Watch: Police use excessive force on women at tax protest


9:30 am - December 5th 2010

by Sunny Hundal    


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This video was shot at the protests yesterday against tax avoidance.

It’s not clear if it was in London or elsewhere in the country.

It comes less than a week after we revealed an unprovoked policeman punching students last week.

The UKuncut protests received widespread coverage yesterday.

Channel 4 News, Observer, Daily Mail (with most top-rated comments very positive), the Independent, BBC News, The Telegraph, Manchester Evening News. Pictures from the protest here.

Channel 4 News report

Another video from the protest is here.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


That wasn’t excessive! That was standard restraint procedure when someone resists arrest which is what was happening there. You see worse every Friday night in every town in the country.

Sunny – you are living in a funny little bubble if you think these videos are somehow shocking and excessive.

@Ian

If that’s standard, then the current standard is excessive. I do not expect that level of aggression from the police towards a non-violent individual. The level of force that is used by the police should be appropriate to the situation, with reasoning avenues used primarily and physical force pursued only if the individual refuses to be reasoned with. The level of force shown in the video was inappropriate, and from what I saw (though further evidence to what happened prior may show something different) the police had not exhausted other avenues before resorting to physical restraint.

There’s something very wrong if you expect to be treated in such a way by the police. I certainly wouldn’t stand for it.

3. Matthew Flanagan

This was shot in Brighton.

@Ian — look, for instance, at the officer on the right pushing the woman back after a few seconds. I find it shocking that such unnecessary force could not be considered excessive.

This is a genuine question, not a rhetorical point-scoring exercise – have any of you with such strong opinions about how police work should be carried out ever considered signing up as a Special Constable?

You’d either improve the reasonableness of policing, or find things aren’t as simple as you think – or possibly even both!

Is this the whole video? Or has it been cut down to focus on the arest and exclude the context?

I support the aims of the protest, but the indignation of people shouting at the police does on its own show them to be in the wrong.

I see our usual commenters who think I’m always crying wolf about police brutality are back. Well done for repeating yourself.

@Jason

What? So the real constables can be cut from their jobs?????

A not very clever attempt at recruiting for the ‘Big Society’…. what was it supposed to be, a nudge or something else?

What this shows is a woman being detained merely for a woman complaining to the police about what they are doing. That is not a crime and I wouldn’t be surprised if that woman could bring a case for unlawful detention.

Crying wolf is exactly right Sunny.

The majority of lib/left opinion opposes excessive cuts and tax loopholes for the rich. Only a minority seek confrontation with the police. Your decision to align yourself with the minority shows a lack of commitment to real change.

I know that’s a harsh judgment to pass but it’s a fact widely acknowledged on the left that toy town revolutionaries have never achieved anything.

Ben P; nothing to do with the Big Society. They’ve been around since 1831.

http://www.policespecials.com/

@ Geoarge W Potter

” What this shows is a woman being detained merely for a woman complaining to the police about what they are doing.”

It might do. In which case she has a right to complain. Then again, it might show a woman being arrested because she has tried to shove police officers out of the way twenty times in the last two hours. Without film of the rest of the demo we can’t say either way.

George,

What this shows is a woman being detained merely for a woman complaining to the police about what they are doing. That is not a crime and I wouldn’t be surprised if that woman could bring a case for unlawful detention.

Um no, she doesn’t “merely complain”, she very clearly makes physical contact with the officer at 7s into the video. Common Assault, or maybe Assaulting a constable in the execution of his duty.

NOTE: I’m not saying she got what she deserved. I’m reacting to the wilful blindness that some people appear to have; so far, none of the videos have revealed the police remaining “unprovoked”.

@12 She does no such thing. Or, at any rate, it’s impossible to tell. She may have been pushing the policeman, or as it looks like to me, probably putting her hands out in front of her, palms upwards as a conversational gesture.

I withdraw my claim that “she very clearly makes physical contact with the officer at 7s into the video” as – on reflection – you cannot see contact at this angle. But it seems to me she does, because of her arm movements.

as it looks like to me, probably putting her hands out in front of her, palms upwards as a conversational gesture.

