Photographer wins £30,000 redress from Met
7 December 2010
David Hoffman © Janine Wiedel
A photographer who was struck in the face by a police shield during the G20 protests last year has been awarded £30,000 compensation by the Metropolitan police.
David Hoffman was covering the G20 protests on 1 April, 2009, in the City of London when an inspector in full riot gear ran towards him and hit him in the face with a shield, breaking his teeth.
As well as paying compensation and the cost of the extensive dental work required, the Met has also apologised to David Hoffman for the treatment he received and has confirmed journalists have a right to report freely.
David Hoffman said:
"I'm really grateful for the support of the NUJ and the skill and tenacity of Chez Cotton, my solicitor at Bindmans.
"But without the good luck of the amateur video that showed the attack, the police behind it would have got away unchallenged – as is generally the case.
"The size of the award indicates just how strongly the Met was 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 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 in the police force is corrosive, undermines the work of decent, careful police officers and is something all journalists need to challenge."
Jeremy Dear, NUJ general secretary, said:
"The police service has no legal powers or moral responsibility to prevent or restrict photographer's work. Journalists have a duty to record and report on public protests as well as the behaviour of the police.
"David Hoffman's case is a shocking example of police brutality and totally unacceptable. We believe that attacks on working journalists are attacks on democracy and on society's ability to make informed decisions.
"The NUJ will continue to take action in support of our members when they are targeted by police."
Roy Mincoff, NUJ legal officer, said:
"The role of journalists, including photographers, as the public watchdog, must be respected.
"David Hoffman suffered very painful injuries as a result of this entirely unnecessary gratuitous and violent assault on him while going about his work."
Read more about the case: EPUK: Met cough up for unprovoked attack