Photographer wins £30k payout from G20 police (update 12.05pm)
December 7, 2010
Picture credit: David Hoffman
A photographer has won £30,000 in compensation from the Metropolitan Police after he was struck by an officer’s riot shield during the G20 protests in London last year.
David Hoffman, 64, lost five teeth when he was hit ‘three times’ in the ‘unprovoked attack’ last April, just hours before newspaper vendor Ian Tomlinson died in an unrelated incident at the G20 protests, according to Editorial Photographers UK.
Hoffman accepted an out-of-court settlement over the incident in which a police inspector is alleged to have run at him in full riot gear.
He told Amateur Photographer today: ‘The size of the award indicates just how strongly the Met were determined to avoid having the facts examined publicly in a court of law.
‘Assaults such as this stem from a small proportion of rogue officers within the Met who let down their colleagues by their vindictive and spiteful behaviour.
‘However, the bond of loyalty between serving officers effectively prevents these few criminal police officers facing any charges.
‘The culture of impunity that this generates within the police is corrosive, undermines the work of decent, careful police officers and is something that all journalists need to challenge.’
A Met source confirmed the payout to Amateur Photographer this morning.
In a statement released later a police spokesman said: ‘We can confirm that the Metropolitan Police Service has reached a settlement and offered a full apology to Mr David Hoffman. There was no admission of liability by the MPS.
‘The settlement was in the sum of £30,000 with the Metropolitan Police Service to pay the claimant’s costs.’
The Met is reported to have accepted that ‘freedom of the press is the cornerstone of democracy and that journalists have a right to report freely’.
Hoffman’s solicitor Chez Cotton told the Guardian newspaper: ‘Reporters and photojournalists play a significant role recording political unrest, political events, which includes recording protest and, if it arises, police wrongdoing.
‘That my client was assaulted by a police officer when carrying out this essential function, and brutally so, is shocking.
‘Fortunately with photographic and film evidence of the incident and detailed testimony, Mr Hoffman has succeeded in holding the police to account.’
For more on this story and to watch a video of events during the G20 protests visit EPUK
Photographer David Hoffman who has been awarded £30,000 in compensation by the Metropolitan Police
Picture credit: Janine Wiedel