Police accused in race case

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The Independent Online
A CHIEF Constable and two fellow senior officers are to give evidence in the High Court over their role in an alleged racist beating of a 12-year-old boy.

Stephen Pilkington, the chief constable of Avon and Somerset Police, has been called, together with two superintendents, in connection with an incident in Lewisham 11 years ago. Police officers, it is claimed, mouthed racist taunts and assaulted Jermaine Jauvel, now 23.

Mr Jauvel is suing the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Paul Condon, for damages arising out of his arrest and subsequent prosecution for assaulting a police officer in March 1987.

Rajiv Menon, representing Mr Jauvel, of London, told the jury: "This is a case about lost innocence and how a child can experience something which no child should have to experience. This is a case about the reality of being black in an English city."

Mr Menon said that before his arrest Jauvel had never been in trouble and wanted to become a police officer himself.

He had been arrested "for no reason whatsoever", and the incident left him frightened and shocked. He was held for three hours at Lewisham police station and then charged with assaulting a police officer.

Mr Jauvel had never received an apology, said Mr Menon, despite being acquitted of the assault charge by a magistrate.

At the time of the incident Mr Jauvel had been trying to catch a bus home from the Riverdale Centre in Lewisham, where there was a strong police presence.

It is alleged that police, when asking young people to disperse, took Mr Jauvel out of view, kicked and punched him and called him a "a black shit".

"Racism is no longer denied by the Metropolitan Police. It is now accepted by the commissioner that there are racist officers," Mr Menon said.

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