Search

PC compared black man to monkey because of his ‘elongated arms’, court hears

15:30 27 November 2012

File picture: PA Wire

File picture: PA Wire

PA Wire/Press Association Images

A police officer has admitted comparing a black man to a monkey but told a court that he was only pointing him out during a discussion on evolution.

PC Kevin Hughes, 36, said he made the comments because he saw a black man with “elongated arms” and a “gait” like a monkey while out on patrol with three colleagues in Newham, Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard.

The officer, of Brentwood, Essex, said it was “upsetting” that anyone would think he was racist.

The man was black but Hughes said he only had a “fleeting glance” at him. But he admitted saying he used the word “chimpanzee” to describe him.

He told the court of the incident on February 22: “I said to Pc Costas Dakoutros - ‘You see that man there? He’s walking like a monkey’.

“Pc Dakoutros said ‘Are you saying that because he’s black?’.

“I just said ‘it has got nothing to do with him being black’.

“I noticed him because he had elongated arms, his gait. That is why I picked him out because of the way he was walking. It was a fleeting look.”

Hughes acknowledged the use of the word “chimpanzee” but said he did not know what Neanderthals meant.

Asked if he was restricting his comparison to “black people”, Hughes said: “It is upsetting for someone to say that about you. It is just ridiculous.”

He said he had “always chosen to work in boroughs that are diverse” and that as a personal trainer he worked with people who were “black, white, Chinese”.

Hughes’s colleague, Pc David Hair, 42, is also standing trial for allegedly telling a female black colleague he thought she was going to “rant” about overtime and not do any because she was “going home to cook bananas”.

Hair, of Epping, Essex, is alleged to have made the racist comments to his colleague Pc Julia Dacres on March 13.

After the incident, Hughes allegedly sent a text to Hair, saying “challenge”, an informal way of airing a grievance within their police unit.

After acknowledging the message he sent to Hair, Hughes said in his police interview that “it instantly triggered (the reaction) because you are making a racist connotation”, according to prosecutor Kate Wilkinson.

She then asked Hughes: “And monkeys and black people doesn’t?”

Hughes replied: “It does.”

Ms Wilkinson went on: “Had you used the phrase, you fully accept that those words are abusive or insulting?”

Hughes said: “Yes.”

The prosecutor said: “’Look at them, they look like monkeys’, that is abusive or insulting?”

Hughes replied: “Yes.”

Hughes said he did not think Hair knew about the racial connotations in the “banana” comment.

Hair and Hughes both deny one count each of using threatening words or behaviour to cause alarm and distress and one count each of racially aggravated harassment.

Related articles

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 12:00
Harry Gray (left) and Alan Hendry in front of a photograph in Wick Heritage Museum showing soldiers from the local area leaving for the Western Front in 1914.

A young, talented pianist from Canning Town was one of thousands of men to lose their life in the Battle of the Somme.

Jamaica
Saturday, February 28, 2015
West Ham chairman David Gold, centre, at the Sporting Stories launch

It might not have been match day, but football was in the air at the Boleyn Ground at the launch of a new social initiative on Tuesday.

Saturday, February 28, 2015
London Aquatics Centre will celebrate its first birthday on Sunday

London Aquatics Centre celebrates its first birthday on Sunday – and you’re invited to the party.

Elizabeth Olympic Park
Friday, February 27, 2015
Forest Gate Station's PCs Terry Mole, Daryl Jones and James Aspland with gifts of gratitude from the boy and his mother (Pic by Metropolitan Police Press Bureau)

Three Newham police officers rescued a four-year-old boy trapped on a three-storey building’s roof.

Newham police

Most read news

And while we’re at it, why don’t we sell all the Queen’s homes and move her and Phil into a two-bed in Grimsby?

Technology experts have been giving their verdict on the first big smartphone offerings of 2015.

The Korean smartphone giants made the announcement at their Unpacked event ahead of Mobile World Congress.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Newham Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24
Our trusted business finder