I said he looked like a monkey but it wasn't racist, Pc tells court - Crime - UK - The Independent

I said he looked like a monkey but it wasn't racist, Pc tells court

 

A police officer admitted saying a black man looked like a monkey but said it had nothing to do with his race and that he was pointing him out during a discussion about evolution, a court heard today.

Pc Kevin Hughes, 36, is also accused of saying black people were "more closely related to Neanderthals" but said he did not know what the word meant.

The officer, who allegedly said black people had not evolved and "lived in mud huts in Africa", told the court it was "upsetting" that anyone would think he was racist.

Hughes, of Brentwood, Essex, said he made the comments because he saw a black man with "elongated arms" and a "gait" like a monkey while out on patrol with three colleagues in Newham, east London, Westminster Magistrates' Court heard.

The man was black but Hughes said he only had a "fleeting glance" at him. But he admitted saying he used the word "chimpanzee" to describe him.

He told the court of the incident on February 22: "I said to Costas (Pc Costas Dakoutros) - 'You see that man there? He's walking like a monkey'.

"Pc Dakoutros said 'Are you saying that because he's black?'.

"I just said 'it has got nothing to do with him being black'.

"I noticed him because he had elongated arms, his gait. That is why I picked him out because of the way he was walking. It was a fleeting look."

Hughes said they were having an argument about evolution and he merely pointed out the man in the street to illustrate his point.

He said part of the motivation for saying it was remembering from childhood the archetypal drawing in school textbooks depicting apes evolving into men.

Hughes acknowledged the use of the word "chimpanzee" but said he did not know what Neanderthals meant.

"It is embarrassing to say but I don't even know what that word means. It is not a word I would use," he said.

Asked if he was restricting his comparison to "black people", Hughes said: "It is upsetting for someone to say that about you. It is just ridiculous."

He said he had "always chosen to work in boroughs that are diverse" and that as a personal trainer he worked with people who were "black, white, Chinese".

Hughes's colleague, Pc David Hair, 42, is also standing trial for allegedly telling a female black colleague he thought she was going to "rant" about overtime and not do any because she was "going home to cook bananas".

Hair, of Epping, Essex, is alleged to have made the racist comments to his colleague Pc Julia Dacres on March 13.

While on patrol, Hair allegedly teased Pc Dacres about overtime as she rarely did any as she would find it difficult to travel home after a shift.

Hair then allegedly said: "I didn't know if you were going to go into a little rant and say you were going to go home and cook bananas."

After the incident, Hughes allegedly sent a text to Hair, saying "challenge", an informal way of airing a grievance within their police unit.

After acknowledging the message he sent to Hair, Hughes said in his police interview that "it instantly triggered (the reaction) because you are making a racist connotation", according to prosecutor Kate Wilkinson.

She then asked Hughes: "And monkeys and black people doesn't?"

Hughes replied: "It does."

Ms Wilkinson went on: "Had you used the phrase, you fully accept that those words are abusive or insulting?"

Hughes said: "Yes."

The prosecutor said: "'Look at them, they look like monkeys', that is abusive or insulting, notwithstanding the use of the word 'f******?"'

Hughes replied: "Yes."

Ms Wilkinson went on: "Because of the obvious racial connotations between black people and monkeys?"

"Correct," replied Hughes.

Hughes said he did not think Hair knew about the racial connotations in the "banana" comment.

Hair and Hughes met at police training school and both deny one count each of using threatening words or behaviour to cause alarm and distress and one count each of racially aggravated harassment.

The trial continues.

PA

Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
filmMatt Damon in talks to return
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Life and Style
tech... and together they're worth at least £100 million
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig is believed to be donning skies as 007 for the first time
Arts and Entertainment
Fringe show: 'Cilla', with Sheridan Smith in the title role and Aneurin Barnard as her future husband Bobby Willis
tvEllen E Jones on ITV's 'Cilla'
Life and Style
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
tech(but you can't escape: Bono is always on your iPhone)
Sport
Tim Wiese
sport
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week