Monkey comment policeman sacked
Published 08/03/2013 | 11:21
A police officer who said that a black man looked like a monkey has been sacked, Scotland Yard has said.
Metropolitan Police constable Kevin Hughes was cleared of racially-aggravated offences in November, but has now been dismissed for gross misconduct, the force said.
Hughes and fellow constable David Hair were both acquitted of using threatening words or behaviour to cause alarm and distress and of racially-aggravated harassment at Westminster Magistrates' Court in November.
Hughes, of Brentwood, Essex, admitted saying a black man looked like a monkey, while Hair was said to have told a black woman colleague he thought she was going to "rant" about overtime and not do any because she was "going home to cook bananas".
Chief magistrate Howard Riddle said that while Pc Hughes's language was "unacceptable and offensive", it did not amount to a criminal offence. And he said that while the insulting nature of Hair's comment seemed obvious to many, he did not think it was to him. Hair was said to have been "mortified" when Hughes suggested his comment could be taken as being racist.
In a statement, Scotland Yard said the officers' behaviour had been brought to the attention of senior management in March 2012.
The matter was referred to the police watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) who conducted an independent investigation, leading to the officers being charged.
They were cleared but after a misconduct hearing, Hughes has been dismissed for gross misconduct in relation to authority, respect and courtesy and discreditable conduct, while Hair was given a final written warning.
Commander Allan Gibson, from the Directorate of Professional Standards, said: "The public have an absolute right to expect that officers serving with the MPS treat them and their colleagues with respect and courtesy and that they do not hold discriminatory opinions. Pc Hughes has now been dismissed from the Metropolitan Police Service."
The force said that although the case against Hair was found proven, the panel has taken into account the opinion of a witness that he did not intend to cause offence, and issued him with a final written warning.