Slow the video down.

ukliberty; I think you’re right that it’s not clear whether she makes contact or not.

However, I’d say it’s very clear that she was wilfully obstructing a constable in the execution of his duties. It’s also very clear that when they tried to restrain her she put up a physical struggle.

I’m against tax avoidance and all for chasing up billionaire tax exiles.

But these protests are stupid and are deliberately trying to provoke the police. After all, it gives you more to post about it, doesn’t it Sunny?

I think some of the comments here miss the entire point. We are not interested in what a few Right Wing bigots tell themselves in order to justify police brutality. If you think that she and the others highlighted in different threads ‘got what they deserved’ then that is neither here nor there, but keep up the good work anyway. Many of the people who watch this video and/or attended these demos will perceive this to be police brutality. You will see that many of these people are young people who we are always being told that a aphetic towards politics. Well the police’s actions here and the kettling will only serve to radicalise many of these people. You can be sure that this video will go viral and you will have a generation who will feel that ‘the man’ will use the police to defend its interests. A few piss soaked old Tories claiming the behaviour of the police is perfectly justified, will only throw fuel onto the fire.

I am perfectly happy for the Tories and their lackeys to align themselves with these shocking pictures and attempt to defend the un-defendable. Keep it up lads, remember to visit as many sites as possible and dismiss the protesters as unwashed lefties.

Having said that, the left really has to channel this energy, ala the poll tax.

GWP @ 8

I think the Lib Dems really need to distance themselves from this type of behaviour or else you are going to be tainted very much by this. From various anacdotes, the Lib Dems are being seen in a pretty poor light in the Country and being seen to condone police brutality is not doing them any favours.

However, I’d say it’s very clear that she was wilfully obstructing a constable in the execution of his duties.

Lunatic right-wingers never cease to amaze me.

“Lunatic right-wingers never cease to amaze me.”

Pretty rich coming from you Sunny.

I do find it a little hypocritical talking about police brutality on one side, but dismissing violence and criminal damage on the other – thinking back to some of your comments from the first student protest.

Jim; you might be right, sadly, but hopefully it will also prompt some people to take a look at the actual evidence rather than relying on assumptions about who the goodies and baddies are.

Sunny; you don’t think she was making the police officer’s job more difficult? You might not think that ought to be a criminal offence, but you should really take that up with your MP, not the police.

For the record, by the way: I’m not “right wing”, and certainly not a Tory. I don’t think the police should use excessive force. I do absolutely support the right to protest.

On the other hand, I do think the police have an important duty to maintain public order, that it’s a difficult job, and that it will require a certain amount of physical force at times. I don’t believe being on a protest gives a licence to commit crimes, nor does it relax the police’s duty to prevent them.

I don’t know, maybe that *is* enough make me a “right wing lunatic” in your eyes.

22. Chaise Guevara

@ 1

“That wasn’t excessive! ”

Newsflash: you’re not allowed to shove people about just because you dislike them. No, not even if you’re a copper. Attacking someone just for talking is excessive.

23. Chaise Guevara

@ Tyler

“I do find it a little hypocritical talking about police brutality on one side, but dismissing violence and criminal damage on the other – thinking back to some of your comments from the first student protest.”

The difference is that cops are in government employ and take orders from somewhere, which means 1) someone’s accountable for them and 2) we’re PAYING them to bully protesters. So if the police are using malicious tactics (which they are), there’s a problem with the police service and Cameron needs to sort it out fast. If individual protesters cause trouble, there’s a problem with those individual protesters, because they’re responsible for themselves.

Jason @ 21

Anyone looking at the evidence above will see an unprovoked attack on a young woman. Feel free to kid yourself different, but at the end of the day, you cannot control the mind of now politically active young people. Whether or not YOU are ‘Right Wing’ or not is not the point. The fact that the true ‘Right Wing’ are willing to line up to support the junta in their actions will further polorise the position. Come the summer time, when the cuts and unemployment really starts to kick in, you are going to have real pressure on the ground.

