Brentwood policeman is found not guilty of making racist comments
PUBLISHED: 16:57 29 November 2012 | UPDATED: 17:10 29 November 2012
PA Wire/Press Association Images
A policeman from Brentwood walked free today (Thurs) after claiming he was discussing evolution when he called three black men "f***ing monkeys".
PC Kevin Hughes, 42, was patrolling the East End of London in a squad car when he made the remark to colleague PC Costas Dakoutros.
When challenged by PC Dakoutros, Hughes said “It’s true” and added: “They’re closely related to chimpanzees and more closely related to Neanderthals.”
During the same patrol another workmate, PC Kirk Baker, heard Hughes say: “Black people haven’t evolved, they live in mud huts in Africa.”
He went on to say that black people’s “sticking out ears and thick lips” made them resemble primates.
Prosecutors claimed the case revealed a culture of racism in the Victim Offenders Location Time (VOLT) team which was based in Newham, one of the most ethnically diverse areas of the country.
But Hughes, along with PC David Hair, 36, a fellow member of the VOLT team, was cleared of a public order offence and racially aggravated harassment.
Hughes wept as District Judge Howard Riddle announced the verdicts at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, while Hair sighed with relief.
Hair was alleged to have racially abused PC Julia Dacres while travelling in a police minibus last March 13.
He asked her if she was going to do some overtime and then said: “I didn’t know if you were going to go into a little rant and say how you had to go home and cook bananas”.
Hughes would also talk in a mock-Asian accent calling other officers “auntie” and “uncle”.
He admitted he had referred to the men’s similarities to monkeys but said it was during an innocent conversation about evolution and had nothing to do with his race.
“I just said it has nothing to do with him being black, I noticed him because he had elongated limbs, his gait,” Hughes told the court.
“I said that was why I picked him out, because of the way he was walking - it was a fleeting glance.
“I was just trying to reinforce my point that I believe that some human beings had characteristics that resemble monkeys.”
Hair admitted making the bananas comment, but denied that it was racially motivated.
Hughes and Hair of Epping were both found not guilty of one count of using threatening, abusive, or insulting words or behaviour to cause another person harassment, alarm, or distress and alternative charge of racially aggravated harassment.
The judge praised the MPS and CPS for bringing the case.