£30k Compensation for G20 Photographer Injured by Cop

December 7, 2010 /PN/ A photographer who was struck in the face by a police shield during the G20 protests last year in London has been awarded £30,000 compensation by the Metropolitan police.

David Hoffman, 64, was hit three times with a shield by an officer with the Territorial Support Group during the April 2009 protests.

The blow was so severe that Mr. Hoffman’s jaw slammed shut fracturing the roots of two teeth, damaging a third and resulting in the loss of five molars from his lower right jaw.

The Met formally recognised that press freedom is a cornerstone of democracy and acknowledged that the injury received had prevented Hoffman from freely reporting the G20 protest.

However, the payment, which has been settled as part of an out-of-court agreement, means the guilty officer will not be identified or held accountable. 

"Journalists such as my client are critical in disseminating information into the wider public domain," says Chez Cotton, Hoffman's solicitor, in a statement published by The Guardian. "Reporters and photojournalists play a significant role recording political unrest, political events, which includes recording protest and, if it arises, police wrongdoing."

Jeremy Dear, the NUJ's general secretary, said: "No journalist should be singled out by the police and the police service has no legal powers or moral responsibility to prevent or restrict photographers' work. Journalists have a duty to record and report on public protests as well as the behaviour of the police.

"David's case is a shocking example of police brutality and totally unacceptable."

Just a few hours after the attack on Mr. Hoffman, newspaper seller Ian Tomlinson died after being knocked to the ground in a similar unprovoked attack by another MPS officer.

[Photo by Ben Leto via Flickr]


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