I don't intend going into my own feelings over the Tomlinson Inquest verdict beyond a couple of observations as an old fart (albeit one who can still run a good few miles, if he so chooses and wishes to damage his knees, which he doesn't any more and so cycles instead) especially as the blogosphere will have far more places for folks to feast their eyes on and seek opinions far more interesting than mine.
Most of the country's `eyes on the police pulse` seem to go here for starters. I've read this post and seem to recall a slightly different stance from when the incident first came to light, which is understandable with the benefit of hindsight and other more relevant circumstantial and other grades of evidence. Gadget makes a valid point about this country not being a police state. Ironically it is actually only the police itself who makes it so. When one sees the type, scope and weight of legislation that has been heaped upon us over almost a decade and a half one cannot point the finger of blame on creating a police state at the poor bloody infantry.
As for the push/ shove/ baton blow to poor Ian Tomlinson, Gadget points out that he was five times over the legal limit, had a diseased liver and a heart complaint. Well unless Nu Labour slipped a few more statutes under my radar whilst I was abroad or looking the other way, being in possession of a dicky heart and knackered liver are not criminal offences and, as the late Mr Tomlinson was walking and not driving at the time, he was crime free on the blood/alcohol count too. I know that all of that is used to mitigate the outcome and, from my own sight of the videos, a push/shove or baton strike to the legs would not be likely to result in the death of a reasonably fit and healthy man, even of my age, but nobody knew he was in poor shape and he certainly wasn't giving off signs that he was a handful of trouble. What Inspector G was arguing was, I think, that the outcome was out of proportion to the perceived necessary action. So what does it boil down to? The question of necessary and reasonable force. Ian Tomlinson did not appear to present such a threat to public order or safety that would justify more than the mildest of reasonable force ie; "Move along now, nothing to see here, keep moving, there's a nice old intoxicated liver-diseased chap with a dicky ticker - off you go, that way". The officer responsible has that to work on for his defence, plus the fact that he did not know the frail state of the deceased at the time. He did not intend to kill, of that I'm sure, but death was the outcome and although death could have been brought about in a variety of ways, it happened the way it did, it doesn't look right and it doesn't look nice.
And this is where I make my final comment. I was once given the job of reporting on the most suitable baton to replace the traditional police truncheon. I was presenting my findings to a group of officers of ACPO (very senior) ranks and during my presentation I demonstrated the telescopic baton, sometimes referred to by the name of one of the first manufacturers `ASP`(Armament Systems and Procedures). As the innocuous looking device in its closed state was suddenly racked up to reveal a shiny 21" of aircraft grade aluminium Jedi Sword, an assistant chief constable gasped, "Jesus, if you hit someone on the head with that you'll kill him". My reply was, "We are not supposed to aim for heads with truncheons, even the old ones could kill with a head strike". I then demonstrated OC (pepper) spray. The same ACC then said, "Well if you spray someone with a bad heart or asthma with that you could kill them". My reply to that was simply this, "People with bad hearts or asthma shouldn't take on the police then, should they"? My point being that if someone is combatative, beligerent or obstructive then hands-on force or greater, reasonable and proportionate, is usually justifiable. Ian Tomlinson maybe thought he was `taking on` the police in his own way, but from what we've all seen, neither ASP, Taser or chemical munitions should appear on the list of force options, whether he had a diseased liver, dicky ticker or been drunk in charge of a pair of old legs - or not.
Addendum after a night's sleep: I see a conviction coming, but one of common assault. But maybe I was dreaming