A man has died after being Tasered by police officers in Cumbria

From the BBC this morning:

‘A man has died after being Tasered by police officers in Cumbria.

Police were called to Hartington Street, in Barrow, at 18:30 BST on Tuesday, following reports of a man causing a disturbance.

A Taser was used during the arrest of the man, who was in his 20s, and he later complained of feeling unwell. He was taken to hospital, where he died.

The incident has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

A Cumbria Police spokesman said: “Neighbourhood police officers attended the scene and arrested a male on suspicion of causing criminal damage and, during the arrest, a Taser was deployed.

“The man became unwell following the arrest and was taken to Furness General Hospital by officers.

“At around 9pm the man, who was in his 20s and lived locally, was pronounced dead.”‘

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Shot dead by police 30. Officers convicted 0

From the Independent:

The Attorney General was accused of bowing to political pressure last night after it emerged that no police officer will be prosecuted for shooting dead a man armed with a wooden table leg.

The killing of Harry Stanley, a painter and decorator from east London, raises concern about whether the criminal justice system is capable of holding police officers to account for shooting dead members of the public. In the past 12 years no police officer has been successfully prosecuted for any of the 30 fatalities caused by police marksmen.

Concern over police officers’ accountability for their use of firearms has been heightened by the controversy surrounding the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell Underground station in London on 22 July. The Brazilian was shot dead after marksmen wrongly suspected he was a suicide bomber.

Last night, human rights campaigners accused the Crown Prosecution Service of giving the police immunity in gun death cases, while Mr Stanley’s widow said she was “devastated” at the outcome of the inquiry.

The Justice for Harry Stanley campaign said: “The CPS and the Attorney General have illustrated very clearly that the police not only have the right to shoot to kill, but they will be afforded total immunity from prosecution. This is clearly the most serious attack not just on the Stanley family but a warning to all the other families whose loved ones are shot dead, while going about their everyday business.”

Lawyers for the family and the group Inquest said they suspected the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, may have influenced the decision not to bring charges against any officers.

Daniel Machover, who represents Mr Stanley’s widow, Irene, said he had ” genuine concern that Lord Goldsmith’s input may have influenced or determined the final decision”. He added: “What we know is that there was dialogue between the DPP and the Attorney General and a lot of to-ing and fro-ing before the family and police were told of the decision.”

Deborah Coles, a co-director of Inquest, said: “You must ask whether or not there is a political policy at play in these cases and whether there was a political context in which this particular decision was made.”

Last night, the Attorney General denied there was any political interference in the decision. A spokesperson for the Attorney General said: “The decision not to prosecute was taken by an experienced Crown Prosecution Service lawyer on the advice of leading counsel and was reviewed and approved by the Director of Public Prosecutions. The Attorney General was consulted and agreed with the CPS decision. It is absolutely wrong and misleading to suggest that there was any political influence. It is standard practice for the DPP to consult the Attorney in high-profile or complex cases.”

The death of Mr Stanley, 46, from Hackney, east London, has become one of the most controversial police shootings of modern times. The unarmed father-of-three was shot in the head and hand on a London street in September 1999 while walking home after a table leg he had in a bag was mistaken for a gun.

Chief Inspector Neil Sharman, 42, and PC Kevin Fagan, 38, firearms officers with the Metropolitan Police, were arrested in June this year on suspicion of murder, gross negligence, manslaughter and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, and bailed in connection with the case. The arrests followed new forensic evidence that contradicted the officers’ accounts of the shooting and indicated that Mr Stanley was shot while facing away from the marksmen. The two officers told an inquest in 2004 that Mr Stanley had turned around “in a slow, deliberate, fluid motion” and pointed his wrapped-up table leg at PC Fagan, adopting a classic firing posture. This prompted Ch Insp Sharman to open fire, hitting Mr Stanley in the head.

A forensic scientist found that Mr Stanley had been shot in the rear side of his head – which indicated that he was not facing the officers at the point of impact. A bullet hole had also gone through the back of Mr Stanley’s jacket, through the shoulder, suggesting he had his back turned on the officers.

Mr Stanley was shot dead after someone telephoned the police and told them they had seen an Irishman with a sawn-off shotgun in a bag. Mr Stanley, who was originally from Lanarkshire, Scotland, was carrying a blue plastic bag with a coffee-table leg inside, which had been repaired by his brother.

