London’s police are facing yet another racism scandal after a black man used his mobile phone to secretly record a tirade of racist abuse.
The man arrested during last summer’s riots recorded abuse including an officer telling him “the problem with you is you will always be a n*****”.
Listen (warning of strong language):
The man told The Guardian newspaper that he was made to feel “like an animal” by police, accusing them of kneeling on his chest and strangling him.
“I couldn’t breathe and I felt that I was going to die,” he said.
An officer can be heard on the audio saying that he strangled him “‘cos you’re a c**t.” The Guardian says that the man was ‘visibly shaking’ as he recounted to them his ordeal.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission referred the case to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), but the CPS decided not to bring any charges against three officers. But following the release of the audio, the CPS said they would review the case and one officer was suspended. The man was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs, but the charge was later dismissed.
Estelle du Boulay, director of the the anti-racist community group Newham Monitoring Project, told The Guardian:
“Sadly, the shocking treatment of this young man at the hands of police officers – both the physical brutality he describes and the racial abuse he claims he suffered – are by no means unusual; it compares to other reports we have received. What makes this case different is the victim had the foresight and courage to turn on a recording device on his mobile phone.”
London’s police have made significant efforts to tackle institutional racism. The recent conviction of two men for the infamous racially motivated murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence 18 years ago has universally been seen as marking a turning point in the police’s treatment of people of color.
However, last year’s riots were partly caused by problems with distrust and antipathy towards police, one study shows.
The National Black Police Association said that this latest case undermines efforts to build and maintain trust and confidence of communities grappling with the impact of serious violent crime and escalating hate crimes. It also raised questions about fairness for young black men in the criminal justice system, they said.
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