The trial of PC Alex MacFarlane for a racially aggravated offence of intending to cause harassment, alarm or distress and using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour against a young Black man whom he wrongfully arrested began today.
Twenty-one year old Mauro Demetrio managed to covertly record a number of Metropolitan Police officers from Forest Gate police station during his arrest on suspicion of driving whilst under the influence of drugs last Summer. Tests proved negative, and Demetrio – who claimed to have been both verbally and physically assaulted in racially-charged circumstances – was not charged with any offence. He also alleged that another officer was involved in the assault of a fifteen year old boy at the station.
Guardian journalist Peter Walker is covering the trial, and tweeting from Southwark Crown Court. I have compiled all his tweets into chronological order. Please note that racially-charged language is used. Walker’s report of the first day of the trial is here.
PC Alex MacFarlane trial, day one: 15 October 2012
- I’m at Southwark crown court for trial of Met PC accused of racially abusing a man following London riots last yea
- PC Alex MacFarlane denies a racially aggravated public order offence. I’ll tweet from court as & when I can
- A PC racially abused young black man in back of police van during last August’s riots, court told
- PC Alex MacFarlane abused Mauro Demetrio, 21, en route to police station, Southwark crown court told
- PC said: “The problem with you is that you’ll always be a nigger,” court told. Exchange was recorded on Demetrio’s phone
- Duncan Atkinson, prosecuting, said case was not whether MacFarlane said words or if they distressed Demetrio, but if distress & offence …
- Atkinson: words meant to imply to Demetrio he was “inferior… because of the colour of his skin”.
- PC MacFarlane argued Demetrio used word ‘nigger’ earlier & he was trying to engage him in calming chat, but failed
- Court told Demetrio was earlier called a “scumbag” and “cunt” by other officers in back of police van.
- Demetrio alleged he was assaulted and he was thus himself loud and abusive, calling MacFarlane old & ugly, court told
- Prosecution: word “should never be used by a serving police officer, whatever the crcumstances”.
- In interview MaxFarlane said he was “trying to defuse the situation” by engaging Demetrio in chat
- He said, court told: “Sadly, it ended up in a bit of a slanging match between us.”
- MacFarlane’s argument was he was trying to explain to Demetrio that there was no racial motive in arresting him
- He said this was showed by him telling Demetrio “don’t hide behind your skin colour”.
- Demetrio about to give evidence now. MacFarlane denies racially aggravated public order offence
- ian bishop @bish1964
@peterwalker99 how long is this trial scheduled to be Peter.and is it rac agg sec 4 public order he is charged with?
- ian bishop @bish1964
- @bish1964 2-3 days and yes
- Demetrio tells court MacFarlane’s words made him feel “like shit, really”. Said was very upset and angry
- Court has heard audio recordings of both exchanges from Demetrio’s phone
- PC Alex MacFarlane trial is continuing with defence cross examination of Mauro Demetrio
- Richard Atchley, defending, asks Demetrio if he used racist, homophobic & sexual abuse against police in van
- Demetrio says he used some abuse as was angry after alleged assault. Denies some words.
- Atchley, defending, asks Demetrio why he should be offended by some of PC MacFarlane’s comments
- Atchley argues that in context what MacFarlane says not meant to be racist. Mutters/gasps from public gallery
- Atchley plays tape again and asks Demetrio about “Be proud of who you are” comment by MacFarlane
- Atchley: “That is not the comment of a racist, is it?” Demetrio says he took it as sarcastic in context
- Atchley asks if Demetrio knows “be proud” was a Black Panther slogan. Demetrio looks confused
- He says: “Your points don’t make sense.”
- Demetrio testimony is over. Court now hearing from civilian custody officer at Forest Gate station when Demetrio arrived