LONDON – A British police watchdog group will investigate a second suspected incident of police violence during demonstrations against the G20 this month after video footage emerged on Tuesday of an officer lashing out at a woman.
The footage, aired on the website YouTube, showed a woman protester taunting an officer, who retaliated by appearing to strike the woman across the face with his hand.
The footage, filmed close to the Bank of England around the time of a summit of the Group of 20 big economies, apparently showed the same officer drawing his baton and hitting the woman across the legs moments later.
The Metropolitan Police said that the actions of this officer raise immediate concerns and that it had referred the incident to a police watchdog group which is already probing the death of a man inadvertently caught up in the protests.
The group, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), confirmed that it had been contacted.
As soon as we get the referral we will look into it and decide the best way to progress an investigation into the actions of the officer involved, an IPCC spokeswoman said.
Every officer is accountable under law, and fully aware of the scrutiny that their actions can be held open to, the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
The decision to use force is made by the individual police officer, and they must account for that, it added.
Last week a police officer was suspended pending further investigations after being caught on camera shoving newspaper seller Ian Tomlinson to the ground. Tomlinson later died of a heart attack at the scene.
The 47-year-old had not been involved in the demonstrations and was on his way home at the time.
The incident was captured on video taken by a New York fund manager and later aired on a newspaper website.
Additional video footage from Channel 4 also appeared to show an officer striking him with a baton in the moments before he was pushed.
The IPCC is investigating whether police action contributed to his death.
(Editing by Jonathan Wright)