Alfie Meadows Retrial – Day 5 Recap

Here’s a quick and dirty recount of everything that went on at the retrial of Alfie Meadows and Zac King on Thursday 08 November – filed here for posterity since it was such a big day. Both plead not guilty to charges of violent disorder stemming from 2010’s student protests in Westminster against the tripling of tuition fees. That evening Mr Meadows was rushed to hospital for emergency brain surgery after having been hit in the head with a TSG officer’s baton (I say this under qualified privilege, having seen new footage yesterday). Yet the IPCC-led investigation into Alfie’s injury was put on hold last year after police brought charges against Mr Meadows and Mr King instead.
So that’s the context. Below are my rough-and-ready livetweets of counsel for the defence Michael Mansfield QC cross-examining Commander Michael Johnson of the Metropolitan police, the ‘Silver’-level commander in charge of tactical planning of policing mass demonstrations who gave the order to kettle the crowds that day. It’s in reverse chronological order, so start from the bottom.

  • Commander Johnson leaves witness stand. Court now adjourned till 10am tomorrow. (and technically my day off…) #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Judge Moore asks how many contained that day, Johnson says 10-15k. 3k kettled on Westminster Bridge. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • #AlfieMeadows Lofthouse replays aerial footage of fencing moving over crowds’ heads to police line near (cont) Nov 08, 2012
  • Johnson says appeared from aerial footage that officers were under attack. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Lofthouse replays aerial footage. Johnson says “concentrating quite heavily on aerial footage because it gives you quite a good overview” Nov 08, 2012
  • Mansfield has no further questions. Prosecutor James Lofthouse rises for re-examination of Commander Johnson. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Clip screened frame by frame shows an officer in TSG garb a metre or so out from police line, lashing out at Meadows w/ baton. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • #AlfieMeadows Mansfield: Do these scenes trouble you? Johnson: “They trouble me so much as I don’t like to see (cont) Nov 08, 2012
  • “There’s no room,” a woman screams. “It’s a bit tight,” an officer off-camera says and gestures. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Video now playing sea of protesters around police carriers chanting “we are peaceful, what are you”. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • @spanneredbooks All police footage thus far. Nov 08, 2012
  • “In the pictures…none of them have meat cleavers, did they?” Johnson: cleaver seized that day but “didn’t see any, no.” #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Mansfield: “Someone was actually on the ground and an officer came along and gratuitously used his baton on that person.” #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Mansfield asks what he saw in clip of protester on the ground. Johnson declines to speculate about officer’s intention. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • “As far as you’re aware did any officer have to explain their baton use that day?” Johnson: “Not as far as I’m aware.” #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Mansfield: Was Johnson “ever informed” of “any kind of report” or investigation of baton use that day? Johnson: no. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Mansfield: Did you ask for a review of baton use? Johnson: investigators review footage separately and flag poss. criminality. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • In another clip an officer walks up to join another officer, leaning down to repeatedly strike a protester on the ground. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • In one clip a police medic reaches across another officer to strike at an otherwise out-of-reach protester. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Defence has just played a series of clips in slow motion showing officers striking protesters. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Johnson confirms that any officer who independently chooses to wield baton must also record & report to superior. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Johnson confirms that bronze commanders are supposed to record any order they give to use batons in “show of strength”. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Mansfield: Did any bronze commanders tell him about any baton strikes? “Not specifically, no.” #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • #AlfieMeadows Mansfield: did Johnson then ask bronze-level commanders whether they could recall baton strikes? (cont) Nov 08, 2012
  • “There was a likelihood he could die.” Johnson: “Yes.” “This must have concerned you.” “Yes.” #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Johnson confirms heard of Meadow’s head injury after midnight, logs posit result of baton strike, possibly life-threatening. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Break for King to stretch his legs but I think you’re all mostly up to speed now. Judge says sitting til 5:30pm, stay tuned. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Mansfield: “In the sequence shown here no-one is throwing fencing at officers as they advance.” Johnson says fences removed. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Defence: protesters seized barriers to protect themselves the officers. Johnson insists fences used as weapons. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Mansfield: officer shown repeatedly hitting a young woman as she falls down. Johnson: “I wouldn’t like to put words in the officer’s mouth”. Nov 08, 2012
