An investigation into a man's death during protests against the G20 meeting of leaders in London will assess video footage that appears to show police shoving him to the ground, Britain's police watchdog said Tuesday.
Ian Tomlinson, 47, died after suffering a heart attack, a post-mortem examination showed. He collapsed among the protesters who had thronged London's financial district on April 1.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission is examining the circumstances surrounding his death. They have said that part of the probe will encompass whether any "contact" Tomlinson had with officers in the minutes before his collapse contributed to his death.
Earlier Tuesday, Tomlinson's family appealed for witnesses to come forward to tell investigators what they saw.
"We know that some people who were at the protest may not feel comfortable talking to the police," his family said in a statement. "People are putting pictures on the Internet, writing on blogs and talking to journalists. But we really need them to talk to the people who are investigating what happened."
Tomlinson was not protesting. He had been working at a nearby newsstand and was trying to make his way home past a police cordon.
The video shows a man who appears to be Tomlinson walking slowly with his back to officers. Suddenly, one officer pushes Tomlinson, whose hands are in his pockets, from behind. Tomlinson falls to the ground, and then slowly sits up, as a protester attempts to help him. Afterward, he gingerly walks away and out of the frame of the video camera. A few minutes later, he collapsed.
The Guardian newspaper posted the video to its Web site Tuesday evening. It said the footage came from an American visitor to London.
Sir Paul Stevenson, the head of the Metropolitan Police force, said Wednesday the incident should be investigated "fully," as the video presented "obvious concerns".
The Met at first denied any direct contact had taken place between its officers and Tomlinson.