A police officer who pulled over a black man driving a Bentley and told him black people in “gangster-style clothing” were more likely to be the targets of similar stops was guilty of no more than clumsy language, according to the police watchdog.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said that while the officer’s comments could have constituted misconduct, they were not made maliciously and came in the context of what it characterised as a lengthy, good-natured exchange during an appropriate traffic stop.
After pulling over DMO Deejay near Piccadilly in central London in January, the Metropolitan police officer told him: “This isn’t racist, it’s a fact. Predominantly, the criminal profile of people who [commit robberies in the area] are black people.
“So, naturally, if you see a car full of black lads, maybe dressed in gangster-style clothing or whatever, when they’re driving down there, they’re getting stopped.”
The incident was caught on camera and the video showed the officer saying: “We work on criminal profiles. Unfortunately, here, the criminal profile for robberies – what we suspect – is IC3 males, generally from Somalia.” IC3 is the police identity code for black people.
The IPCC said it sought to establish whether or not the officer’s comments were appropriate or his actions discriminatory, as well as why the car was stopped.
After completing the independent investigation on Thursday, the commission said its lead investigator had “concluded that the comments made about ‘criminal profiling’ could constitute misconduct. However, in the context of the entire 16-minute conversation, they did not appear to be directed at the man maliciously”.
It found no evidence that the comments were “intentionally discriminatory or targeted”. The IPCC said the stop had been carried out after the car was spotted changing lanes “randomly without indicating” and was appropriate.
Scotland Yard said the officer had received management action and accepted that his language was clumsy. Therefore, the IPCC said, “it was agreed there will be no further action”.
DMO Deejay did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday. But speaking to the Guardian in January, he said he posted the video online to raise awareness, adding that he wanted to work with police.
“I said maybe we can sit down and look at how they are profiling people, and see if we can come to a resolution. They said they wanted to work alongside me, so at least I can get something out of it,” he said.
“It’s frustrating and embarrassing, especially if there’s other people around, because it draws attention to you. If you see a police officer with somebody, you automatically think negative things, don’t you? I’ve come to a point where I’ve lost trust in the police because I don’t know what they’re thinking.”