UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

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UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby Ptolom » Sat Mar 31, 2012 10:07 pm UTC

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/mar/30/police-racism-black-man-abuse
guardian.co.uk wrote:Police face racism scandal after black man records abuse

Crown Prosecution Service reviews decision not to charge officers heard boasting of strangling 21-year-old black man

Spoiler:
Scotland Yard is facing a racism scandal after a black man used his mobile phone to record police officers subjecting him to a tirade of abuse in which he was told: "The problem with you is you will always be a nigger".

The recording, obtained by the Guardian, was made by the 21-year-old after he was stopped in his car, arrested and placed in a police van the day after last summer's riots.

The man, from Beckton, east London, said he was made to feel "like an animal" by police. He has also accused one officer of kneeling on his chest and strangling him.

In the recording, a police officer can be heard admitting he strangled the man because he was "a cunt". Moments later, another officer – identified by investigators as PC Alex MacFarlane – subjects the man to a succession of racist insults and adds: "You'll always have black skin. Don't hide behind your colour."

The Independent Police Complaints Commission referred the case to the Crown Prosecution Service on the basis that three officers, including MacFarlane, may have committed criminal offences.

The CPS initially decided no charges should be brought against any of the police officers. However on Thursday, the service said it would review the file after lawyers for the man threatened to challenge the decision in a high court judicial review. MacFarlane has been suspended.

The inquiry began after the victim handed his mobile phone to a custody desk in Forest Gate police station and told officers he had been abused.

Earlier, he had been driving through Beckton with a friend when he was stopped by a van containing eight police officers from Newham borough. London's streets were flooded with police who had been drafted in to contain the rioting.

The officers arrested the man on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs and told him he was being taken to a police station to be searched. After being taken into the van, the man was also arrested for missing a previous magistrates court appearance. No further action is to be taken in relation to the suspected driving offence.

It was once inside the van and handcuffed that the man said he was assaulted by police. He described having his head pushed against the van window and said one officer placed his knees on his chest and began strangling him. "I couldn't breathe and I felt that I was going to die," he said.

The man said he decided to turn on the recording facility of his phone after MacFarlane allegedly made sexually explicit references about his mother and telling him he would be "dead in five years".

In the recording, the man sounds agitated; he raises his voice to complain about his treatment and in places insults the arresting officers. The verbal exchange lasts several minutes.

When the man tells an officer: "you tried to strangle me", the officer replies: "No, I did strangle you." The officer adds that he strangled him "'cos you're a cunt" and that the man had been "kicking out". In relation to the strangling, the officer says: "Stopped you though, didn't it?"

Minutes later MacFarlane, who is white, begins abusing the man. After a period of silence, he can be heard telling him: "The problem with you is you will always be a nigger, yeah? That's your problem, yeah."

The man reads out MacFarlane's badge number and complains that he had subjected him to racist comments: "I'll always be a nigger – that's what you said, yeah?"

MacFarlane replies: "You'll always have black skin colour. Don't hide behind your colour, yeah." He adds: "Be proud. Be proud of who you are, yeah. Don't hide behind your black skin."

Shortly before the recording ends, the man can be heard saying: "I get this all the time." He then tells the officer: "We'll definitely speak again about this … It's gonna go all the way, it's gonna go all the way – remember."

The man's lawyer, Michael Oswald, said: "By his own efforts our client has put before the CPS exceptionally strong evidence and we share his astonishment that the CPS have reached a decision that no police officer should be prosecuted on the basis of that evidence. We do welcome their agreement to review that decision and we now await the outcome of that review."

The CPS initially said charges should not be brought against MacFarlane because the remarks did not cause the man harassment, distress or alarm.

Grace Ononiwu, deputy chief crown prosecutor for 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 the evidence should be reconsidered and a fresh decision taken by a senior lawyer with no previous involvement in this matter."

Speaking to the Guardian, the 21-year-old was visibly shaken when recounting the ordeal. "It's hard to explain, but it makes you feel like a piece of shit – it makes you feel not even human," he said.

