In the Media

Scotland Yard officer pleads not guilty to racially abusing suspect after riots

PUBLISHED May 22, 2012

A Scotland Yard officer has denied racially abusing a suspect after the summer riots.

PC Alex MacFarlane elected to be tried by a crown court jury as he appeared before magistrates.

The 52-year-old was granted bail to appear again at Southwark crown court on 29 June.

Suited MacFarlane, wearing black glasses with tinted lenses, chose not to stand in the dock at Westminster magistrates court as he entered a not guilty plea to a racially aggravated harassment offence.

He confirmed his date of birth and gave his address as Forest Gate police station as the charge against him was read out.

He was accused of telling 21-year-old Mauro Demetrio: "The problem with you is you will always be a nigger, yeah?"

The indictment detailed that he intended to cause "harassment, alarm or distress" to his victim and "used threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour".

District Judge Daphne Wickham told him: "On this one charge you have elected trial by jury.

"At Southwark crown court on 29 June at 9.45, you are to return for a plea and case management hearing.

"You are on bail until that time."

Alison Saunders, chief prosecutor for London, charged MacFarlane last month after a U-turn by prosecutors.

The charging decision hinged on mobile phone footage, allegedly taken by Demetrio, from Beckton, east London, last August.

Demetrio was held on suspicion of drug-driving but no action was taken.

The Crown Prosecution Service announcement came after the police watchdog announced a review of a string of complaints about racism at the Metropolitan police.