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Wednesday, 28 November 2012

'Racist' Met police officer who compared a black man to a monkey claims he was only discussing evolution

A police officer accused of describing three black men as ‘f*****g monkeys’ claimed he was just having a discussion about ‘evolution,’ a court heard today.
PC Kevin Hughes, 42, allegedly made the racist remark while on patrol with three fellow officers in Newham - one of London’s most ethnically diverse communities.
As they passed three black men leaning against a wall in Green Street, Upton Park, the officer allegedly said: ‘Look at them, they look like f***ing monkeys.’
But Hughes told Westminster Magistrates he had simply remarked on a man’s gait and posture while talking about the scientific theory to PC Costas Dakoutros
‘I had engaged with PC Dakoutros, we were discussing about evolution or terms of that kind,’ he said.
‘We were in the car, I had a fleeting glance to my right hand side and saw a gentleman. I said that man there was walking like a monkey.
Hughes said that when challenged by PC Dakoutros, he immediately replied that 'it’s nothing to do with him being black,' but he was 'just trying to reference by point that some human beings have some characteristics that resemble monkeys.'
He added that he considered his own ‘sticking out ears’ to resemble that of a monkey and that others’ noses or lips might also do so.
During the discussion he also said black people were closely related to ‘chimpanzees and Neanderthals,’ it is claimed.
When asked if he had used either of the words, he said might have used the former, but did not even know what Neanderthal meant.
Cross-examined by prosecutor Kate Wilkinson, he admitted that he was aware of the racial connotations between black people and monkeys and that he had described the man on the street as walking like monkey.
But Hughes told the court that he found it ‘upsetting’ and ‘ridiculous’ that he was being accused of being racist.
He admitted that he would often greet his colleagues on the VOLT team, based at Forest Gate Police Station, by using an Asian accent and saying ‘Hello Auntie.’
But he maintained that he was not being racist and meant no disrespect.
He also denied that on one occasion he had told PC David Hair, 42, that they could not use the words in front of a Asian special constable in case she complained.
The former personal trainer added the he had ‘many, many, many’ Asian friends, as well as black friends, Irish friends and Australian friends.
It is alleged his co-defendant PC Hair made a racist comment towards a female black colleague, asking her if she was going to go home and ‘cook bananas’.
Hughes, of Ingrave, Essex, and Hair of Epping, Essex, both deny one count of using threatening, abusive, or insulting words or behaviour to cause another person harassment, alarm, or distress, and that it was racially aggravated.
The trial continues

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