Alfie Meadows calls on IPCC to re-open investigation into student protest

 

A student protester who was acquitted of violent disorder two years after he suffered life-threatening injuries allegedly from a police baton blow to the head has called on the Independent Police Complaints Commission to re-open its investigation.

Alfie Meadows was forced to undergo an emergency brain operation after he was allegedly  struck by a riot police officer during the December 2010 student protests. The Metropolitan Police later charged the 22-year-old philosophy student with violent disorder. But he was acquitted alongside fellow student Zak King on Friday afternoon after a jury accepted their testimony that they were defending themselves and fellow protesters.

The jury's unanimous decision is a blow to the Met who now face the possibility of a lengthy civil case. At a press conference today Mr Meadows' legal team said they could not rule out suing the police force but would only do once after any IPCC investigation has been carried out.

“I'm going to continue to struggle for justice after the injury I received during the protest - first with the IPCC who we expect to continue their investigation,” he said. “We've made contact, we asked them what they're going to do next and we're still waiting for a reply.”

The police watchdog began their own inquiry shortly after Mr Meadows was injured but it was shelved at the request of the student’s legal team when he was charged with violent disorder.

A spokesperson for the IPCC said no decision had been made yet on whether the investigation would be restarted but they would be contacting Mr Meadows in the coming days.

The acquittal of both Mr Meadows and Mr King has also shone a light on how police forces have increasingly begun to use Section 2 of the Public Order Act to prosecute protesters for violent disorder. The charge is the second most serious public order charge and can carry up to a five year sentence.

However according to Hannah Dee, of Defend the Right to Protest, of the 19 students that were charged with violent disorder following the tuition fees protests, 18 have since been acquitted.

Tom Wainwright, from Garden Court chambers and Mr King’s counsel, said violent disorder was used by police like a “sledgehammer” against peaceful protesters and failed to differentiate between the actions of a crowd and individuals within it. 

“It is something which is a bit of a sledgehammer in terms of the decision to charge these young people,” he said. “It carried a very serious prison sentence and it no doubt contributed to the distress that these two young men have been under the last two years.”

He added: “With Section 2 violent disorder it’s the actions of a number of people taken together that the jury is encouraged to look at. And one of the difficulties the prosecution – and to an extent the police – have in these sorts of cases is that they view the crowd as one unit. They fail to see there are individuals within that crowd, like these two young men, who were trying to protect people and stop them getting hurt. They just viewed them as one large anonymous block.”

Mr King, who has had to put on hold his dreams of becoming a chef since he was charged two years ago, said his acquittal was proof that he and Mr Meadows were trying to stop the police using violence against protestors, rather than being the cause of the violence themselves.

“This verdict has vindicated our actions on 9 December,” he said. “All we tried to do was defend ourselves and others and we have been dragged through the court system for over two years.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Tradewind Recruitment: Key Stage 2 Teacher Required in Grays

£21000 - £40000 per annum + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Key Stage 2 tea...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee