London

Racism case against three Met police officers collapses

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A misconduct case against three police officers accused of racism against a black firefighter has collapsed after the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) offered no evidence.

The incident which occurred five years ago involved firefighter Edric Kennedy-Macfoy.

The BBC has learned no evidence was offered against the officers involved.

The IPCC has apologised to Mr Kennedy-Macfoy for what it called "procedural shortfalls" in its investigation.

It added it would be carrying out an "in depth review" to ensure its procedures were strengthened.

In a statement the IPCC said: "We recognise the effect this will have had on both Mr Kennedy-Macfoy and the officers involved, and would like to take this opportunity to apologise to them."

Mr Kennedy-Macfoy had originally complained about the behaviour of six police officers.

The IPCC found several problems with the investigation into the case including the fact that witness interviews that should have been carried out at the time of Mr Kennedy-Macfoy's complaint had not been completed.

'Life stolen'

Last year, Scotland Yard apologised and paid him compensation to settle a civil claim he brought against the force.

On Wednesday the Met said: "We fully recognise that the misconduct hearing not going ahead is damaging for the complainant and for the public who need to have confidence in the way officers are held to account for their actions".

Mr Kennedy-Macfoy said he felt the last five years of his life had been "stolen" from him.

"These proceedings have been withdrawn before I was given the chance to give evidence before the tribunal and I will forever feel that I have been denied justice," he said.

"I am deeply troubled by the institutional obstacles I have encountered to address and confront why this ever happened."

One of the officers allegedly involved, Mark Gatland who was suspended by the Met to prevent him leaving the force pending the misconduct hearing, was allowed to take a second job as a train driver.

Lawyers for PC Gatland said the damage to his "health and well-being" as a result of the long-running case was "impossible to quantify".

Arrest

The incident occurred in September 2011 - one month after the London riots - during a disturbance with police at Harrow in north London.

Mr Kennedy-Macfoy said he had offered to help - but was charged with obstructing police and resisting arrest.

He was cleared at Brent Magistrates Court in February 2012.

Mr Kennedy-Macfoy went on to make a formal complaint about his treatment.

He claimed he'd been targeted by police because he was black, alleging he was shot with a Taser stun gun, assaulted and verbally abused.

An investigation into the conduct of six officers was launched by Scotland Yard's Directorate of Professional Standards under the supervision of the IPCC.

In March 2013 the watchdog decided to take over the case itself and conduct an independent investigation which it said at the time would be carried out "as quickly as possible".

In January 2014, one of the policeman allegedly involved retired from the Met.

Evidence

A hearing was due to start last week for three of the others but became delayed in legal arguments believed to relate to the non-disclosure of crucial documents by the IPCC.

On Wednesday, the IPCC withdrew from the case, and the Metropolitan Police, which formally brought the disciplinary proceedings, offered no evidence leading to the three officers being formally cleared of the charges.

Mr Kennedy-Macfoy's lawyer, Shamik Dutta, said he would be seeking a "full public apology from the IPCC" which he said had "failed in its duty to investigate the case properly".

Lawyers for Mr Gatland said: "The damage caused to the officer's health and well-being as well as to his family is impossible to quantify at this time. The damage to the public perception of policing in this matter being falsely portrayed as a racist event is scandalous."

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