"I was glad that I had it on the recording. I knew that if I had it saved I could show that I had been abused.

"It's not right. We've just got different skin colour – underneath it we're all the same."

The Metropolitan police confirmed in a statement that it received a complaint on 11 August about alleged "racial" remarks and oppressive conduct.

"These are serious allegations; any use of racist language or excessive use of force is not acceptable."

The force said it had referred the case to the IPCC and that one officer had been suspended.

MacFarlane's solicitor, Colin Reynolds, said: "The officer has been the subject of an investigation, has co-operated in that and been advised he is not to be the subject of criminal proceedings."

Estelle du Boulay, director of the Newham Monitoring Project, said: "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."

She compared the incident to the case of Liam Stacey, a student who was jailed for 56 days for posting offensive comments on Twitter after the on-pitch collapse of the Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba.

On Friday Swansea crown court rejected an appeal from Stacey, who used racist terms against other Twitter users.

When the student was sentenced in a magistrates court on Tuesday a senior lawyer at the CPS, Jim Brisbane, said: "Racist language is inappropriate in any setting and through any media. We hope this case will serve as a warning to anyone who may think that comments made online are somehow beyond the law."


I know incidently like this must happen from time to time, but it's really concerning to see that the possibility of a reprisal was dismissed so quickly, even when strong evidence was provided.
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Re: UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby Nordic Einar » Sun Apr 01, 2012 2:45 am UTC

Ptolom wrote:http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/mar/30/police-racism-black-man-abuse
guardian.co.uk wrote:Police face racism scandal after black man records abuse

Crown Prosecution Service reviews decision not to charge officers heard boasting of strangling 21-year-old black man

Spoiler:
Scotland Yard is facing a racism scandal after a black man used his mobile phone to record police officers subjecting him to a tirade of abuse in which he was told: "The problem with you is you will always be a nigger".

The recording, obtained by the Guardian, was made by the 21-year-old after he was stopped in his car, arrested and placed in a police van the day after last summer's riots.

The man, from Beckton, east London, said he was made to feel "like an animal" by police. He has also accused one officer of kneeling on his chest and strangling him.

In the recording, a police officer can be heard admitting he strangled the man because he was "a cunt". Moments later, another officer – identified by investigators as PC Alex MacFarlane – subjects the man to a succession of racist insults and adds: "You'll always have black skin. Don't hide behind your colour."

The Independent Police Complaints Commission referred the case to the Crown Prosecution Service on the basis that three officers, including MacFarlane, may have committed criminal offences.

The CPS initially decided no charges should be brought against any of the police officers. However on Thursday, the service said it would review the file after lawyers for the man threatened to challenge the decision in a high court judicial review. MacFarlane has been suspended.

The inquiry began after the victim handed his mobile phone to a custody desk in Forest Gate police station and told officers he had been abused.

Earlier, he had been driving through Beckton with a friend when he was stopped by a van containing eight police officers from Newham borough. London's streets were flooded with police who had been drafted in to contain the rioting.

The officers arrested the man on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs and told him he was being taken to a police station to be searched. After being taken into the van, the man was also arrested for missing a previous magistrates court appearance. No further action is to be taken in relation to the suspected driving offence.

It was once inside the van and handcuffed that the man said he was assaulted by police. He described having his head pushed against the van window and said one officer placed his knees on his chest and began strangling him. "I couldn't breathe and I felt that I was going to die," he said.

The man said he decided to turn on the recording facility of his phone after MacFarlane allegedly made sexually explicit references about his mother and telling him he would be "dead in five years".

In the recording, the man sounds agitated; he raises his voice to complain about his treatment and in places insults the arresting officers. The verbal exchange lasts several minutes.

When the man tells an officer: "you tried to strangle me", the officer replies: "No, I did strangle you." The officer adds that he strangled him "'cos you're a cunt" and that the man had been "kicking out". In relation to the strangling, the officer says: "Stopped you though, didn't it?"

Minutes later MacFarlane, who is white, begins abusing the man. After a period of silence, he can be heard telling him: "The problem with you is you will always be a nigger, yeah? That's your problem, yeah."