The inquest returned a verdict of unlawful killing, which was overturned in the High Court. The CPS, however, decided yesterday that there was ” insufficient evidence” to bring any charges against the officers. Two specialists, one hired by the Police Federation, the other by Surrey Police, the investigating force, said the forensic evidence did not prove that the officers were lying.

In a statement issued yesterday the CPS said there was not enough evidence to rebut the officers’ accounts that they were acting in self-defence. The CPS did, however, say it was “arguable that the officers’ haste and lack of planning led them to breach their duty of care to Mr Stanley and cause his death”.

After yesterday’s decision not to bring charges, the dead man’s widow promised to “keep fighting” for justice for her husband. Irene Stanley, who is consulting lawyers about a possible challenge to the CPS decision in the High Court and the European Court of Human Rights, said: “What happened today was an injustice. I am devastated by it, though I half expected it. I am going to keep fighting but can’t say more until I receive legal advice. I am also disgusted that I first heard of the CPS decision at 7.30am because of a leak to a tabloid newspaper.”

Ms Coles said public confidence in the criminal justice system would be severely undermined. She said it now appeared that British justice ” puts police officers above the law”. She added: “At a time when there is a massive increase of the number of armed police on our streets, it is imperative that the public have confidence in their ability to act professionally and safely.”

The 30 victims

JEAN CHARLES DE MENEZES, 27

Shot dead by police on 22 July 2005 after being mistaken for a suicide bomber.

PROSECUTIONS: Officers suspended until the investigation result is published.

PHILIP PROUT, 53

Shot by a police marksman after a baton gun failed to fire, in Cornwall in May 2004.

PROSECUTIONS: The CPS decided there was insufficient evidence to charge the officers.

DEREK BENNETT, 29

In July 2001, police shot him four times in the back in Brixton, south London. He had been holding a gun-shaped cigarette lighter to a man’s head.

PROSECUTIONS: CPS found insufficient evidence to prosecute.

JAMES ASHLEY, 39

Shot during a police drugs raid on his house in Sussex in 1998. Ashley was unarmed, naked and with his girlfriend.

PROSECUTIONS: Officer who fired the shot found not guilty of murder or manslaughter.

CRAIG KING, 32

Bouncer from Greater Manchester was shot by police on 11 September this year.

PROSECUTIONS: No officers have been charged.

JOHN SCOTT, 42

Killed in Northumberland in July after he fired a gun as police broke up a disturbance.

PROSECUTIONS: None

AZELLE RODNEY, 24

Shot in Edgware in April after bullets were fired into car of suspected drug dealers.

PROSECUTIONS: None

SIMON MURDEN, 26

Killed in Hull in March after brandishing a sword.

PROSECUTIONS: None

KEITH LARKINS, 33

Former mental patient shot in June at Heathrow after brandishing a blank pistol at police.

PROSECUTIONS: None

DAVID EWIN, 38

Former robber killed in London in March 1995 in a stolen car.

PROSECUTIONS: Officer tried and cleared of murder.

NICHOLAS PALMER, 23

Shot by police in south London in 2004. Failed to answer bail after arrest on arms offences.

PROSECUTIONS: None

COLIN O’CONNOR, 39

Thief shot in 2003 in Bedfordshire after being caught with a pistol in a stolen Jaguar.

PROSECUTION: None

FOSTA THOMPSON, 20

Jamaican shot in Bristol after defying police in 2002.

PROSECUTION: None

JASON GIFFORD, 27

Shot in 2002 in Aylesbury after he confronted officers with a sword and shotgun

PROSECUTION: None

MICHAEL MALSBURY, 62

shot in 2001 running out of his house in Harrow firing at police.

PROSECUTION: None

STEVEN DICKSON, 30

Shot in 2001 waving a home-made shotgun in Derbyshire.

PROSECUTION: None

ANDREW KERNAN, 37

Schizophrenic with sword shot in Liverpool in 2001.

PROSECUTION: None

PATRICK O’DONNELL, 19

Killed in 2000 after taking his mother and girlfriend hostage in north London.

PROSECUTION: None

KIRK DAVIES, 30

Former soldier was shot in West Yorkshire in September 2000 after he threatened an officer with an air rifle.

PROSECUTION: None

HARRY STANLEY, 46

Shot by police in 1999.

PROSECUTION: None

DEREK BATEMAN, 47

Shot in Surrey in 1999 after girlfriend told officers he was armed and was threatening to shoot her, or himself.

PROSECUTION: None

ANTONY KITTS, 20

Shot in Falmouth in 1999, threatening police with an air rifle thought to be a shotgun.

