Freelance journalist Shiv Malik, who was beaten by a policeman yesterday, said he won’t be pursuing legal action preferring instead to write about the incident.
Malk was covering student protests outside Parliament yesterday when he found himself squeezed between protestors and the police line shortly after 4pm. Police were apparently trying to stop protestors heading away from Parliament Square and up towards Victoria.
Malik needed five stitches after being struck on the head.
He told Press Gazette today: ‘People have said ‘are you going to sue?’. No is the answer. It’s an interesting journalistic question. I think the best thing to do in these circumstances is to write about it.
‘We journalists are in quite a privileged position. If you go into a legal process that constrains what you can say and what you can write about these things.”
Malik was himself the subject of a lengthy legal battle in 2008 when Greater Manchester Police demanded to see notes he had made of an interview with an alleged terrorist. He lost that case at the High Court and was forced to hand over all materials relating to his interviews with Hassan Butt under the Terrorism Act.
Recounting the incident when he was attacked yesterday, Malik said: ‘Where I was in Parliament Square the police had decided to hold the line. And the only way you can hold the line like that is by hitting people. A lot of other people got injured and a lot of policemen got injured too.
‘It got to the point where mounted police were charging protestors and that was incredibly dangerous, people could have been killed.”
Malik said he was shielding himself from a baton strike with his hands when ‘it caught my glasses’and he lost his hat.
He said: ‘I think the copper was pissed off that I stopped him from hitting meâ€¦Their orders were to keep the line and they were going to do almost anything to do that.
‘I think the policeman was angry, he saw my hat was knocked off, saw the top of my head and went straight for itâ€¦I was in the least threatening pose I could have.”
According to The Guardian, a 20-year-old student had to undergo a three-hour operation to treat bleeding on the brain last night after being hit on the head by a police baton as he sought to leave the area around Westminster Abbey.