  • Mansfield: “What did you see happen?” Johnson: “They were using batons to fight people.” #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Mansfield asks what the baton-users were doing. Johnson: “I wouldn’t like to hazard what the officers intended.” #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Johnson says he saw a traffic beacon thrown at an officer in the clip, confirms he also saw “some batons being used”. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Defence presses, asks where and when Whitehall footage shows violence. Johnson says “became much more ferocious later on”. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Commander Johnson insists order was motivated by an attack on officers near aforementioned carrier vans. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Mansfield: “Whether you call it a sustained attack or a confrontation, that didn’t happen for another hour.” #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Defence says no footage shown yet shows “sustained attack” on any police line prior to Johnson’s order to kettle. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • We’re back, jury watching FIT footage of Kettle. Afraid we’re in a secure courtroom so I can’t get a good look at a monitor. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Johnson on cops holding batons aloft during push: “It isn’t a threat, it’s more an indication that officers have got batons”. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • #AlfieMeadows: Johnson denies batons raised to threaten protesters during push. “It isn’t a threat, it’s more an (cont) Nov 08, 2012
  • Defence describes raised batons as held in an “assertive” and “aggressive” manner, asks Commander Johnson if meant as threat. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Johnson says officers were pushing “obstructive” crowd with shields, confirms some officers holding batons aloft. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Defence says crowd “quite dense”. “At that point to start an operation of pushing people through carrier vans (cont) Nov 08, 2012
  • Johnson confirms he gave order for the lines to advance, pushing protesters onto footpath between carrier vans and gasworks #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Jury watching footage of police cordon across Whitehall, three lines deep incl. officers on horseback. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Been furiously retrotweeting as #AlfieMeadows case now in recess. Back in 5mns or so. Nov 08, 2012
  • Johnson “honestly can’t tell” why cordon relaxed. “It could be the sheer weight of numbers, the violence…” #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Johnson: other vids of stuff thrown.”Unless you’re in the front getting punched and kicked, you can’t say it wasn’t violence”. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Meanwhile defence says footage of said cordon doesn’t show attack. “Jostling” occasionally “but there’s no violence here.” #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Defence praises anonymous officer who decided to let large group out of Parliament Square up Whitehall instead as “sensible”. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Defence: “You’ve got a police line with a whole lot of people from the north and a whole lot of people from the south…” #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Defence: Johnson was no longer in control. Johnson: “I disagree entirely”, says bronze officers on scene given discretion. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Johnson says he cannot recall whether he was aware of a large group seen on video trying to enter Sq through Whitehall cordon. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Commander Johnson confirms again there is no mention of a carrier blockade in his logs. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Defence: Police carriers seen “in blockading formation” across Parliament Street. Johnson says were there for the cordon, yes. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Johnson says hard to log everything “in the heat of the moment”, Opening “could be officers being attacked, I can’t say.” #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • “What the officers were expressing…was that they were worried about the numbers?” Cordon across Whitehall had blocked march mid-route. Nov 08, 2012
  • Yet Cmdr Johnson confirms there is no mention of the release in his own logs. Counsel for defence Michael Mansfield continues. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Officers’ logs show “a cordon opened up & a large group is let through to relieve the pressure” around 4:30pm. #AlfieMeadows Nov 08, 2012
  • Thanks to those following my #AlfieMeadows coverage, apologies if I can’t RT your messages without compromising my qualified privilege. Nov 08, 2012
  • #AlfieMeadows, Day 4: Met had ‘no plans’ for kettle during 2010 fees protest Nov 08, 2012

One Comment on “Alfie Meadows Retrial – Day 5 Recap”

  1. […] for acquittal for both defendants. Some of the police testimony was collated live by Rory MacKinnon here during the last trial. It is what you might expect: where he cannot deny police violence, he will […]

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