PROSECUTIONS: None

MICHAEL FITZGERALD, 32

Shot in Bedford in 1998 aiming a replica Colt 45 at police.

PROSECUTIONS: None

DAVID HOWELL, 41

Psychiatric patient shot in 1996 at a Co-op supermarket.

PROSECUTIONS: None

DIARMUID O’NEILL, 27

Unarmed IRA suspect shot in raid in west London.

PROSECUTIONS: None

JAMES BRADY, 21

Shot in 1995 in police ambush at village near Newcastle.

PROSECUTIONS: None

ROBERT DIXON, 45

Wild West fan fired at police, but gun may have been replica.

PROSECUTIONS: None

DAVID STONE, 35

Killed in 1993, carrying pistol in north London.

PROSECUTIONS: None

IAN HAY, 39

Mentally ill farmer shot in Devon in 1993 after police tried to investigate gunshot reports.

PROSECUTIONS: None

DAVID LUCKHURST, 46

Publican in Hertfordshire shot in 1993 after he fired rifle at officers in siege at home.

PROSECUTIONS: None

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Police violence in Tunisia

From Reporters Without Borders: “Reporters Without Borders has condemned the police violence to which at least 15 journalists were subjected while covering the three days of demonstrations in the capital that began on 5 May. Making no attempt to distinguish between protesters and media personnel, the police roughed up reporters, carried out arrests and confiscated or smashed equipment.

‘The use violence against journalists by the police in recent days is like a bad memory,’ Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard said. ‘It is as if the old methods were back just four months after President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali’s fall. We urge the transitional government to investigate these incidents and to give the security forces clear orders to put a stop to such practices.’

Dozens of journalist took to the streets of Tunis yesterday in response to an appeal by the National Union of Tunisian Journalists to defend press freedom and prevent any return to the practices of the past. The union said the aim of the violence by the police was to prevent the media doing their job and deny the public’s right to information.

One of the worst cases of violence involved Abdelfattah Belaid, an Agence France-Presse correspondent and reporter for the French-language daily La Presse. Police chased him into the headquarters of his newspaper on 6 May, beat him over the head with a metal bar and seized his two cameras and laptop.

Radio Kalima reporter Marwa Rekik had to be hospitalized after being attacked and beaten over the head by police officers while covering a demonstration on the capital’s Bourguiba Avenue on 5 May.

Reuters photographer Zoubeir Souissi told Agence France-Presse that, after ordering him to stop take photos, police officers kicked and clubbed him repeatedly and one of them took his camera. He said he had to bribe the officer in order to recover his camera.”

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UK Uncut protests: condemn police use of CS gas

On Sunday 30 January, three UK Uncut protesters were hospitalised when police attacked them with pepper spray. The Guardian has written a report of the incident.

The use of more advanced weaponry by the police on defenceless young protesters, on relatively small demonstrations, is ominous. It means that in advance of larger protests, and more widespread local protests against council cuts, the police are trying to make the use of violence in ‘public order’ policing politically acceptable.

Using dangerous chemical sprays on people’s eyes is not acceptable – and we must not let it become a normal part of political life for people to be hospitalised for taking part in a protest!

John McDonnell MP has tabled an Early Day Motion protesting against the use of CS gas on protesters. Anti-cuts campaigners should support it, and publicise it.

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Right to Resist booklet – order some for your campaign

Little red book

See the PDF of the Right to Resist Campaign’s little red book – a resource for activists with information on your rights, information about the campaign, and advice on what to do in custody or if you witness police violence on a demonstration.

Order a stack of these for your campaign group, student union or trade union branch – and distribute make sure everyone you know who is walking out or demonstrating this month has one. Contact us at right2resist@gmail.com for more details

We are indebted to our friends at the Green and Black Cross activist legal project for their help and advice.

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Support our campaign – pass this motion!

Our campaign against police repression and management victimisation needs your help!

Support Right to Resist by passing the following motion in your anti-cuts committee, Constituency Labour Party, trade union, trades council, student union, or campaign group. If you would like to invite a speaker from the campaign to your meeting, get in touch via right2resist@gmail.com or call 07843 945 005

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No punishments for school walk-outs!

The police are not the only ones who use repressive measures against anti-cuts protests. Many school and college managements have used harsh discipline to punish, victimise and intimidate students who organise and participate in walkouts. In some cases, management have locked students inside the school building to prevent them walking out. We must not tolerate this!

no punishments

No punishments! We won't be intimidated!

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