Police officer keeps job after telling man 'you'd be the first one I'd shoot' and asking 'are you going to go Black Lives Matter on us?'

UK

A police officer who told a black man “you would be the first one I’d shoot if I had a gun” and joked about the Black Lives Matter movement has been let off with a final written warning.

The unnamed West Midlands Police constable was not sacked at the end of an investigation over allegations he made racist and offensive comments while searching a home in Coventry.

In a video posted on social media, he was heard asking: “Are you going to go Black Lives Matter on us, are you?”

Jack Chambers, a 24-year-old black man who was visiting the flat, replied “yeah”, and the officer added: “You would be the first one I’d shoot if I had a gun, definitely.”

Black Lives Matter is a movement that started in the US in response to the shooting of unarmed black men by police officers, and has since spread to other countries, including Britain.

“I was horrified that the people who are paid to protect make a joke about a movement which is for black people who have been killed,“ Mr Chambers told the Birmingham Mail shortly after the incident.

“I have spoken to the police and they have offered me an apology but I do not want it.”

The officer was removed from frontline duties as footage of the incident in August 2017 went viral on social media, and a complaint was referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

The watchdog found the officer had a case to answer for misconduct and he was given a final written warning by West Midlands Police at a meeting in June.

“The officer told our investigator that he regretted making the comments and, while he accepted they had been unprofessional and clumsy, he had not meant them to be racist, offensive or threatening,” a spokesperson for the IOPC said.

“Another police constable was dealt with through management action after it was agreed by the force that he had a case to answer for misconduct for not challenging the comments made by his colleague.”

At least four uniformed police officers could be seen in the footage, when some appeared to laugh following their colleague’s remarks.

Unarmed black man tased by police in the back while sitting on a curb

But the IOPC said there was no case to answer for the remaining two officers because there was “no evidence they had heard the comments”.

One, an acting sergeant, was referred for “performance measures” for failing to correctly log the search.

IOPC commissioner Derrick Campbell said: “We are conscious of the impact on public confidence in policing such an incident can have. The remarks made were inappropriate and the officer who made them has been sanctioned accordingly after the force agreed with the findings of our investigation.” 

Chief Inspector Yvonne Bruton, of West Midlands Police’s professional standards department, said: “It is important to WMP that the public have full confidence in our officers who are expected to be sensitive to the needs of the diverse communities we serve. The officer in question got it wrong on this occasion and has apologised for his actions.”

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