By Simon Israel
Updated on 12 July 2010
Exclusive: Two protesters beaten by unidentified police officers during a Gaza demonstration in London receive £25,000 in compensation from the Metropolitan Police, writes home affairs correspondent Simon Israel.
The two protestors, clubbed by unidentified police officers during the Gaza demonstrations in London, received compensation in the first payout by the Metropolitan Police over the policing of violent protests near the Israeli Embassy in January last year.
No officer has been punished amid claims that many had covered up their identity numbers.
In a letter to twin brothers Ashley and Russell Inglis the Metropolitan Police apologised:
"Whilst it has not been possible to identify who struck you and caused your injuries, the investigation into the events established there was no reason to suspect that you were acting in a violent way, and there, should not have been struck with a baton."
The two Oxford University first class honours graduates criticised the investigation, describing it as a whitewash. They say officers from the Met's department of professional standards (DPS) failed to gather all the CCTV footage available that night and so couldn't indentify the policemen who attacked them.
Ashley Inglis described how he stood three feet away from an officer, who made eye contact and then smashed him over the head with a baton.
Russell, who saw his brother go down, went over to help, remonstrated with another officer that he had no right to hit his brother and then also got struck with a baton on the side of his face. They say their efforts to note down police identity numbers were hampered by more police attacks.
Ashley Inglis was one of 17 complaints during a month of pro-Palestinian demonstrations which were filed with the Independent Police Complaints Commission. All were referred to the Met's DPS. None resulted in any disciplinary action against an officer.
He told Channel 4 News: "I was shocked this could happen to me. That someone could step forward and smack me over the head with a baton for doing nothing. That sheer kind of outrage, carried us through the complaints and then taken a civil case.
"I am sure there are other cases out there that could be successful and one thing we're thinking of doing with the some of the money we've got is putting it into a fund for people to bring cases."
The number of arrests totalled 119 - the highest number for a political demonstration in a decade.
During the demonstrations 55 police officers were injured, including broken jaws, fractured ribs and a perforated ear drum and the estimated damage was over than £100,000. 75 protestors were charged, 69 with violent disorder.
At least 30 have been sent to prison despite probation reports which recommended community based punishment. Tomorrow 10 of them will appeal, claiming their sentences ranging from 12 months to two and a half years were excessive.
Photo and clip also: http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/world/middle_east/gaza+protesters+receive+met+police+payouts/3708382