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Policeman suspended in G20 death probe
LONDON (Reuters) - A police officer caught on camera shoving to the ground a man who later died during the anti-G20 protests in the capital last week has been suspended pending an investigation, police said on Thursday.
Ian Tomlison, 47, a newspaper seller, died of a heart attack soon after he became caught up in demonstrations near the Bank of England. Tomlinson was not involved in the protests and was on his way home at the time.
In a statement the London's Metropolitan Police force said an officer of its Territorial Support Group, a unit which is trained in public order policing that includes riot control, had been relieved of his duties.
The officer concerned is one of four policemen who have made themselves known to officials from a police watchdog probing the man's death. Police said the officers were the scene and could have relevant information on the case.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission said on Wednesday it was taking over full control of an inquiry into the incident to see whether contact with officers contributed to his death and had requested a second post-mortem.
London police denied on Thursday that there had been any deliberate attempt to provide misleading information about the turn of events.
An initial statement said officers had gone to Tomlinson's aid after it was found he had stopped breathing in a nearby street and that officers had come under attack from several missiles as they moved him behind the police cordon.
However, video footage aired on the Guardian newspaper's website (www.guardian.co.uk/) showed he had been shoved to the ground by an officer shortly before he collapsed.
Additional video footage from Channel 4 TV also appeared to show an officer striking him with a baton in the moments before he was pushed.
"It is now clear that Mr Tomlinson did come into contact with police prior to his death and that a number of the officers depicted in the footage on a national newspaper's website have identified themselves as MPS officers," the Metropolitan Police Service said.
"To clarify, there has been no denial from the MPS that this was the case, nor any deliberate intent to mislead," it said.
"This is information that could only have been known as the investigation progressed as this was not known at the time of providing medical aid to Mr Tomlinson."
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has said police officers could face criminal charges while both the opposition Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have called for a criminal probe.
(Writing and additional reporting by Stefano Ambrogi Editing by Steve Addison)
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