A comment about context: a person claiming to be the lady in orange says on YouTube,

By this point I had been pushed to the floor several times and when officer cw23 pushed me, I WAS TRYING TO LEAVE, AND TOLD HIM SO.He pushed me really hard and I reacted. I said ‘what is wrong with you’ and nothing more.

So whether you are instinctively in support of the police, the protestors, or just fair-minded and think all the evidence should be looked at before jumping to conclusions, surely you must agree that one short video isn’t enough to reach an informed conclusion about one particular incident, let alone an entire police force.

“let alone an entire police force…” or entire group of protesters, to be fair.

27. Chaise Guevara

@ 25 UKLiberty

The problem is that the majority of incidents go unrecorded. So when we get one or two showing what appears to be police abuse of protesters, people claim that they are not 100% conclusive (understandable, but on the other hand this isn’t a court of law) or that we’re talking about a couple of isolated incidents. So as much political noise as possible needs to be made around events that we have evidence of (although that shouldn’t extend to demanding the guy’s head on a plate if it’s just to make an example of him: the guy who smacked the protester in tha face should be fired and charged; the police above probably just need a dressing down and to be removed from the front line).

Chaise,

The problem is that the majority of incidents go unrecorded.

I think the problem is the majority of policing goes unrecorded, not merely the incidents.

So when we get one or two showing what appears to be police abuse of protesters, people claim that they are not 100% conclusive (understandable, but on the other hand this isn’t a court of law) or that we’re talking about a couple of isolated incidents. So as much political noise as possible needs to be made around events that we have evidence of (although that shouldn’t extend to demanding the guy’s head on a plate if it’s just to make an example of him: the guy who smacked the protester in tha face should be fired and charged; the police above probably just need a dressing down and to be removed from the front line).

The punching policeman shouldn’t be summarily fired; the evidence (including his own account) should be examined by a neutral and competent authority. I think this despite being of the view, based on watching the longer video, that his actions were disproportionate.

I agree that noise needs to be made about disproportionate force, but it seems to me that over-egging the pudding is wrong and counter-productive, and to uncritically accept what one short video shows (I am not accusing you of this) seems wrong.

29. Chaise Guevara

@UKLiberty

“I think the problem is the majority of policing goes unrecorded, not merely the incidents.”

Agreed.

“The punching policeman shouldn’t be summarily fired; the evidence (including his own account) should be examined by a neutral and competent authority. I think this despite being of the view, based on watching the longer video, that his actions were disproportionate. ”

I said that in my head when I posted… the point I was making was that the consequences faced by the officers, assuming any are appropriate, should themselves be proportionate rather than political. So no sacking someone for a relatively minor offense just because it’s expedient. As you’ll know, there are people who ALWAYS demand that people they dislike resign or be sacked (assuming they can’t find an excuse to demand their imprisonment, deportation or execution).

“I agree that noise needs to be made about disproportionate force, but it seems to me that over-egging the pudding is wrong and counter-productive, and to uncritically accept what one short video shows (I am not accusing you of this) seems wrong.”

Sure, and also carries the pragmatic risk of making a big fuss over something that turns out to be the protester’s fault. I mean more of a montage, if you will: if you’ve got 10 videos that all almost certainly show a copper illegally attacking a protester, you know there’s a problem. So combine this with the video of the guy throwing punches, and the one of the academic being assaulted (who’s now being done for assault himself, possibly in that “hit my fist with his face” tradition, not that I can know that for sure) and anything else going, and you’ve got grounds to call for changes to be made.

Weirdly enough, I actually think all this is small beans compared to kettling.

Chaise @29, I think we are largely on the same page.

I have complained to the relevant police authority, I suggest everyone else does the same.

This behaviour is disgusting and is not what I expect from the police. I see there are plenty of right wing loonies lauding the conduct of the police. I feel sad for them and only hope that education may one day free them.

