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G20 victim 'not confrontational'

Ian Tomlinson was not being confrontational at all before he was shoved to the ground by a police officer, the US businessman who filmed the incident has told an inquest.

The newspaper seller had his hands in his pockets and had turned away from the line of officers when he was struck with a baton and "violently shoved" to the ground, said Christopher La Jaunie.

Mr La Jaunie, who was in the UK on business, told the inquest at the International Dispute Resolution Centre in Fleet Street, London, he did not film the officer after the attack because he was scared he "would come after me".

Asked by counsel to the inquest Alison Hewitt about Mr Tomlinson's demeanour before the push, he said: "He was not confrontational at all.

"He had his hands in his pockets. It was clear now he was not going to be able to get through so he turned his back to walk away. Once his back was turned... a push is a very polite term, he was rather violently shoved.

"His hands were in his pockets when he flew forward. He was unable to break his fall. His head goes out of frame but I saw it, he hit the ground, his head hit the ground."

Asked if he saw who pushed Mr Tomlinson, he said: "I saw a police officer with no badge and a balaclava and riot gear. I saw who it was but I couldn't see his face."

He said he continued to film Mr Tomlinson on his point-and-shoot camera, adding of the police officer: "Quite frankly, I was afraid that if I focused my attention on him and started following him, he would come after me."

Mr Tomlinson's collapse on the pavement on the fringes of angry protests in London on April 1 2009 became global news after Mr La Jaunie's video footage challenged the original official version of events.

Pathologist Dr Freddy Patel found he died of natural causes but the amateur video later showed the 47-year-old being pushed to the ground by an officer. He died after staggering about 100 yards and falling to the ground in Cornhill, near St Michael's Alley. Pc Simon Harwood was spared prosecution but faces being sacked under misconduct proceedings.

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