England

Metropolitan Police officers 'made racist comments'

PC David Hair (left) and PC Kevin Hughes
Image caption Both officers deny making racist comments

A Metropolitan Police officer told a colleague that black people look like monkeys and are more closely related to Neanderthals, a court has heard.

PC Kevin Hughes, 36, of Brentwood, Essex, is accused of making the comments while on patrol in Newham, east London, earlier this year.

His colleague, PC David Hair, 42, of Epping, Essex, is accused of telling a black woman colleague he thought she was "going home to cook bananas".

Both men deny making racist comments.

The officers, who were suspended from the Met on 5 April, are each charged with using threatening words or behaviour to cause alarm and distress and racially-aggravated harassment.

'Walked like monkey'

Westminster Magistrates' Court heard PC Hughes was with three colleagues in a patrol car in Green Street when he made comments in February.

Prosecutor Kate Wilkinson said that after seeing three black men he turned to his colleague, PC Costas Dakoutros, and said: "Look at them, they look like... monkeys."

Ms Wilkinson said: "He began to deliberate that they (black people) were closely related to chimpanzees and then said they were more closely related to Neanderthals."

Under questioning, PC Hughes said he was not being racist and was commenting on the way a man walked.

Ms Wilkinson said: "He said he didn't recall seeing three black males but said he saw someone with a certain gait who walked like a monkey and he had said to PC Dakoutros something about a monkey."

Meanwhile PC Hair is accused of making racist comments to his colleague, PC Julia Dacres, in March.

The court was told that after asking PC Dacres if she was going to do any overtime, he said: "I didn't know if you were going to go into a little rant and say you were going to go home and cook bananas."

PC Hair admitted making the comment but said it was not racist because he "could have named any food", the court was told.

Officers 'extremely low'

The prosecutor also said the pair, who met at police training school, regularly mocked Asian culture while working.

PC Dacres told the court that she would informally challenge their behaviour but did not report it.

She said: "I felt that if they (Hair and Hughes) have got these views and we were in our normal everyday work and we ran into something a bit dangerous or scary, would they just leave me to it?"

The officer added that following the alleged racist comment she suffered from lack of sleep and headaches, which a doctor said was probably caused by stress.

Giving evidence, PC Kirk Baker, who was present during both the alleged incidents, said PC Dacres and PC Dakoutros were "extremely low".

"To be fair both officers at that point were extremely low. Jules (PC Dacres) wanted to pack the job in as did PC Dakoutros, he had had enough," he added.

The case continues.

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