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

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest Crime news

Friday, February 27, 2015
The theft is all over in the blink of an eye (Picture: City of London Police)

A video of a lightning fast phone robbery by a thief riding a bike along a City street has been released by police who want to raise awareness of this growing crime.

Friday, February 27, 2015
Anytime Fitness in Pentonville Road [Photo from Google Streetview]

The sick sex pest also used the James Bond-Style gadget to spy on women in the showers in a King’s Cross gym.

Friday, February 27, 2015
Murdered: James Hunter

Five teenage boys have been convicted over the killing of James Hunter, 18, who was stabbed to death as he tried to protect his friend from a revenge attack in Sydenham last year.

Friday, February 27, 2015
The quiet lane [Photograph by David Peat]

Emergency services have rushed to a street in Walthamstow after a man was stabbed this morning.

Friday, February 27, 2015
Gokhan Durmus was stabbed in the neck in Chatham Place in Hackney in Saturday, February 7 (Picture: Met Police)

Mathais Auguste, 21, has been charged with murder after 22-year-old Gokhan Durmus was fatally stabbed in the neck in Hackney.

Friday, February 27, 2015

A pensioner was rushed to hospital after she was shot last night through the window of her house.

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

Taking a tumble at the Brits hasn’t harmed Madonna’s chart chances.

Read more

Unless the risks you want to take involve shady behaviour.

Read more

Is it blue and black? Is it white and gold? Whichever camp you fall into, everyone can appreciate these very funny #TheDress memes.

Read more

Promoted content

A look at one of our previous Design Fairs

Chelsea Old Town Hall will be the venue for the renowned Desire Fair from 6-8 March 2015. This stunning mixed media jewellery and silversmithing event where visitors can purchase direct from contemporary designer makers selected from the best in the UK is an event not to be missed.

Take our quiz and find out!

A survey conducted last year revealed that Britain is the fourth sexiest country in the world, with the UK sex toy industry worth an estimated £250 million a year.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

The most powerful pictures of the crash, 40 years on.

The Royal Mint has announced a new picture of the Queen will be used on future coins.

The price tag for university could be coming down if Labour wins the general election, but at what cost?

Quirky London