The man reads out MacFarlane's badge number and complains that he had subjected him to racist comments: "I'll always be a nigger – that's what you said, yeah?"

MacFarlane replies: "You'll always have black skin colour. Don't hide behind your colour, yeah." He adds: "Be proud. Be proud of who you are, yeah. Don't hide behind your black skin."

Shortly before the recording ends, the man can be heard saying: "I get this all the time." He then tells the officer: "We'll definitely speak again about this … It's gonna go all the way, it's gonna go all the way – remember."

The man's lawyer, Michael Oswald, said: "By his own efforts our client has put before the CPS exceptionally strong evidence and we share his astonishment that the CPS have reached a decision that no police officer should be prosecuted on the basis of that evidence. We do welcome their agreement to review that decision and we now await the outcome of that review."

The CPS initially said charges should not be brought against MacFarlane because the remarks did not cause the man harassment, distress or alarm.

Grace Ononiwu, deputy chief crown prosecutor for 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 the evidence should be reconsidered and a fresh decision taken by a senior lawyer with no previous involvement in this matter."

Speaking to the Guardian, the 21-year-old was visibly shaken when recounting the ordeal. "It's hard to explain, but it makes you feel like a piece of shit – it makes you feel not even human," he said.

"I was glad that I had it on the recording. I knew that if I had it saved I could show that I had been abused.

"It's not right. We've just got different skin colour – underneath it we're all the same."

The Metropolitan police confirmed in a statement that it received a complaint on 11 August about alleged "racial" remarks and oppressive conduct.

"These are serious allegations; any use of racist language or excessive use of force is not acceptable."

The force said it had referred the case to the IPCC and that one officer had been suspended.

MacFarlane's solicitor, Colin Reynolds, said: "The officer has been the subject of an investigation, has co-operated in that and been advised he is not to be the subject of criminal proceedings."

Estelle du Boulay, director of the Newham Monitoring Project, said: "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."

She compared the incident to the case of Liam Stacey, a student who was jailed for 56 days for posting offensive comments on Twitter after the on-pitch collapse of the Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba.

On Friday Swansea crown court rejected an appeal from Stacey, who used racist terms against other Twitter users.

When the student was sentenced in a magistrates court on Tuesday a senior lawyer at the CPS, Jim Brisbane, said: "Racist language is inappropriate in any setting and through any media. We hope this case will serve as a warning to anyone who may think that comments made online are somehow beyond the law."


I know incidently like this must happen from time to time, but it's really concerning to see that the possibility of a reprisal was dismissed so quickly, even when strong evidence was provided.


Whenever I see people express sentiments like that I'm struck by the sudden revelation that we move in completely different communities, myself and most others.

This kind of shit is like... the everyday lived experience of most of my friends and community groups.
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Re: UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby Gelsamel » Sun Apr 01, 2012 2:58 am UTC

Your titles makes it sound like the UK police recorded a detaintee who was racially abusing.
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Re: UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby addams » Sun Apr 01, 2012 3:58 pm UTC

Another example of bad manners.
Bad manners should not be tolerated.
There had GOT to be a better way.

It is reassuring that the bullies are being identified and stopped. It is better for the civil lives of all people.

This could not have happened in the US. That young man would not have had a cell phone to use. Cell phones, cameras, all that stuff is taken away or destroyed before it can be used.

When the US Police stop a person it is a dangerous situation. Three warnings and five bullets later; Well... The dead do not complain, much.

It seems, the British Police, may need some continuing education from the Police of the US. It is simple to destroy means of recording evidence. What? Did this Copper make a procedural error by leaving an electronic device with a person that was in custody?

I have never seen an electronic device left with persons taken into custody. Have you?

That recording is a rare find. owwh. What does it say? What do those Police people have to say? So, interesting. What do the Police think? It is grand fun to listen to Police and Agents. What they think they are doing is very interesting.

I did that kind of thing. I like it. I like to stand with security. Listen to the small talk. Ask a philosophical question. A second question, if, the first was tolerated well. Have an out of body experience or two.

