Three Metropolitan Police officers exchanged racist messages on a Whatsapp group, including a comparison between Meghan Markle and Ag******, a tribunal has heard.
PC Sukhdev Jeer and PC Paul Hefford, along with former officer Richard Hammond, also failed to challenge and/or report the other members of the group after receiving the offending messages, it is alleged.
The allegations constitute gross misconduct which, if proven, will result in the officers being fired.
Vishal Misra of the Metropolitan Police gave an idea of the nature of the messages shared, saying: “All content in the log is reported as explicitly racist, homophobic, sexist, ableist and Islamophobic.”
He added, “All respondents failed to challenge each other in relation to the content posted.”
The panel heard that PC Jeer had posted a picture of a boy in a hoodie with the caption “monkey in the jungle” and a picture of a penis.
The force was put on special measures
Vishal Misra quizzed PC Jeer about a meme showing a picture of a “G******” toy with the caption “A preview of Meghan’s wedding dress.”
PC Jeer replied that even then he didn’t think it was funny.
“The fact that someone out there can pull this off isn’t a pretty thing, but I posted this in the group to avoid laughing about it [to show] that there are people out there who still do it and find it funny,” he said.
The G***** is a black fictional character characterized by black skin, white-rimmed eyes, large red lips, and frizzy hair.
Described in the 19th-century book it comes from, the doll was “a horrid sight, the blackest gnome” and has since represented a racist caricature of black people in the US, Europe and Australia.
The trio all belonged to a unit at Bethnal Green Police Station and were part of a WhatsApp group called But They Promised, which was active between January and December 2018.
Another meme was added to PC Hefford showing “two black men next to two white women”.
The title read: “Girls trip to Jamaica. One came back pregnant, the other came back with syphilis. (Just kidding, they are both still missing.)”
When asked why that was funny, he replied: “In general, Jamaica is notorious for not being a safe place to go out alone.
“There’s a pretty big gang community there, and they kidnap people. So it’s just a play on words. Just a stupid meme.”
The trio worked at Bethnal Green Police Station
When asked if he thought the meme was inappropriate, PC Hefford said it could be “considered” to be so.
He added: “If you want to take the racist side, that’s inappropriate from that perspective.
“It’s perception, isn’t it? People’s perception of different things.”
The last meme PC Hefford was confronted with was: “Everyone is so politically correct these days. You can’t even say, “Black paint,” you have to say, “Tyrone, can you please paint this wall?”
The official replied at the hearing: “It’s an attempt at political correctness, isn’t it?
“People say political correctness has gone insane, and it’s a game with it.”
He went on to highlight “acceptable humor” as one of the biggest societal changes between 2018 and today, citing the lines and scenes from Only fools and horses and Faulty Towers that had to be taken out.
The judgment goes on.