08 April 2009


Peter Smyth, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, finding an indefensible way to defend the indefensible.
"On a day like that, where there are some protesters who are quite clearly hell-bent on causing as much trouble as they can, there is inevitably going to be some physical confrontation. Sometimes it isn't clear, as a police officer, who is a protester and who is not. I know it's a generalisation but anybody in that part of the town at that time, the assumption would be that they are part of the protest. I accept that's perhaps not a clever assumption but it's a natural one."

This is absolutely no argument whatsoever. Smyth seems to be claiming that pushing over a member of the public who was walking along with his hands in his pockets would be somehow mitigated in the slightest by his being a protester. A few left-wing bloggers are quite rightly getting very angry about this, but they seem to be making a similar assumption: that his not being part of the protest somehow makes the crime of assault worse, when the real issue is that he was not taking part in any illegal or violent activity at the time. Splitting hairs perhaps, but we should not at this point be implying that the police have any right to arbitrarily attack protesters, especially when idiot authoritarians like the chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation think it makes assault and possible manslaughter OK.

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