Alex MacFarlane, a constable based at Forest Gate police station, was recorded having called Mauro Demetrio a “n*****” in a recorded taken on the victim’s mobile phone. Other officers were recorded calling him a “c**t”, a “scumbag” and about having used physical violence to apprehend him. Doctors later found bruises around the neck of Demetrio.
MacFarlane was in the back of a police van last August when he was reported to have said to the arrested man, "The problem with you is that you will always be a n****r." MacFarlane then proceeded to give a sort of perverted inspirational speech to Demetrio, about how he shouldn’t hide behind his colour, were that possible.
A second Jury last Thursday found that they were unable to reach a verdict on the matter, despite recordings being provided, and despite the Metropolitan’s awful record of race relations surely giving some background credence to the charges. The prosecution have decided not to try for a third trial, not wishing to break with standard protocol, and definitely not wishing to rouse the disdain of the Met.
Although this is in itself a miscarriage of Justice if I have ever seen one, it is when viewed in its wider context that we see the reality of what has transpired.
The Crown Prosecution Service initially tried to avoid charging MacFarlane, only doing so when Demetrio's lawyers challenged the decision, compounded further by pressure from the Guardian.
The fact that he would walk from criminal charges was taken as a given. MacFarlane will now face an internal tribunal from the Metropolitan Police for charges of gross misconduct; he is likely to be dismissed, but on what charges? If it is racist abuse, then a review of the Judges overseeing the criminal cases must be pursued. If he isn’t dismissed, the Met will be in for a s***storm.
Having made such a big deal out of “example setting” sentences for teachers and other professionals during the London riots last summer, I find it hilarious to see this cavalier attitude diminish to a whimper when the police are involved. Take a t-shirt, 6 months in the scrubs; call a man a nigger and strangle him, no verdict and a nice pension dismissal. No wonder we rioted.
They will think twice. They’ll think it’s hilarious. In a sense then the prosecution service is setting an example to the police; do whatever you want, we’ve got your back.
The Judge at the trial did comment that the comment was unacceptable but made in the heat of the moment when the victim was thought to be very abusive. This is not an acceptable logic to adopt. If called to a domestic violence case, the police are not permitted to batter the culprit, as much as I think they should be battered.
This is not the purpose or remit of the law. The police do not use situational judgment. The police do not have a temper to lose. This should be kept in mind when officers face trial they presume to be friendly, as, like them, the law is not friendly; it is impartial and unwavering, without opinion or bias.
It will take a few more cases like this to see a reaction; a few more kicks at the dog before it finally bites, but when it does, it goes for the throat.