APRIL 15 2009 11:11h
The footage, aired on YouTube, showed a woman protester taunting an officer, who appeared to retaliate by striking her across the face.
Britain's Metropolitan Police suspended a sergeant on Wednesday after video footage showed him lashing out at a woman in a demonstration during the G20 summit in London.
The footage, aired on the website YouTube, showed a protester taunting an officer, who appeared to retaliate by striking her across the face with his hand.
It is the second incidence of apparent police violence during the G20 summit to be caught on camera and prompted criticism of the way police operated during protests when global leaders met at the start of April.
One man died during the anti-capitalist demonstrations.
Amid criticism from politicians and civil rights groups, London's police chief has ordered a review of public order policing tactics, especially the use of "kettling" where protesters are herded by officers into a confined space.
"I want to be reassured that the use of this tactic remains appropriate and proportionate," Paul Stephenson said.
"Separately, I have already expressed my concern that the video footage of some police actions are clearly disturbing and should be thoroughly investigated."
He said police footage would also be scrutinised to check if there had been other incidents involving individual officers.
The latest film to emerge, filmed close to the Bank of England on April 2 during the London summit of the Group of 20 large economies, appeared to show an officer drawing his baton and hitting the woman on the legs after he had struck her face.
Police said the officer was a sergeant in the Territorial Support Group, a police team trained to deal with public order events and potential violence, and described the video as showing a "police officer using force against a protester".
Shami Chakrabarti, director of the civil rights campaign group Liberty, said it was difficult to understand what could justify "a gargantuan police officer assaulting a small woman for having the audacity to complain.
Highly-trained professionals are supposed to be better at defusing the situation," she said.
The victim's sister, Natalie Thompson, told London's Evening Standard newspaper she had been too afraid to come forward until the footage came to light late on Tuesday. "My sister was terrified after the attack and very traumatised," she said.
London's police force referred the incident to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), a watchdog already probing the death of a man at the G20 protests.
Last week a police officer was suspended pending further investigation after being caught on camera pushing newspaper seller Ian Tomlinson to the ground. Tomlinson, 47, died of a heart attack after collapsing later in a nearby street.
He was not involved in the demonstrations but was on his way home at the time. Footage from Channel 4 television also appeared to show an officer striking him with a baton in the moments before he was pushed.
British lawmaker Keith Vaz, chairman of parliament's home affairs select committee, said the police behaviour shown was unacceptable, but did not reflect a systemic problem.
"There needs to be an investigation ... because it is not acceptable behaviour to go around slapping people across the face and then taking out your baton and beating them on the legs," he told Sky television. (