London’s Metropolitan Police force is facing renewed allegations of racism after a black firefighter claimed that he was Tasered by the very police officers he was trying to help.
Edric Kennedy-Macfoy, a 28-year-old firefighter, has brought a complaint against the force, claiming that when he tried to assist police officers when off-duty, he was abused, locked up, and Tasered because of his skin colour. This comes in the same week as Metropolitan police commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe declares himself an “implacable enemy” of racism; there are currently 12 investigations into incidents of alleged racism among the force ranks being investigated. The suspicious death of black bus driver Kester David is also being investigated, after officers failed to interview witnesses after more than a year, reported The Guardian.
What happened? When Kennedy-Macfoy – at the time, wearing a three-piece pinstriped suit, according to The Guardian, and driving a white Audi – saw a man throwing rocks at a police van early in the morning on a night in September, he stopped to pass on information to a line of police. He claims that the policemen behaved like “wild animals” – that they swore at him, dragged him from his car, attacked him, and shot him with a stun gun. Police had been clearing a party that had gotten violent and which they say was attended by black people; they claim that they thought Kennedy-Macfoy broke the cordon and was a member of the unruly group. The police then tried to prosecute him for obstructing them, but he was cleared.
Edric Kennedy-Macfoy’s statement is available in full here.
What do the police say? “I couldn’t say he was anything to do with the party. The party was all black. He was black. He had driven through the cordon. I had to do a quick risk assessment,” Inspector David Bergum, present on the night, told the magistrates court. He said the the situation had been “stressful.”
It doesn’t look good for the Met. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe, said Solicitor.info, now “has a chance to put his money where his mouth is.” The case of Kennnedy-Macfoy “certainly lends to the growing disdain of law enforcement.” The fact that he is a firefighter “only worsens the situation.” The case was handled badly – evidence even went missing.
There are other cases. Kester David’s brother, Roger David, told Hogan-Howe earlier this week: “I think your force needs to buck up its ideas and realise that black and ethnic people are here in Britain, we’re part of society and we request and demand the same kind of treatments as white people in Britain.”
What are people saying? Twitter comments ranged from Sicily Gianni, who offered her “Full Support” to Edric Kennedy-Macfoy, to Original Cindy, who said that he had “far too much muscle but he is beautiful.” Over on The Sun, a reader offered this: “Thats [sic] the British cops for you they are a law unto themselves and they always and I mean always get away with their actions.” On The Huffington Post, one user was a bit more measured: “firefighters tend to help police … and these officers should have used common decency and done at least a minimal investigation ‘who are you and what are you here for’ before pulling out the taser. There is no excuse for racially motivated police brutality.”
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