Racism is like a disease within Met Police, says Tasered firefighter
An off-duty firefighter said "racism is like a disease" within the Met Police, after a misconduct case against three officers accused of discriminatory treatment towards him collapsed.
Edric Kennedy-Macfoy was trying to help the officers identify a teenager who had thrown a rock at a police van in September 2011, but it was claimed that he was then Tasered and insulted by the Scotland Yard officers.
Firearms officer Pc Mark Gatland was accused of using unreasonable force and firing his Taser without warning, being motivated by racial discrimination and/or racial stereotyping.
Pc Daniel Roberts, from Westminster Borough, and Insp Sutinderjit Mahil, based in Ealing, were accused of using abusive and offensive language, again motivated by racial discrimination and/or racial stereotyping.
But on Wednesday the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) withdrew its case after "procedural shortfalls" emerged.
Although Mr Kennedy-Macfoy received an apology from the IPCC, he told Channel 4 News "not having these officers face accountability for their actions that tells a story within itself".
Asked if racism was still rife in the Met, he responded: "Things like this are still happening - I never imagined in a million years this would happen to me - I know it still happens but I live a good lifestyle - I'm of good character, I'm a fire fighter - I've never been in trouble with the police.
"I just think if this could happen to me it could happen to anyone and the failings of the IPCC - police can do whatever they like and get away with it - I think racism is like a disease within the Met Police Service and can only be rooted out from within."
He added that he saw being a firefighter as a job for life, but that this was no longer the case because he could not trust the Met - an organisation which the fire brigade works with closely.
A spokeswoman for the police watchdog said: "The IPCC has withdrawn its recommendation and directions for three Metropolitan Police officers attending a misconduct hearing in relation to their interactions with Edric Kennedy-Macfoy in 2011.
"We recognise the effect this will have had on both Mr Kennedy-Macfoy and the officers involved, and would like to take this opportunity to apologise to them.
"The withdrawal follows procedural shortfalls identified by the IPCC.
"They related to disclosure of relevant material and the need for further investigative work, including witness interviews, which it became clear were not conducted during the investigation.
"If the IPCC were to remedy those shortfalls, we were informed that a further hearing could not take place for at least 12 months.
"It is the IPCC's view that further delays are not acceptable, given the time since the original incident."
The move came after the watchdog had rejected Scotland Yard's internal probe into what happened, and launched its own inquiry, recommending that the three officers face action over alleged gross misconduct.
If proved, this would have meant the sack.
The incident happened when 50 officers were sent to break up a party attended by around 200 people that had got out of control.
Scotland Yard said some revellers became hostile to the police, and this was in the context of riots that had been seen across the country a month earlier.
The force said in a statement: "We fully recognise that the misconduct hearing not going ahead is damaging for the complainant and for the public who need to have confidence in the way officers are held to account for their actions.
"The IPCC have provided the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) with their full rationale for the decision to withdraw their direction and recommendation.
"The MPS has previously apologised to Mr Kennedy-Macfoy and regrets what he experienced that night. We have offered to meet with him and hope he will be prepared to discuss how we can rebuild his confidence in the MPS.
"The three officers have had this investigation hanging over them for five years and Pc Gatland was prevented from resigning. It is unsatisfactory for them that they have had not an opportunity to provide all their evidence as to their actions.
"Any allegation that officers have behaved in a racist way is treated really seriously by the MPS. It is important that such allegations are fully and properly investigated and if officers are found to have done wrong that they are held to account.
"After careful consideration of all the evidence available it is clear that there are conflicting accounts, and as such the case that was due to go before the misconduct panel was not as strong as previously thought."