A Metropolitan Police officer who broke a black father’s leg in front of his children has been jailed after a judge said that the case was a “clear case of racial profiling”.
Charlie Harrison, 39, attacked Carl Abrahams, 47, as he left a graveyard with his two sons, aged 13 and 16, who had been placing flowers on their mother’s grave in Forest Gate, east London, on New Year’s Eve 2018.
Harrison kicked Abrahams in the knee, causing a fracture that left him on crutches for three months, a court heard.
The serving officer was in plain clothes and had approached the victim after pulling over in an unmarked patrol car at about 2.15pm, Southwark crown court heard.
Judge Gregory Perrins jailed Harrison, who was attached to Scotland Yard’s Violent Crime Task Force, for two years and three months after a jury convicted him of causing grievous bodily harm.
The judge said that the case “was a clear case of racial profiling”, according to the Daily Mail. “I am satisfied that had they have been white you would have driven by without disturbing them,” he added.
The court heard that Harrison approached the family and used a “leg sweep” to knock Abrahams to the ground.
He had made no move to disclose himself as a police officer and threatened a passer-by with arrest if they did not “move along”.
Harrison and his colleagues had been searching for black suspects wanted for violent crimes in the area.
He later told police that he approached the Abrahams family because “you don’t find drugs or weapons by remaining in your car”.
However, Harrison had no grounds to arrest Abrahams and his sons nor did he have a reason to stop and search the family, the judge said.
“They had done nothing wrong. They were simply a family on their way back from a graveyard,” he said.
Abrahams can no longer play any sport and still requires regular physiotherapy three years after the attack, the judge added.
“Even three years later his sons remain in fear of the police and worry they will be targeted because of the colour of their skin. Mr Abrahams believes the reason he was assaulted was [that] he was black.”
Abrahams reported the attack to the Independent Office of Police Conduct in January 2019 and the watchdog decided that Scotland Yard should investigate.
Harrison was charged with GBH in August 2019. He was suspended from duty and now faces disciplinary proceedings.
Commander Paul Betts said: “This matter was subject to a thorough investigation by the Met’s directorate of professional standards and PC Harrison was charged and later convicted by a jury.”
The Met said: “The type of behaviour has no place in our police service and undermines the confidence of the communities we are here to protect.”