9:16am Friday 20th July 2012
By Nick Hitchens
A police officer cleared of unlawfully killing a man during the G20 protests had a litany of complaints against him for misconduct.
Simon Harwood, who lives in Carshalton, and spent two years working as a civilian with Croydon police, was cleared of the manslaughter of 47-year-old Ian Tomlinson at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday.
PC Harwood was a member of the Met Police’s Territorial Support Group on April 2009 as protestors clashed with officers in the streets of London.
The 45-year-old was filmed striking Mr Tomlinson with a baton knocking him to the ground. Minutes later Mr Tomlinson, a newspaper vendor, collapsed and later died from internal bleeding.
During the trial Mr Harwood expressed regret for his actions, stating the situation made him afraid.
He told the court: "Now I've seen all the evidence and I know how poorly Mr Tomlinson was, I'm sorry that I got involved, I shouldn't have hit him with a baton and pushed him."
The jury who acquitted Mr Harwood were not told during the five week trial the officer had faced 10 official complaints in 12 years of service.
He avoided facing disciplinary charges in 2001 following a road rage incident by retiring on medical grounds but days later joined Croydon police in a civilian post.
He remained with Croydon until 2003 when he successfully reapplied to become a police constable with Surrey Police.
The following year he re-joined the Met.
Other complaints included an unsubstantiated assault by Mr Harwood, allegations he punched a man in the face during a raid while working with Surrey police and a further seven more complaints after rejoining the Met.
Only one incident was found against him, when he was found to have accessed the police database after hearing his wife was involved in a car crash in 2008.
An inquest held into the death of Mr Tomlinson last year delivered a verdict of unlawful killing, and it was during this hearing details of Mr Harwood’s past were revealed.
However it was decided the details would prejudice a jury and the record was kept from the trial.
Mr Tomlinson’s family have stated they plan to pursue a civil case against Mr Harwood.
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