U.K. Police Racism and Abuse Caught on Tape

Officers are heard admitting to abusing a 21-year-old man who was never charged with a crime.

Posted: 04/02/2012 11:39 AM EDT

Last summer, despite claims from members of London’s Black community that the hostility behind the 2011 riots were linked to anger over increased police surveillance, racial profiling and abuse, the mainstream media and its pundits passed off the violence as the misguided rabble rousing of immoral youth.


Now, a recording of an arrest dating back from the day after the riots, when London’s streets were still swarmed with on-edge police officers, has forced police treatment of Blacks back into the national spotlight.


Last summer, a 21-year-old Black man came forward with the cellphone recording of his arrest, where officers can be heard admitting abusing the man and shouting slurs.


The man was allegedly driving through the town of Beckton with a friend when he was stopped by a van containing eight police officers and accused of driving under the influence of drugs.


In the recording, after one officer admits to strangling the man, the officers take turns hurling racial epithets at the young man with one saying, "The problem with you is you will always be a n-----r".


After the man was taken into custody, he was never charged for anything related to the stop.


Now, one year later, prosecutors have agreed to take a closer look into the ordeal in efforts to see whether criminal charges can be brought against the officers after the man’s lawyers threatened to sue the agency responsible for investigating. Initially, the agency said charges should not be brought against any of the officers involved because their comments “did not cause the man harassment, distress or alarm.”


"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,” said Estelle du Boulay, director of anti-harassment group Newham Monitoring Project, told the Guardian.


London’s 2011 riots erupted across the city after 29-year-old Mark Duggan was shot by police during a traffic stop, angering communities who have felt crushed under the pressure of racial profiling and police abuses. Duggan’s case is still awaiting an official and complete inquest following a year of delays.


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(Photo: PA PHOTOS/Landov)

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