The sister of a man who died while being mocked by officers in 1998 says black people will only face more police brutality in Britain if no action is taken to penalise officers secretly recorded racially insulting a man in their custody.
Speaking after the recording became public, Janet Alder, whose brother, Christopher, died in a Hull police station while officers were reportedly heard making monkey noises, told reporters: “It’s going to get worse, because there isn’t standards for the police to adhere to. They should lead by example. We’re going to get more brutality and it will get a lot more toxic otherwise.”
Alder, who recently got compensation from the Government for her treatment during the investigation into her brother’s death, added: “I would definitely pursue this case and it needs to be in the public domain.”
Mauro Demetrio, a Black man who was arrested by officers on August 11 last year, made the secret mobile phone recordings.
In a transcript of the recordings, published by a U.K. newspaper, officers allegedly spew a long list of expletives, with one officer calling the 21-year-old man, from Beckton in east London, a “c*nt” and strangling him.
A police officer was also heard on the recording saying: ‘The problem with you is, you will always be a “n-word”, yeah? That’s your problem, yeah.’
The recording was made public late last week after Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), initially decided not to charge an officer involved, who was named by Guardian sources as PC Alex MacFarlane.
The case has resulted in renewed anger over the treatment of Black communities by police, with one anti-death in custody campaigner calling for Black people to record all their dealings with the police.
Merlin Emmanuel, whose uncle, reggae singer Smiley Culture, died under controversial circumstances during a police raid last March, advised: “This a tactic that many of our young people should employ in and around the many communities in England. And wherever possible, we should try to use them by default when being stopped, just in case anything should happen.”
Ken Hinds, chair of Haringey Stop and Search monitoring group, said action should go further.
He said there should be a review of how the Metropolitan Police deal with members of Black communities.
“I personally think there is something wrong with police training… and their behaviour is contaminating. The police think they can talk to people however they feel and they won’t be held to account… The police should be brought to answer for this case and many others before it,” said Hinds, a youth charity worker and conflict resolution specialist.
Ken Fero, a spokesperson from United Families and Friends, a coalition of campaigners and death in custody families who have long called for cameras to be placed in the back of police vans, commented: “It’s no surprise to us that this story has emerged in the press. It’s a common experience for people to be victims of hate and losing loved ones in the custody of the police. It’s unacceptable that this man has been subjected to such humiliation.”
The lawyer representing 21-year-old Demetrio has since threatened to take the case to the High Court for a judicial review, prompting the CPS to announce a review of evidence.
The Met Police said in a statement that the MPS’ directorate of professional standards referred this case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which is independently investigating.
‘Following the alleged incident, three officers were the subject of a gross misconduct investigation by the IPCC. One of the officers [A] was immediately suspended in relation to this matter pending the result of the IPCC investigation.
‘One of the officers [B] has been placed on restricted duties on an unrelated matter and another [C] remains on full duties. The MPS will take robust action once the IPCC has concluded its investigation and the CPS has concluded its review.’
On Tuesday (April 3), Met Police commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe issued a stern warning to all staff. “I will not stand for any racism or racists in the Met,” he said.