Man demands justice after 'racial abuse' from police
- 31 March 2012
- From the section London
A man arrested in the week of the London riots has described how he was subjected to racial abuse, which he says he recorded on his mobile phone.
The 21-year-old man, who has not been identified, told journalists the police used racial epithets and said his mother was a "whore".
He said he was "devastated" and he wants "justice".
A policeman has now been suspended as the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) reassesses the man's complaint.
An excerpt of the recording, which wasobtained by The Guardian newspaper, contains racist language.
The incident occurred in Beckton, east London, on 11 August - during the week of the riots - when the man was arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence of drugs but no charges were brought against him.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission initially investigated the officer and two others, and a file was passed to the CPS.
The CPS confirmed earlier that having originally decided not to press charges against the officer, it would be assessing the case again.
Neither of the other two police officers is currently suspended. One has been placed on restricted duties on an unrelated matter while the other remains on full duties.
The man told journalists: "I felt humiliated. It was the worst experience of my life. Words cannot describe how it feels to have all them people against you and you can't do nothing."
He claimed police said "sexual stuff" about his mother and used foul and racist language towards him while he sat in the back of a police van on 11 August last year.
"Hearing that from a police officer, it just came out of nowhere. They were saying I'm going to die soon. They used the horriblest words," he added.
The chairman of the home affairs select committee, Keith Vaz MP, told the BBC there should be "zero tolerance" of racist attitudes and added: "I hope we have learned the lessons of the Stephen Lawrence case. But clearly there are individual officers who are behaving in this way.
"This case needs to be dealt with quickly to retain the public's confidence."
Mr Vaz, Labour MP for Leicester East, said: "I'm very surprised that the CPS did not consider that charges should be brought."
He said he had spoken to the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Bernard Hogan-Howe, on Saturday night and he had assured him the force took this case very seriously.
Grace Ononiwu, deputy chief crown prosecutor for the CPS London, said: "Lawyers for the complainant have written to the CPS and asked us to review our decision.
"I have considered the matter personally and directed that all of the evidence should be reconsidered and a fresh decision taken by a senior lawyer with no previous involvement in this matter.
"That process will be completed as soon as possible," she added.
A Scotland Yard spokesman confirmed that a complaint had been received.
Superintendent Leroy Logan, the chairman of the Black Police Association, said: "Officers who are subject to inquiries and investigations need to be suspended and it's quite clear from the footage that's been played that the officer needs to be looked at again.
"And especially if you bear in mind that there was a young man given 56 days in prison because of his tweeting racist comments, and I think then CPS needs to be consistent in what they're doing, and it's only right that a police officer needs to be reviewed in these circumstances."
Channel 4 News reporter Simon Israel, who interviewed the young man, tweeted: "Alleged victim of police racism tells it's devastated his life. He suffers flashbacks and badly wants justice."
The Scotland Yard spokesman said: "These are serious allegations; any use of racist language or excessive use of force is not acceptable.
"The MPS's Directorate of Professional Standards referred this case to the IPCC who are independently investigating.
"Following the alleged incident, three officers were the subject of a misconduct investigation.
"One of the officers has been suspended in relation to this matter pending the result of the IPCC investigation.
"One of the officers has been placed on restricted duties on an unrelated matter and another remains on full duties."