What i am being flippant about is the hysteria it brings. Do we want a world where the police cant use force to control a riot just in case people in the crowd have underlying conditions? The country would descend into chaos.
PC Harwood was in a dangerous position when he pushed Mr Tomlinson. He says he was scared, and i believe him. I have been in many situations where i have been surrounded by people who are an unknown risk to me and i have been faced with a fight or flight response. Often these people don't need to be actively aggressive to present a risk to an officer. What matters here is the perception of the officer. I have no doubt that he was scared, and pushing someone is a use of force that is very low down the scale. Had Tomlinson not have had an underlying condition, he would have been fine.
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protecting my right to protest
As a matter of public safety, we cannot put police officers in a position where, during public order situations, they have to concern themselves with underlying medical conditions. This is in conflict of the case law, the name of which escapes me (Minxey/Michael help!), that you take your victim as you find them. If someone places themselves in a position where they are a risk to officers, the public, or are in danger themselves, we have to allow police officers to use force that they deem appropriate at the time.
Something that always frustrates me, and is the core of news stories like this, is that people forget that police officers are human. I have said before that its right that police officers should face much higher scrutiny, but if we are expecting them to be in dangerous positions we cant expect them to be devoid of human emotions.
A scared police officer is a good police officer. A crying police officer is a human. An emotionless police officer is not someone you want on your doorstep when you have been burgled.
Tomlinson's death is sad, but it risks putting the officer in the dock and him on a pedestal. Lets be real about it.
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