This certainly is not excessive. That woman was being confrontational, she was quite clearly irate and was flaling her arms around right in front of the officer. Then another woman confronts the same officer. Situations like these need to be stopped as soon as possible. They have quite clearly not reacted to it immediately and have attempted to speak with them. They contiinue to be confrontational then they should expect to be pushed away or detained. There is more than enough there to arrest that woman. Typical over exageration as usual from members of the public who dont have a clue. Like the idea of joining as a Special Constable. I would love to see if your views stayed the same then.

Typical over exageration as usual from members of the public who dont have a clue.

Let me guess, a clue how the real world works?


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
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  9. LiberalLabour

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  10. Andy Bold

    Is this proportionate use of force? What did she do wrong? And why did the police try to stop it being filmed? http://bit.ly/etpdmX

  11. Desmond Spice

    We have had enough. http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/12/05/watch-police-use-excessive-force-on-woman-at-tax-protest/ via @libcon

  12. Sandra Dillon

    “@libcon: Watch: Police use excessive force on women at tax protest http://bit.ly/etpdmX” seems as though (cont) http://tl.gd/7alvep

  13. Lee Hyde

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  16. Rosanna

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  17. Colette Booth

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  18. sunny hundal

    Video of police using excessive force on women at tax protest http://bit.ly/etpdmX

  19. Tim Read

    RT @sunny_hundal: Video of police using excessive force on women at tax protest http://bit.ly/etpdmX

  20. Joshua Fenton-Glynn

    disgusting thng bout this vid is the other police stand round/try to stop it being filmed http://is.gd/ieAHL @Sunny_Hundal #policebrutality

  21. davehowells

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  22. Naz Massoumi

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  23. TeresaMary

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  24. Tom Burke

    RT @sunny_hundal: Video of police using excessive force on women at tax protest http://bit.ly/etpdmX

  25. Nick Smart

    Does *anyone* actually become a cop for the public service element, or is it just a career path for bullied HS drop-outs? http://is.gd/ieAHL

  26. Andy S

    RT @libcon: Watch: Police use excessive force on women at tax protest http://bit.ly/etpdmX

  27. SSP Campsie

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  28. MartinLeJeune

    “@sunny_hundal: Vid of police using excess force on women at tax protest http://bit.ly/etpdmX” *love posh voices squealing in backgrnd*

  29. For Fox Sake

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  30. Natasha Lees

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  31. Cheryl Baker

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  32. K-K-K-Karan

    RT @joshfg: disgusting thng bout this vid is the other police stand round/try to stop it being filmed http://is.gd/ieAHL @Sunny_Hundal # …

  33. Nick H.

    RT @sunny_hundal: Video of police using excessive force on women at tax protest http://bit.ly/etpdmX

  34. Tara B

    RT @sunny_hundal: Video of police using excessive force on women at tax protest http://bit.ly/etpdmX

  35. Richard Smith

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  36. Rachel Hubbard

    Watch: Police use excessive force on women at tax protest | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/qJ5c0ST via @libcon

  37. Fiat Justitia

    RT @joshfg: disgusting thng bout this vid is the other police stand round/try to stop it being filmed http://is.gd/ieAHL @Sunny_Hundal # …

  38. letsbuildacar

    This is not a shocking video, there isn't any brutality, claiming that there is, is a far worse crime against freedom >http://is.gd/ieAHL

  39. We are the tax enforcement society « The Boiling Kettle

    […] course, while the protesters were peaceful, the police were forceful as usual, pushing a female protester for doing no more than standing her ground and […]

  40. Jay Baker

    RT @sunny_hundal: Video of police using excessive force on women at tax protest http://bit.ly/etpdmX

  41. Under Sided

    Hi @CarolineLucas – police brutality in brighton http://tinyurl.com/2voqkr9 #ukuncut

  42. Nemesis Republic

    RT @undersided: Hi @CarolineLucas – police brutality in brighton http://tinyurl.com/2voqkr9 #ukuncut





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