Three years ago PC Simon Harwood was a serving UK Police Officer, who was part of the team policing a G20 summit in London. 47-year-old Ian Tomlinson was a newspaper seller who was on his way home from work that same day, when he crossed paths with Mr Harwood. Ian was subsequently pushed by PC Harwood, and died within a short space of time.
Today, July 19, 2012, PC Harwood was found not guilty of manslaughter. Understandably his family have breathed a sigh of relief but Ian's family have vowed to begin a civil action in the Courts.
Video footage at the time of the incident was flashed around the world and remains on Youtube. PC Harwood struck Mr Tomlinson from behind with a baton and pushed him to the ground. Mr Harwood has admitted that a "red mist" descended as Ian appeared to flaunt the authority of officers on duty that day.
Ian was however simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and nothing to do with the protest.
In 2011 a UK Court returned a verdict that Ian was unlawfully killed. His family had therefore expected today's verdict to be a guilty of manslaughter one. What has so far been unreported by the media is that Harwood is no stranger to controversy. Today's verdict has finally meant that his previous actions have been made public.
According to the Independent, "PC Harwood, 45, faced a string of complaints while serving with two forces. Only one was upheld. He quit the Metropolitan Police in 2001 on medical grounds just weeks after papers were lodged for a disciplinary hearing over a road rage case in which he was accused of attacking a driver while off-duty. The case was never heard. But Mr Harwood resumed his career as a civilian worker with the force the following week, before later joining Surrey police as a constable".
PC Harwood will now face a disciplinary hearing over his conduct at the protests. This was decided in 2010 but put on hold until the court proceedings had ended.
The Met are also expected to face questioning over their policies and employment of a man already under suspicion of wrongful behaviour. Today the IPCC, independent police complaints commission, has said that although Harwood has been acquitted of manslaughter many questions remain unanswered.
It is worth mentioning that the footage taken by members of the public, has proved vital in this case. Ultimately this led to the case against Harwood going to court.
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog