A Metropolitan police officer has been sentenced to more than two years in prison after he broke a Black man’s knee in what the judge described as a ‘clear case of racial profiling.’
Charlie Harrison appeared at Southwark Crown Court in London on Monday, April 12, following the incident which took place on December 31, 2018.
Carl Abrahams was walking with his two teenage sons in Newham, east London, when they were approached by Harrison, who was wearing plain clothes, on their way back from a visit to the sons’ mother’s grave at Manor Park Cemetery.
Unaware that Harrison was a police officer, Abrahams told the court he pushed past him and kept walking, at which point Harrison kicked his leg and knocked him to the ground, causing him to suffer a fracture in his knee.
As a result of the incident, Harrison faced a five-day trial last month during which he was convicted by majority verdict for causing grievous bodily harm.
Judge Perrins sentenced the officer to two years and three months in prison and said Abrahams and his sons had done nothing wrong and had not been acting suspiciously, suggesting there was no reason for Harrison to approach them.
Addressing the officer during the sentencing, Perrins drew upon evidence heard at the trial and told Harrison he strongly suspected that the reason he stopped Abrahams and his sons was ‘because they were Black.’
He added: ‘Had Mr Abrahams and his sons been white I suspect that you would simply drove on by.’
The judge further noted that as a result of Harrison’s actions, Abrahams’ sons ‘are fearful of the police and believe that they remain at risk of being targeted because of the colour of their skin’ three years later.
Harrison has been suspended from duty at the Met police and will be subject to disciplinary proceedings, with Perrins acknowledging that the loss of his career would be ‘difficult’ for Harrison, but stressing: ‘However, it is no one’s fault but your own.’
In a statement, police commander Paul Betts said Harrison’s actions were ‘found to have fallen well below the standard we expect of our police officers, with a man left badly injured.’
Betts continued: ‘This type of behaviour has no place in our police service and undermines the confidence of the communities we are here to protect.’
Abrahams has had to give up football and running due to the injury sustained during the altercation.
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