Kurd youth released after taping racist abuse

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A police officer has been suspended after being secretly recorded racially abusing and threatening a 16-year-old Kurdish youth.

A police officer has been suspended after being secretly recorded racially abusing and threatening a 16-year-old Kurdish youth.

In a foul-mouthed tirade lasting several minutes, the officer told the teenager he was "going to smash your fucking Arab face in" and warned him he would be found guilty because "I'll write it up properly". But the exchanges were recorded by the youth on his mobile phone. When they were played in court, the charges against him were dismissed and the judge said he could not believe a word of the police evidence.

The youth, from Bayswater, west London, has a history of run-ins with the police and has a conviction for affray. He has been acquitted on a charge of rape and no further action was taken on an accusation of robbery.

He was stopped by two officers while on the street in west London in February with a friend. The officers told him he was being arrested on a public order offence of using threatening and abusive language to the officers, a claim he strongly disputed.

As he was bundled into the police van, he switched on the tape player on his mobile phone. It captured him asking why he had been picked up, to which the officer replies: "It's because you're a fucking rapist and I hate you."

As the teenager protests, the officer warns him: "If you say one more fucking word, I'll smash your fucking Arab face in. Do you understand?"

He is heard laughing as he says: "You're a fucking robbing, raping, arsehole." And the officer tells the youth: "You won't swear at me again, sunshine, and this isn't one you won't fucking get off of at court because I'll write it up properly."

The case came to the West London youth court last Friday, during which the officer and a colleague both gave evidence that the youth used foul language to them. A transcript of the tape was read out to the court and then the recording was played. Checks on the teenager's mobile phone confirmed it had been made at the time of the arrest.

District Judge David Simpson said: "No magistrate, judge or jury could convict on the evidence of these officers. I cannot believe anything these officers have told me. There's a lot of talk about respect and the lack of it. Respect is not something you get by putting on a uniform. I believe respect should be earned."

Describing the officers' evidence as unreliable, he asked the Metropolitan Police to investigate the attempted prosecution. A Met spokesman yesterday confirmed that a 26-year-old officer based in Paddington Green station was suspended from duty. The spokesman said the force's directorate of professional standards was investigating "an allegation of racial harassment".

The youth has been in Britain since he was a child and is a UK citizen since his mother was granted indefinite leave to remain after she claimed asylum. He cannot be named for legal reasons; he has also said he is frightened of reprisals if he is named.

Shauneen Lambe, youth justice spokesman of Lawrence and Co, the solicitors that represented him, said: "Lots of kids tell us stories about how the police treat them and they aren't believed. This youth might not have been believed if he hadn't recorded them. It would have been his word against that of two uniformed officers."

Richard Garside, director of the Crime and Society Foundation think-tank, said: "This is the collateral damage of an aggressive policing approach, encouraged by Downing Street and the Home Office, that gives police a green light to crack down on those they believe to be causing the most trouble. The problem with cracking down on 'the usual suspects' is that innocent people can end up being fitted up, abused, or both."

Caught on tape

Youth: Why do you keep stopping me anyway?

PC: Don't tell me to fuck off. You know why, It's because you're a fucking rapist and I hate you.

Youth: Why are you calling me a rapist for? What are you saying that for? Are you... laughing? What's wrong with you? What are you saying that for?

PC: Shut the fuck up.

Youth: Hey, don't be silly, Hey, what did you say? Sorry go on, go on, go on.

PC: If you say one more fucking word, I'll smash your fucking Arab face in. Do you understand?

Youth: Just leave me alone, man.

PC: Just shut the fuck up, you cunt, otherwise I'm going to smash your fucking face in. [Laughter] 'Cause you're a fucking robbing, raping arsehole.

PC: You won't swear at me again, sunshine, and this isn't one that you won't fucking get off of at court because I'll write it up properly.