Friday, June 12, 2009

G20 police officer under investigation for alleged second assault


A Metropolitan police sergeant who was filmed assaulting a female protester at the G20 protests is under investigation for allegedly assaulting a second woman.

The sergeant, a member of the Met's specialist Territorial Support Group (TSG), was suspended from duty two months ago after footage emerged of him assaulting the protester Nicola Fisher with the back of his arm.

The film also showed him striking Fisher, 35, from Brighton, on the legs with a baton while she attended a memorial vigil for the newspaper seller Ian Tomlinson on April 1, leaving her with severe bruising.

The sergeant is still under investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) over the Fisher attack and could face charges.

Today it emerged he is also under investigation by the IPCC over a second assault, against Katie Surridge, a 24-year-old student who he is alleged to have confronted in an alley off Bishopsgate, and thrown to the ground.

It is understood the IPCC only recently launched the second investigation, after establishing the allegation involved the same sergeant as the Fisher case.

Surridge, from London, has previously described an incident, in which she was shoved to the ground at the Climate Camp demonstration, as "totally unprovoked". The incident took place around 10pm on 1 April, just hours after riot police charged at the mainly peaceful demonstration.

Police have already been criticised for their actions after footage showed officers charging protesters, who resisted peacefully by holding their arms in the air and chanting "This is not a riot".

Rob Faure-Walker, 27, a teacher who witnessed the alleged assault and has given evidence to the IPCC.

"He just burst through the police cordon, pushing a couple of police out of the way," Faure-Walker said. "He picked [Surridge] up off her feet and threw her to the ground. It is my opinion that she was lucky not to have been more seriously injured than she was.

"She had her back to him at the time, and was talking to someone else, when it happened. I've no idea why he did it. Even other police officers looked shocked at what happened."

Faure-Walker demanded the officer's badge number, which was attached to his shoulder. "He walked around looking agitated for the next few minutes before I lost sight of him."

Separately, a journalist demanded the officer's number after noting what he saw as the aggressive treatment of demonstrators around the same time.

By the following day, when he was filmed striking Fisher, the sergeant's badge number was concealed. Faure-Walker said he recognised the sergeant as the officer who had thrown Surridge to the floor when he saw footage of the attack on Fisher broadcast on the news.

Three independent IPCC investigations are continuing into Met officers alleged to have assaulted women at the G20 protests. The IPCC would not disclose whether the latest assault investigation involved the sergeant filmed attacking Fisher. However, a spokesperson said: "The officer in question is subject to another complaint which is being independently investigated by the IPCC."

The IPCC has received more than 270 complaints about the actions of officers at the G20 protests. More than 50 relate to allegations of "excessive force with reported injuries". More than 75 G20 complaints to the IPCC related to police tactics.

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