Thursday, November 27, 2014

Two British cops chased autistic man 'because it was funny' then one beat him in racist attack, court told

Two police officers chased a severely autistic man in a car 'because it was funny' before one beat him in a racist-fuelled attack, a court heard.

Police constables Christopher Pitts and Christopher Thomas were heard laughing as they drove after Faruk Ali, who was walking in the street in Luton.

Pc Thomas described Mr Ali as a 'f***ing P***' before he got out of the car, ran after Mr Ali, who has the mental age of a small child, and beat him, Aylesbury Crown Court heard.

The officer allegedly rugby tackled Mr Ali before throwing him into some bins and punching him in the face, as he desperately tried to get away.

The pair then got back into their car and drove off when they were confronted by concerned family members.

Both are accused of trying to cover up the motivation for the chase, claiming they were concerned for 33-year-old Mr Ali.

They deny misconduct in public office and perverting the course of justice. Pc Thomas is also charged with racially aggravated common assault and common assault, which he denies.

David Richards, prosecuting, told the court: 'The case against them, which at first may seem extraordinary, is that they chased a vulnerable man for no proper reason whatsoever, that one of them assaulted him and that he did so in part because of racial hostility.

'Then those two accused deliberately mislead those they knew would hear about their conduct in the form of a complaint.'

He said Mr Ali had the mental age of a three or four-year-old and was incapable of living on his own.

The court heard Mr Ali had definite routines and would go to a Day Centre on a Monday and Tuesday.

'Every Thursday he helped to put the bins out,' said Mr Richards.

Faruk Ali, who has the mental age of a three-year-old was left with cuts and bruises after the attack

'He would get up early and put out the bins for his family and neighbours. He had done so for several years and the bin men would call him "Superman"'.

The jury was played a video recording from the officers' car taken at around 8.20am on February 20. The recording shows Mr Ali walking along the street at which point, it is alleged Thomas, 33, says 'F***ing P***.'

The Vauxhall Vectra is then seen on the video turning round and Mr Ali is seen running down the street.

Both officers are apparently heard laughing before stopping at one end of Whitby Road. Pc Thomas then got out as it was a one-way street and Pc Pitts, 39, drove round the other side.

'There was no reason at all for chasing Mr Ali,' said Mr Richards.

'Why they did so can only be discerned from what passed between them...and it seems to be nothing short of because it was funny, because it was entertaining.'

One of Mr Ali's neighbours described seeing Pc Thomas 'rugby tackle' him before throwing him into some wheelie bins and punching him in the face.

As Mr Ali tried to get into his house, Pc Thomas bundled him into the door and onto the ground inside and punched him again, said Mr Richards.

Mr Ali cried for help, drawing his brother and sister to the scene along with other neighbours.

With Pc Pitts now also at the house, the officers claimed they were concerned for Mr Ali as he was not wearing proper shoes and also said they thought he could be a burglar or have a knife.

'It had gone wrong for them and they were trying to justify their actions,' said Mr Richards.

'There was no grounds whatsoever to suspect Faruk of being a burglar or of carrying a knife.'

Mr Ali's brother told the court how he appeared 'terrified' after the alleged attack.

Dhobir Ali said Pc Thomas was acting 'aggressively and shouting' in the aftermath of the incident. He said he was surprised when the officer told him he thought his brother was a robber when he asked him what he was doing.

He told the court his brother had cuts on his face and chin following the incident. 'He was terrified,' Dhobir told the jury of eight women and four men. 'He looked very scared.'

Mr Ali's brother said he asked the officer for his name but he refused to give it to him.

As the two officers returned to their car there were heated exchanges between them and neighbours, with one accusing them of being racist.

A neighbour said the confrontation continued in inside the hallway of the family home with Mr Ali shouting: 'Uma Uma' - Bengali for mum.

On the floor in the hallway Thomas is alleged to have struck Mr Ali again. He ran to the back of the house, followed by the officer but was stopped by his sister who got in between them.

PC Pitts left the car and also went to the house. When asked what they were doing they said Mr Ali may have been a burglar, or a robber and could have had a knife on him and stabbed someone.

When they left ,the officers were followed into the street by family members who asked for their numbers. PC Pitts was recorded as saying: 'You have got to love it haven't you?'

When one said he was going to complain, PC Thomas is heard to say: 'Make a complaint? Do what you want. What do you want a medal?'

After driving away from the scene, Pc Pitts said to his colleague: 'Welcome to Bury Park.' - a comment referring to the area of Luton they were in.

Pc Thomas was then heard saying: 'F***ing doesn't interact with people, don't f***ing let him out,' which Mr Richards said was about Mr Ali.

It is alleged the pair knew there would be a complaint and spoke to senior officers, saying they were concerned for Mr Ali's welfare when they saw him in the street and followed when they saw him running away.

'They mislead their supervising officers because they knew very well they should not have chased Mr Ali that morning,' said Mr Richards.

Thomas, from Welwyn Garden City, Herts., and Pitts, from Bedford, were part of an ANPR [Automatic number plate recognition] unit. Thomas had been part of the unit for three years and Pitts four at the time of the incident and were both thought of highly by their superiors, the court heard.

Original report here

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