Police officer and PCSO guilty of misconduct over vigilante murder
A police officer and a community support officer have been convicted of misconduct after the vigilante murder of a disabled man.
Bijan Ebrahimi, 44, was beaten to death and his body set on fire by neighbour Lee James, who wrongly believed he was a paedophile, in Bristol in 2013.
James was jailed for life for the murder, while Stephen Norley, who lived next door, was sentenced to four years in prison for assisting an offender.
Pc Kevin Duffy, 52, and PCSO Andrew Passmore, 56, were each convicted of a charge of misconduct in a public office by a jury at Bristol Crown Court.
Speaking outside court, Mr Ebrahimi's sister Manizhah Moores called for Duffy and Passmore to be removed from Avon and Somerset Police.
Duffy and Passmore are two of 18 officers and staff facing misconduct proceedings within the force. Of those, nine are accused of gross misconduct.
Pcs Leanne Winter, 38, and Helen Harris, 40, were each acquitted of a charge of misconduct in a public office following the seven-week trial.
Judge Neil Ford QC, the Recorder of Bristol, released Duffy and Passmore on bail until a date to be fixed.
"All sentencing options are open in this case," he told both defendants.
Mrs Moores said: "We now call on the chief constable to remove officers Duffy and Passmore from the force with immediate effect.
"Our search for justice for Bijan continues.
"We dedicate Bijan's memory to all other victims of race hate crime, in the hope that their lives can be protected."
She thanked the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and the Crown Prosecution Service for the "important prosecution".
The court previously heard Mr Ebrahimi dialled 999 to report that James had come into his flat and head-butted him on July 11.
James wrongly believed that Mr Ebrahimi, an Iranian national, had filmed his young children.
Mr Ebrahimi was actually gathering evidence to support his claims of anti-social behaviour to Bristol City Council.
Pcs Winter and Harris arrived at the scene, Capgrave Crescent in Brislington, to find James crying with anger and frothing at the mouth.
A mob had formed outside and James was heard shouting: "Paedo! I'm going to f****** kill you."
Pcs Winter and Harris arrested Mr Ebrahimi, who was not visibly injured, for allegedly breaching the peace.
In footage filmed by Mr Ebrahimi, he tells Pc Harris: "For second time he came to me and threatening me to die and you let him go.
"You are supposed to come here to look after me."
The officer told Mr Ebrahimi to get back inside his home, replying: "You're making it worse, get in, get in."
As Mr Ebrahimi was led away, the crowd outside cheered and shouted "paedophile".
While in custody, Pc Harris told him: "All you are doing is upsetting the residents... and antagonising them.
"I'm a police officer and you're a pain in the ass. Don't speak to me."
He was released from custody the following day, July 12, and made 12 calls to police non-emergency number 101.
Mr Ebrahimi was informed that Duffy, his local beat manager, would visit but the officer refused to speak to him.
"My life is in danger. Right now a few of my neighbours are outside and shouting and calling me a paedophile. I need to see Pc Duffy," Mr Ebrahimi told one operator.
Duffy told a supervisor: "He should be told in no uncertain terms that I will speak to him at my convenience, it's Mr Bijan Ebrahimi he's well known to me and I won't be taking any calls from him."
He asked Passmore to conduct a "bit of a foot patrol" around Capgrave Crescent.
Passmore was found not guilty of failing to patrol there but was convicted of later falsely telling murder detectives he had spent an hour in the area.
On July 13, Mr Ebrahimi tried to contact Duffy and Winter. He phoned police at 00.12am on July 14 - about an hour before his murder - asking for Winter.
The officer told a call operator: "I'm absolutely not interested in speaking to him ever."
Witnesses saw James repeatedly stamp on Mr Ebrahimi's head before setting him alight at 1.35am.
James then told his partner: "We set him on fire. He is not going to take photos any more. Tell the girls I did it for them and you."
A post-mortem examination found Mr Ebrahimi, who had problems with mobility and suffered from depression, died before he was set alight.
Temporary Deputy Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe described Mr Ebrahimi's murder as "senseless".
"We have changed and improved the way we work and will continue to work with our partners to do everything in our power to prevent such a dreadful event happening again," she added.
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: "It is clear that on this occasion the constabulary failed local people and let down a vulnerable man in his own home.
"This should never have happened."
IPCC commissioner Jan Williams said the police watchdog had shared its findings with Avon and Somerset Police "at a senior level".