Ya' know. Some people like roller coasters. I like listening for the moment that an unapologetic narcissus clicks over and exposes himself as a sociopath. As scary as a roller coaster without all the screaming.

I like hanging out with security. Umm. They seem to not like my company, anymore. So, sad for me.
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Re: UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby sigsfried » Sun Apr 01, 2012 9:48 pm UTC

Depressingly not at all surprising. Stephen Lawrence wasn't that long ago after all.
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Re: UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby Plasma Man » Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:53 pm UTC

Ordinary person makes a racist tweet and gets sent to jail.

Police racially abuse someone and the Crown Prosecution Service decides to ignore it (until it gets into the papers, of course).

I am sick to death of the police seeming to be above the law. If anything, they should be held to a higher standard than ordinary people, considering the amount of power that they have and that their job is to know and enforce the law
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Re: UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby Dream » Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:02 pm UTC

Plasma Man wrote:Ordinary person makes a racist tweet and gets sent to jail.

Police racially abuse someone and the Crown Prosecution Service decides to ignore it (until it gets into the papers, of course).

That's a trite comparison that I'm a bit sick of hearing. If the police broadcast their racism, it would be much higher profile news, and you can bet if it was on Twitter it would be a massive scandal.

And yes, society in general reacts faster and with more resolve when a star of the national sport has a highly public collapse, and some scumbag makes racist fun of it, than they do when someone makes a private allegation of racism against an individual public servant. That's human nature. The outpouring of feeling for Fabrice Muamba was very real and very visceral. It's to be applauded that authorities respond to it with a clampdown on anyone taking advantage of it to victimise black Britons.

Plasma Man wrote:I am sick to death of the police seeming to be above the law.

Me too, but that doesn't make a comparison with the Tweeter relevant in any way.
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Re: UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby Ptolom » Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:26 pm UTC

Nordic Einar wrote:Whenever I see people express sentiments like that I'm struck by the sudden revelation that we move in completely different communities, myself and most others.

This kind of shit is like... the everyday lived experience of most of my friends and community groups.

I live a very sheltered life, it's quite true. Though part of the reason I'm shocked when I hear about encounters is the city I live in, which has been very ethnically diverse for a long time and has no real history of any racial conflict.
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Re: UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby Nordic Einar » Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:33 pm UTC

Ptolom wrote:
Nordic Einar wrote:Whenever I see people express sentiments like that I'm struck by the sudden revelation that we move in completely different communities, myself and most others.

This kind of shit is like... the everyday lived experience of most of my friends and community groups.

I live a very sheltered life, it's quite true. Though part of the reason I'm shocked when I hear about encounters is the city I live in, which has been very ethnically diverse for a long time and has no real history of any racial conflict.


Which city is this, exactly?

*EDIT* - If it's Leicester, three seconds on google claims that in the 70's Leicester was considered "the most racist city in the UK" and I've got google hits of news articles about racial violence from '08, '11 and '12. So, yeah...
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Re: UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby Dream » Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:49 pm UTC

Ptolom was obviously born in 1993, and has Fat Tony to thank for the progressive culture they've lived all their life in.
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Re: UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby Ptolom » Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:56 pm UTC

Nordic Einar wrote:
Ptolom wrote:
Nordic Einar wrote:Whenever I see people express sentiments like that I'm struck by the sudden revelation that we move in completely different communities, myself and most others.

This kind of shit is like... the everyday lived experience of most of my friends and community groups.

I live a very sheltered life, it's quite true. Though part of the reason I'm shocked when I hear about encounters is the city I live in, which has been very ethnically diverse for a long time and has no real history of any racial conflict.


Which city is this, exactly?

*EDIT* - If it's Leicester, three seconds on google claims that in the 70's Leicester was considered "the most racist city in the UK" and I've got google hits of news articles about racial violence from '08, '11 and '12. So, yeah...

