Met Police officer charged with racial abuse | News

PC Alex MacFarlane, the Met police officer allegedly heard racially abusing 21-year-old Mauro Demetrio in a recorded mobile phone conversation after the August 2011 riots, is to be charged with a racially aggravated order offence by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Despite a January decision against prosecuting the officer, a review by the CPS has since found “sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction.” The decision not to charge MacFarlane — who, according to Demetrio, also strangled him in the back of a police van — was met with the threat of legal action by Demetrio’s lawyer Michael Oswald, subsequently resulting in the reversal of the earlier decision.

Alison Saunders, chief crown prosecutor for CPS London, had this to say about the reversal decision: 

“It is regrettable that the original decision was wrong, but I hope the action taken and my decision today demonstrates the willingness of the CPS to review its decisions independently and swiftly and to take appropriate action where necessary.

“When a review shows a previous decision not to prosecute is wrong, it is open to the CPS to rectify that error by bringing new proceedings. As chief crown prosecutor for London, I have taken the decision in this case that, as well as there being sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction, and a prosecution being in the public interest, a prosecution is necessary in order to maintain confidence in the criminal justice system. That is the test I must apply under the code for crown prosecutors when reinstituting a prosecution.

“That review is now complete and the conclusion, based on all the evidence now available, is that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction to charge PC MacFarlane with a racially aggravated public order offence contrary to section 4A of the Public Order Act 1986 and section 31 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

“Accordingly I have advised the Independent Police Complaints Commission to charge PC MacFarlane.”

Another case where the CPS reversed a decision not to charge a police officer in connection with a crime is that of 47-year-old Ian Tomlinson, who collapsed and died at the G20 demonstration in 2009 after being struck with a baton and pushed to the ground by PC Simon Harwood. The initial decision not to bring criminal proceedings against Harwood was made due to complications with medical evidence, but the jury concluded after a 2011 inquest that Tomlinson was unlawfully killed while trying to walk home from work.

We previously reported that a total of ten complaints of racial incidents that have allegedly taken place in the Met Police since 2010 have been made public, including this case. On Monday, the police watchdog also said all alleged incidents of racism against the Metropolitan Police would be automatically investigated.

The CPS is still considering the case of Terelle Ferguson, a 15-year-old black teenager allegedly assaulted by officers in east London’s Forest Gate police station.
[Source: Guardian]