Police officer ‘said black people looked like monkeys’, court told
A police officer allegedly compared black people to monkeys while out in Newham and said they were more closely related to Neanderthals and chimpanzees, a court heard today.
Pc Kevin Hughes, 36, also allegedly said black people had not evolved and “lived in mud huts in Africa”, Westminster Magistrates’ Court was told.
Hughes, of Brentwood, Essex, is accused of making the comments while on patrol in Newham prosecutor Kate Wilkinson said.
His colleague, PC David Hair, 42, on a separate occasion told a black woman colleague he thought she was going to “rant” about overtime and not do any because she was “going home to cook bananas”, it is alleged.
Hair, of Epping, Essex, and Hughes met at police training school and both deny making any racist comments.
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Hughes made the alleged racist remarks while in a patrol car in Green Street with three colleagues on February 22 after seeing three black men standing on the pavement, the prosecutor said.
He allegedly turned to his colleague, PC Costas Dakoutros and compared them to monkeys, the court heard.
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Ms Wilkinson said: “He began to deliberate that black people were closely related to chimpanzees and then said they were more closely related to Neanderthals,” according to the prosecutor.
She added PC Dakoutros sent himself an email that day detailing the events.
It said: “Kevin looked at three IC3 (black) males and stated they looked like monkeys.”
Pc Dakoutros also alleged that Hughes said: “Don’t all black people look like monkeys?”
Another colleague who was in the car said he heard Hughes say: “Black people hadn’t evolved and lived in mud huts in Africa”, according to Ms Wilkinson.
But under questioning the officer denied being racist and said he was commenting on the way a man walked.
Ms Wilkinson said: “He said he didn’t recall seeing three black males but said he saw someone with a certain gait who walked like a monkey and he had said to PC Dakoutros something about a monkey.”
Hair is alleged to have made racist comments to his black colleague, PC Julia Dacres, on March 13.
PC Dacres lived in south London and so would not regularly work overtime as she found it difficult to travel home late at night, Ms Wilkinson told the court.
While on patrol, Hair asked PC Dacres if she was going to do any overtime, to which she sarcastically laughed and said she would.
Hair then allegedly said: “I didn’t know if you were going to go into a little rant and say you were going to go home and cook bananas.”
Ms Wilkinson said PC Dacres was “stunned” by this comment and replied: “That is a weird concoction. Is that what you had for dinner?”
Hughes was present in the police van at the time.
“Pc Hughes admitted hearing the comment and said it was stupid,” Ms Wilkinson said.
After the incident, Hughes allegedly sent a text to Hair, saying “challenge”, the prosecutor said.
Hair admitted making the comment but said it was not racist because he “could have named any food”, according to Ms Wilkinson.
The prosecutor also said the pair, who worked in the North East Victim Offender Location Time team (Volt), regularly mocked Asian culture while working, which distressed some colleagues.
Hughes and Hair would call each other “aunty” and “uncle”, common terms in Asian culture for elders, using mock accents “such as those heard on television comedy series”, Ms Wilkinson said.
Senior staff never challenged the pair for this, she said.