Would that be from this BBC article entitled Leicester's Lesson in Racial Harmony? I should have said no recent history since I'm not really aware of what happened locally in the 70's. There was the English Defence League march, but that is more a national than a local phenomenon. It may not be perfect here but there simply isn't the same level of institutional racism present in some places.
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Re: UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby Dream » Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:29 pm UTC

Ptolom wrote:It may not be perfect here but there simply isn't the same level of institutional racism present in some places.

How do you know that? Do you keep tabs on levels of mortgage refusals for Carribean vs white populations, or rates of call backs for job applications by people with Middle Eastern surnames? Institutional racism is among the hardest things to quantify without in depth study. Is there something that makes Leicester exceptional? If not, it very likely has institutional racism.
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Re: UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby Ptolom » Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:49 pm UTC

I am not saying there is no institutional racism at all here, I'm just pointing out that it is widely regarded as a relatively good place for racial harmony. There isn't even a white British majority here anymore, though I realise that doesn't directly imply that racism is less of an issue.
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Re: UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby psyck0 » Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:56 am UTC

Uhhhh... preliminary from the latest census seems to indicate that the UK as a whole is over 80% white british
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Re: UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby dubsola » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:28 am UTC

Indeed, but the cities of the UK tend to be much more diverse than the non-cities.
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Re: UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby addams » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:53 am UTC

Dream wrote:Ptolom was obviously born in 1993, and has Fat Tony to thank for the progressive culture they've lived all their life in.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fat_Tony

Off Topic:

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Re: UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby Kulantan » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:19 am UTC

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Re: UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby Ptolom » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:19 am UTC

psyck0 wrote:Uhhhh... preliminary from the latest census seems to indicate that the UK as a whole is over 80% white british

Yeah, I meant just in this city, not the UK as a whole.
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Re: UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby addams » Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:23 pm UTC

Kulantan wrote:Wrong Fat Tony.

Right. Different Fat Tony.
Thank you.

I have seen UK Police measure black people with a different standard than the one used to measure white people inside the same group.
I was so impressed with the calm and dignity of that black man and his companions. I kept my mouth shut and watched.

That man was very cool. I had spent two or three hours talking to him. His was an interesting story. He was doing fine.

The Police harassment was tolerable. It is not nice. Humans being what they are. Not nice is the best we get, sometimes.

Fat Tony is at most 19 years old. There is a great deal that he does not know. There is a great deal that he may never need to know. Good for Fat Tony and all the wide eyed innocents.
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Re: UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby Plasma Man » Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:10 pm UTC

Dream, which do you consider to be more serious: 1) Racist abuse posted on the internet, where the person spouting the abuse has no power or direct contact with the person they are abusing.
2) Racist abuse from figures of authority, in a situation where they have physical power, legal power and the threat of further sanctions over the person they are abusing.

The second one is a hell of a lot more serious. The guy involved put himself at risk by getting evidence through recording it, yet the Crown Prosecution Service prosecutes the first one, not the second. That's fucked up. That's also why the comparison with the tweeter is relevant, because it shows that there is much more reluctance to prosecute the police for racist abuse than there is to prosecute some random idiot on the internet. This contributes to racism in the police and the perception of them as being above the law.
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Re: UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby Dream » Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:17 pm UTC

Plasma Man wrote:1) Racist abuse posted on the internet, where the person spouting the abuse has no power or direct contact with the person they are abusing.

What's Twitter if not direct contact with people, via hashtags and searches? You don't think Muamba and his loved ones were searching his name on Twitter in the days that tweet was posted? You don't think hundreds of thousands of aspiring black footballers were? That case had more than enough justification for a swift and severe response all by itself. Saying "Oh, yeah, but they go after a guy for just tweeting something" minimises that impact, and pretends that a serious crime hasn't been committed.

So why are you asking me which is worse? My point is that they're both very, very bad. Anyone saying there's a scandal in the speed with which they responded to one vs the other is inherently suggesting that the faster response was for a crime that didn't merit it, and the slower was for one that did. That simply isn't the case.
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Re: UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby Ormurinn » Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:51 pm UTC

I've been a long-time lurker, felt I had to chime in here.

