Driver 'stopped 34 times' loses race case

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The Independent Online
A BLACK motorist who claimed he was stopped by police 34 times in two years because of his colour lost his court claim of racial harassment yesterday.

Carl Josephs, 27, a butcher, was, however, awarded pounds 1,000 for unlawful arrest over an incident in September 1996.

Mr Josephs made British legal history when he sued the West Midlands force for racial harassment, false imprisonment and unlawful arrest. West Midlands Police denied all of the allegations.

A jury at a County Court in Birmingham rejected his claims that he was persecuted by officers from the West Midland force who, he said, conspired against him between autumn 1994 and November 1996. A panel of four men and four women deliberated for nearly 10 hours before reaching its decision.

The judge, Richard Wakerley, had directed them to consider only 13 incidents because Mr Josephs did not have any documentary proof of the other 21 alleged incidents.

More than a dozen officers based at police stations in the north of Birmingham gave evidence at the 11-day hearing.

Mr Josephs, from Bromford Bridge, Birmingham, who has no previous convictions and a clean driving licence, claimed that he was stopped 34 times in his distinctive red Metro car, which has the words "One Love" on the side and a Jamaican flag draped on the back.

The court was told Mr Josephs began to be stopped after making a complaint against police in 1992 for which he was awarded pounds 250 in compensation. He told the jury that he was stopped on many occasions without legitimate reason, and on one occasion police had threatened to plant drugs in his car. He said that he was eventually forced to leave his car at home and catch the bus to work because of the number of times he was being asked to produce his documents at police stations.

A doctor told the jury that Mr Josephs had suffered from stress as a result of the repeated stops.

After the case, Mr Josephs said: "I'm very disappointed and, to be honest, quite surprised. I think it sends out the wrong message to the community. My real worry is that it's not just the individual officers who stopped me who are the main problem - they are just specific examples of wider racism." He said he may appeal.