in the City of London financial district on April 1.

Thousands of anti-capitalist protesters had gathered ahead of the Group of 20 summit in London, attended by world leaders, but it turned violent and riot police were sent in.

Tomlinson, a newspaper seller who had a history of alcohol problems, collapsed and died minutes after being struck.

State prosecutors said in July this year they did not have enough evidence to bring criminal charges over the death, sparking outrage from Tomlinson's family.

"PC Harwood has now been notified that he will face a gross misconduct hearing to answer allegations that he pushed and struck Mr Tomlinson, and that such dangerous actions inadvertently caused or contributed to the death of Mr Tomlinson," Scotland Yard said in a statement.

He will face a three-person misconduct panel, expected to be held within 30 days.

"The misconduct process is not intended to be a means of airing criminal allegations," Scotland Yard said.

"Its sole purpose is to determine whether the officer's conduct fell below the standards required of a police officer and to provide a suitable discipline outcome should the allegation be found proven."

Should the allegations be proven, the most serious outcome available to the panel would be dismissal without notice.

The so-called kettling tactics used by police in the G20 demonstrations were also used to contain student protests in London last week.

© 2010 AFP

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