JURY VERDICT IN THE CAST OF PC MACFARLANE
We are appalled that a second jury trying policeman PC Alex MacFarlane charged with racially abusing a suspect has been discharged after they failed to reach a verdict. PC Alex MacFarlane a Metropolitan police officer based at Forest Gate in east London, had been charged with a racially aggravated public order offence against 21-year-old Mauro Demetrio in the back of a police van in August last year. MacFarlane was accused of telling a young black man under arrest: "The problem with you is that you will always be a nigger".
This case remains explosive in terms of its potential effect on police black community relations already severely strained in the aftermath of the shooting of Mark Duggan and the August 2011 riots. Such are the deep and underlying tensions between police and London’s black communities it remains critical to the public interest that PC MacFarlane faces prosecution despite the failure of two juries to reach a verdict.
The recent failures of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to secure convictions in the case of MacFarlane and that of Chelsea Football Club player John Terry we believe amount to the virtual ‘legalising’ of racist abuse. We note the CPS decided to charge only once and the Guardian Newspaper published an article based on audio recordings from inside the police van made by Mr Demetrio on his mobile. This audio tape provided dramatic and compelling evidence that
Mr Demetrio was a clear victim of a racially aggravated public order offence. It is beyond doubt that PC McFarlane’s comments were racially motivated. The failure of the jury to recognize that a serious crime has been committed in spite of the evidence illustrates the necessity of ensuring multi-racial juries in all race sensitive cases. We call upon the CPS to redouble its efforts to prosecute PC MacFarlane and ensure that these dangerous non-court verdicts do not have the effect of normalizing vile racist abuse.
Lee Jasper , Chair of the London Race & Criminal Justice Consortium.
Charles Critchlow, Chair National Black Police Officers Association.
Zita Holbourne, Co Chair Black Activists Rising Against the Cuts.
Simon Woolley, Operation Black Vote.
Aaron Kiely, NUS Black Students Campaign
Ava Vidal, Patron Show Racism the Red Card
Peter Herbert, Chair Society of Black Lawyers