Met Police officers ‘shared Meghan Markle joke in racist, sexist and homophobic Whatsapp group’

·3-min read
The Whatsapp group included an offensive post about Meghan Markle, the tribunal heard  (AFP/Getty)
The Whatsapp group included an offensive post about Meghan Markle, the tribunal heard (AFP/Getty)

Three Metropolitan police officers exchanged racist messages on a Whatsapp group, including a comparison between Meghan Markle and a g*******, a tribunal 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 offensive messages, it is claimed.

The allegations amount to gross misconduct, which will result in the officers being sacked if the allegations are proven.

Giving an idea of the kind of messages shared, Vishal Misra of the Metropolitan police said: “All of the content in the log is submitted to be explicitly racist, homophobic, sexist, ableist and Islamaphobic.”

He added: “All of the respondents failed to challenge one another with regards to the content being posted.”

The panel heard that PC Jeer posted an image of a young boy in a hoodie captioned as a “monkey in the jungle” and superimposed with an image of a penis.

The force has been placed on special measures (PA)
The force has been placed on special measures (PA)

Vishal Misra quizzed PC Jeer about a meme that showed the image of a “g*******” toy that was captioned: “A sneak preview at Meghan’s wedding dress.”

Responding to this, PC Jeer said he did not find this funny even at the time.

“The fact that someone is out there can create this, that is not a nice thing to do but I posted this on the group not to laugh at it but [to show] that there are people out there who still do this and find it funny,” he said.

The g******* is a black fictional character, characterised by black skin, eyes rimmed in white, big red lips and frizzy hair.

In the 19th-century book it originates from, the doll was described as “a horrid sight, the blackest gnome”, and has since represented a racist caricature of black people across USA, Europe and Australia.

The trio were all part of a unit at Bethnal Green Police Station and were members of a WhatsApp group called “But They Promised” that was active between January and December 2018.

Another meme was put to PC Hefford which showed “two black men lying next to two white women”.

It was captioned: “Girls’ trip to Jamaica. One came back pregnant, the other came back with syphilis. (Just kidding, they're both still missing.)”

Questioned on why that was funny, he replied: “In general, Jamaica is known to not be a safe place to go out on your own.

“There is a quite big gang community there and they do kidnap people. So it’s just a play on words. Just a silly meme.”

The trio worked in Bethnal Green Police station (PA)
The trio worked in Bethnal Green Police station (PA)

Asked whether he thought the meme was inappropriate PC Hefford said it could be “considered” so.

He added: “If you are going to take the racial sort of side of it it’s inappropriate from that point of view.

“It’s perception isn’t it? People’s perception of different things.”

The final meme that PC Hefford was confronted with was one which read: “Everyone is so politically correct these days. You can’t even say, ’Black paint,’ you have to say, “Tyrone can you please paint that wall?”

The officer responded in the hearing: “It’s having a go at political correctness, isn’t it?

“People say political correctness has gone mad and it’s a play on that.”

He went on to highlight “acceptable humour” as one of the biggest societal changes between 2018 and today, citing the lines and scenes of Only Fools and Horses and Faulty Towers that have had to be taken out.

The tribunal continues.

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