That case had more than enough justification for a swift and severe response all by itself. Saying "Oh, yeah, but they go after a guy for just tweeting something" minimises that impact, and pretends that a serious crime hasn't been committed.


That case had no moral justification whatsoever. We in the U.K might not be legally garuanteed the right to free speech - but that doesn't make it any less of a right. Twitter have the right not to host any speech they want, but a custodial sentence for what amounts to being silly on the internet is obscene. The man in question is now going to be deprived of his freedom for two months, and will come out freshly furnished with a criminal record, all for saying some words the establishment has deemed "Bad words."
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Re: UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby Princess Marzipan » Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:16 pm UTC

Dream wrote:
Plasma Man wrote:1) Racist abuse posted on the internet, where the person spouting the abuse has no power or direct contact with the person they are abusing.

What's Twitter if not direct contact with people, via hashtags and searches?
Words on the Internet.

And you focus on the "direct contact" aspect here, ignoring that it likely means physical contact or in-person interaction, and the fact that some random Twitter user has no legal authority over whomever he's throwing slurs at.

Anyone saying there's a scandal in the speed with which they responded to one vs the other is inherently suggesting that the faster response was for a crime that didn't merit it, and the slower was for one that did
Holding up the Twitter incident as an example of how quickly racial matters can be sentenced does not require assuming it's a lesser crime than the cops'. I agree that it is (cops abusing their authority to commit a crime is always worse in my eyes than a civilian committing the same crime), but that doesn't matter. This shows that the state has less interest in prosecuting cops for using their authority to racially abuse a detainee than it does in prosecuting Twitter users for their racist comments. Watch what you say, and if you don't like it, become a cop.
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Re: UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby Dream » Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:31 pm UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:And you focus on the "direct contact" aspect here, ignoring that it likely means physical contact or in-person interaction, and the fact that some random Twitter user has no legal authority over whomever he's throwing slurs at.

It's different, yes. Which lends weight to my contention that it is in no way relevant to the police racism case.

Princess Marzipan wrote:This shows that the state has less interest in prosecuting cops for using their authority to racially abuse a detainee than it does in prosecuting Twitter users for their racist comments.

Not really. What it shows is that the Twitter case was dealt with more quickly. That could be (likely is) because it is a very simple, straightforward situation, and a much lesser offence, and so is processed in a very short space of time. I believe there was also a guilty plea, and while that isn't proof that the defendant never contested the case, it is in agreement with an assumption that the defendant has been entirely cooperative and repentant from the off. That moves a case very quickly. As such, the CPS could be very interested in police abuse and racism, and still have the Twitter racism prosecuted much faster than the police.

They're different, and different enough that cries of "oh when it's not police it's easy to prosecute" are just not useful in this debate.
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Re: UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby Princess Marzipan » Thu Apr 05, 2012 3:34 am UTC

Dream wrote:They're different, and different enough that cries of "oh when it's not police it's easy to prosecute" are just not useful in this debate.
I rather think they're pretty central to the discussion.
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Re: UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby Dream » Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:51 am UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:
Dream wrote:They're different, and different enough that cries of "oh when it's not police it's easy to prosecute" are just not useful in this debate.
I rather think they're pretty central to the discussion.

This edge case in particular is not the way to make that point. It's too far removed from the police case. Again, the crime "scene" was highly public, the defendant accepted their guilt from the off, and the media attention for the victim ensured resolve on the part of the judiciary. It's obvious why it was dealt with quickly and severely, and "the defendant wasn't a cop" isn't the reason.
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Re: UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby Plasma Man » Thu Apr 05, 2012 1:47 pm UTC

Dream wrote:As such, the CPS could be very interested in police abuse and racism, and still have the Twitter racism prosecuted much faster than the police.

They're different, and different enough that cries of "oh when it's not police it's easy to prosecute" are just not useful in this debate.

