Edric Kennedy-Macfoy v The Met – dial 999 for racism
EDRIC Kennedy-Macfoy is a 28-year-old fireman from north London. He was trained as a police officer. On 3:45am on September 4, 2011, Mr Kennedy-Macfoy was driving his white Audi through Harrow. Police had shut down a party. Missiles were being thrown at them. Mr Kennedy-Macfoy spotted a black man toss a rock at a police van.
He tried to tell the police what he has seen. He has a description of the thug. He said the copper told him:
“Fuck off you prick.”
Mr Kennedy-Macfoy sees a line of police with riot shields. He drives towards them. He wants to know the name of the officer who has sworn at him. He wants to tell them who attacked the van. He also wants to find a way home. He alleges the police grabbed at him through his car window. He claims he was dragged from his car. He explained that he was a firefighter. As he walked backwards with his hands raised and open palms showing, police fire a stun gun at him. They shouted no warning. An officer just fired.
According to guidelines:
Background: IPCC position on TASER
2. When TASER was first introduced in 2003, prior to the inception of the IPCC, it had been agreed as part of the trial that police forces would refer any incident in which a TASER was discharged. This policy continued from the inception of the IPCC on 1 April 2004. The Police Complaints Authority had supervised the first few investigations into TASER discharges because of the considerable public interest, but since that time the vast majority of referrals were sent back to forces for local investigation.
3. As the number of TASER uses increased the referral policy became increasingly impractical and unnecessary, and the IPCC changed the criteria for referral in May 2005, to be consistent with referral of firearms discharges generally, i.e. that TASER discharges should only be required to be referred if the discharge:
* resulted in death or serious injury; * caused danger to the public, or * revealed failings in command.
4. This did not preclude forces voluntarily referring discharges in other circumstances if they thought it appropriate, bearing in mind the IPCC’s responsibilities for increasing public confidence.
Oral and Visual warnings
11.1 Where circumstances permit, officers should give a clear warning of their intent to use the
Taser, giving sufficient time for the warnings to be observed, unless to do so would unduly
place any person at risk, or would be clearly inappropriate or pointless in the circumstances of
11.2 It may in certain circumstances be appropriate to provide a visual display of the sparking effect
of the unloaded Taser in order to induce compliance, thus avoiding the need to actually
discharge the Taser at the subject.
11.3 The visual effect of the laser sight being directed at an individual may also have a deterrent
effect. Officers should be aware that the pointing of a Taser at an individual represents a use of
force and may in certain circumstances constitute an assault.
11.4 Police officers shall give the clear verbal warning ‘Taser, Taser’ indicating to all persons in the
vicinity that Taser is being discharged.
The Guardian notes:
The Met should automatically refer all complaints involving the use of their Taser stun guns to the IPCC. However in Kennedy-Macfoy’s case, the force decided to deal with the complaint internally for seven months. On Wednesday, following inquiries from the Guardian, and a letter from Kennedy-Macfoy’s lawyers which drew attention to the evidence officers gave in court about race, the Met decided it would refer the case to the IPCC.
The Met said in a statement that it had not automatically referred the case to the IPCC due to “oversight”. It added: “Such allegations are taken extremely seriously and the investigation will explore all the circumstances and evidence … As a Taser was discharged this case is a mandatory referral to the IPCC.”
The innocent man was arrested and charged with obstructing police. Guilty and he faces losing his job. He was taken to the South Harrow Police Station. He wrote his version of events. He alleges:
An Asian officer 35-48 approached me cautiously holding his shield and told me to turn around and get out of there. I attempted to voice my question and information and found myself once again met with swearing and hostility. ‘” Fuck Off!”’ is all I can recall at this time. I replied, ‘”There’s no need for that, who do you think you’re talking to you fucking mug.”’ More of the officers began to hurl verbal abuse at me… More than 10 officers began charging at me with their asps once again hurling abuse and telling me that my car was about to get smashed up. A few officers reached in through my car window grabbing my neck and ripping my shirt buttons as they did so. Officers on the other side also grabbed me viciously and attempted to remove the keys from the ignition. I quickly removed my keys and placed them in my pocket. I was then dragged out of the car into the middle of the road…. They were like wild animals. I managed to release myself from the grasp of the officers by making a quick dash out of there. When I was approximately 5-10 metres away, I faced the mob once again saying, ‘”What is wrong with you guys? I pose you no threat. I’m a firefighter, I work with you lot and just want to explain something. I’ve showed no aggression towards any of you.”’ Once again my words fell on deaf ears and they began to run at me with their asps. I wasn’t just going to stand there as I’d never come across ‘animal like’ officers before, so I took a quick jog which was enough to escape the grasp of the slow and unfit officers. They continued to hurl abuse whilst chasing me.
I was now faced with the dilemma of my £30,000 vehicle being in the middle of the road, both doors open with these wild officers around it. All I wanted to do was explain the situation, retrieve my vehicle and go home. Once again I tried to address the officers in a calm and civilised manner. (At no point throughout this incident did I demonstrate aggression or give the impression that I was a likely threat). As I slowly walked towards them, they had their asps out and looked like they wanted to use them. I began to traverse backwards as they advanced towards me. The next thing I knew I was having multiple spasms on the ground after being shot with a taser gun. This seemed to go on for more than 5 seconds. Officers laughed in the background as this took place. I was then jumped on, stood on, bent up, and handcuffed in such a manner I thought my shoulders were going to pop out. I was then roughly marched up the road to the meat wagon.
In Februay 2012, the case came to Brent magistrates court. Edric Kennedy-Macfoy is cleared of any wrongdoing.
Inspector David Bergum told the court:
“I couldn’t say he was anything to do with the party. The party was all black. He was black. He had driven through the cordon. I had to do a quick risk assessment.”
Racism? Mr Kennedy-Macfoy thinks so. Or was he just unlucky..?