A policeman who pushed Ian Tomlinson to the ground shortly before his death told an inquest today that the father-of-10 was “almost inviting a physical confrontation.”
PC Simon Harwood told the hearing via his statement that 47-year-old Mr Tomlinson was walking away slowly with his hands in his pockets, defying police requests to move him on.
Harwood said: “He just looked as if he was going to stay where he was forever and was almost inviting physical confrontation in terms of being moved on.”
But the QC assisting the Tomlinson family, Mark Ryder, described PC Harwood’s version of events as absurd.
In a terse series of questions Mr Ryder accused the officer of lying several times, especially when PC Harwood denied he had pushed the newspaper vendor in the back.
Mr Ryder suggested with video evidence showed PC Harwood push the newspaper vendor in his back causing him to fall to the ground.
Mr Ryder said: “At the time you pushed him did he have his back to you?”
PC Harwood answered: “From what I perceived and from the angle I saw no.”
Mr Ryder said: “That is rubbish. I was there and I saw what I saw.
PC Harwood then asked if Mr Ryder wanted him to answer from his perception at the time or on having seen the video clip.
Mr Ryder said: “The truth please, what is the truth did he have his back to you?”
“No,” said the police officer.
Mr Ryder said: “You are lying PC Harwood, I suggest, and you know it.”
On the final answer Mr Tomlinsons daughter broke out in hysterics and fled the inquest room.
The officer admitted he did not warn Mr Tomlinson before he struck him with the baton or he pushed him.
PC Harwood continued with his evidence that he pushed Mr Tomlinson because he was encroaching a police line.
He said he was entitled to baton Mr Tomlinson on the upper thigh and pushed him because he was causing a breach of the peace when he encroached on police lines.
PC Harwood said: “I was trying to clear him from a police line.”
Yesterday PC Harwood told the inquest Mr Tomlinson was not posing a threat to him or other officers. Mr Ryder asked what part of his metropolitan police training suggested he baton and then push someone if they were not posing a threat.
“You are telling us that your training is that if someone represents no threat to you or anyone else you are entitled to baton them?” asked Mr Ryder.
PC Harwood said: “It depends on the circumstances.”