You're completely ignoring the part where the CPS decided not to prosecute the police, only changing their mind when the story got into the newpaper. It's not about the speed of prosecution, it's about whether a prosecution happens at all.
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Re: UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby Dream » Thu Apr 05, 2012 1:59 pm UTC

Plasma Man wrote:You're completely ignoring the part where the CPS decided not to prosecute the police

No, you're completely ignoring the part where I never suggested that the CPS conduct over he police case was appropriate. I only suggested that as a counterexample, the Twitter case is not a useful contrast. Few cases are as straightforward as it was, and as simple to prosecute. Find a case of police abuse that was similarly simple and I would bet it was similarly dealt with.
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Re: UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby Plasma Man » Thu Apr 05, 2012 2:50 pm UTC

Twitter case: Racist abuse that is on record and where it is known who did it from Twitter records.
Police case: Racist abuse that is on record and where it is known who did it from police records, plus there are additional witnesses that were on the scene when it happened.

What makes the police case more complicated? We're not talking a trial here (where a guilty plea would make a difference), we're talking about making the decision to prosecute.
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Re: UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby Ptolom » Thu Apr 05, 2012 3:38 pm UTC

Dream wrote:
Plasma Man wrote:You're completely ignoring the part where the CPS decided not to prosecute the police

No, you're completely ignoring the part where I never suggested that the CPS conduct over he police case was appropriate. I only suggested that as a counterexample, the Twitter case is not a useful contrast. Few cases are as straightforward as it was, and as simple to prosecute. Find a case of police abuse that was similarly simple and I would bet it was similarly dealt with.

It any case, the decision as to whether a case is brought to trial isn't primarily based on how straightforward it is. Severity of the offence and reasonable suspicion of guilt are more important. And I don't know how you can claim that abuse written by a stranger miles away who you've never even met is as serious as abuse combined with violence when the victim is restrained and be legally in the custody of the perpetrator.
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Re: UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby Dream » Thu Apr 05, 2012 5:50 pm UTC

Plasma Man wrote: We're not talking a trial here (where a guilty plea would make a difference), we're talking about making the decision to prosecute.

The decision to prosecute is made based on the likelihood of securing a conviction. The tweet was as good as incontrovertible evidence, and the admission of guilt absolutely ensured a conviction. The crime itself was uncomplicated. It was textbook, definition open and shut. The police case was not nearly as simple, and just because a recording existed doesn't make it so. Nor do records of who was on duty when, or who made arrests, nor the language used. The very situation, of arrests, reasonable force vs. violence, multiple suspects, motive to falsify the allegations, police involvement, it's the polar opposite of a simple case. That doesn't mean it should not be prosecuted, but it will take a lot longer than the tweet case.

Ptolom wrote:Severity of the offence and reasonable suspicion of guilt are more important.

Neither is as important as the ability to secure a conviction. Were reasonable suspicion and severity of offence important, Christopher Jeffries would have stood trial (and hopefully been acquitted) of the murder of Joanna Yeates. But the CPS thankfully doesn't prosecute every suspicion and every serious allegation. It requires a case strong enough to withstand the judicial process and be more compelling than the equally weighted defence case.
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Re: UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby Princess Marzipan » Thu Apr 05, 2012 6:32 pm UTC

Yeah, police involvement complicates it. That's the problem, because it really shouldn't.
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Re: UK Police recorded racially abusing detainee

Postby addams » Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:55 am UTC

Ptolom wrote:
Dream wrote:
Plasma Man wrote:You're completely ignoring the part where the CPS decided not to prosecute the police

No, you're completely ignoring the part where I never suggested that the CPS conduct over he police case was appropriate. I only suggested that as a counterexample, the Twitter case is not a useful contrast. Few cases are as straightforward as it was, and as simple to prosecute. Find a case of police abuse that was similarly simple and I would bet it was similarly dealt with.

It any case, the decision as to whether a case is brought to trial isn't primarily based on how straightforward it is. Severity of the offence and reasonable suspicion of guilt are more important. And I don't know how you can claim that abuse written by a stranger miles away who you've never even met is as serious as abuse combined with violence when the victim is restrained and be legally in the custody of the perpetrator.


This is the part I do not 'get'. How does it happen that a person, "IN CUSTODY" has a device for recording anything?

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