Black London firefighter beaten, tazed and charged for offering assistance to cops had his complaint buried

London's Metropolitan police are at the centre of another set of awful racism allegations, the tenth in three weeks. Edric Kennedy-Macfoy is a black London fireman who trained as a police constable. While coming home late one night, dressed in a suit, he stopped to offer assistance to a policeman after seeing a young black man throw a rock at the officer's van. Before he could speak, he says the officer in the van shouted "Fuck off you prick" at him. He moved on to a line of police officers who were facing a group of unruly young people to offer his assistance to them and to complain about the abuse from the van-driver. Before he could speak to them, he says the officers shouted abuse at him, then pulled him bodily out of his car through the window. He says he showed the officers his empty hands and calmly repeated that he was a fireman offering assistance. He says the police demanded that nearby people stop recording the skirmish with their phones ("Turn those fucking cameras off"). Then he was tazed, without warning (a fact the officer who shot him does not contest).

Then it got worse. The police then arrested Kennedy-Macfoy and asked the prosecution service to prosecute him, which would have cost him his job if they'd been successful. When he complained, the police buried his paperwork and did not refer it to the independent complaints commission (they say it was an oversight). The firefighter says he only complained because the police sought to prosecute him, saying that he would have settled for an apology otherwise because "People make mistakes; you've got good cops and bad cops." When his case went to trial, several police gave testimony against him.

He says that he has a history of being pulled over by the police while driving his Audi ("Oh, you know, loads of these cars get stolen, so we just need to check you are who you say you are, blah blah blah") but that when his white co-worker borrows his car, he doesn't get pulled over.

Kennedy-Macfoy's solicitor, Shamik Dutta, of Bhatt Murphy solicitors, voiced concerns at his client's allegations, saying: "The question many people are bound to ask is why an off-duty firefighter, wearing a pinstriped suit and offering assistance to the police, should have been dragged from his car, shot with a Taser, locked up for many hours and then prosecuted for an offence he did not commit by the very officers he was trying to help.

"Our client now expects a comprehensive investigation which examines what role his race has had in the horrific events he has been forced to suffer."

Black fireman says he was abused and Tasered by Met


  1. Rise up, America! We have been invaded by a cadre of hoodlums armed with the latest torture devices and chemicals. Just like Britain.

      1. I was thinking of a device called a bullshit detector.  We have VR technology now.  All this thing does is listen to what people are saying, then when it detects something off-message it shouts “BULLSHIT!!!”

        Officer to black driver: “Is this your vehicle?”
        Driver: silence

        1.  Somebody needs to get right on this!! Every elected official and public servant will then be required to carry one while on duty.

    1. It will indeed be political, but it will be started and led by the populace, not by politicians.

  2. that old chestnut about the car being stolen is one that my friends and I encountered in North London 20 years ago. None of us in the car were black but they used the excuse to get everyone out and search us for no reason and get one of my friends on the ground and reduce him to tears. Tasers should be banned. And Edric should be compensated and the officers involved sacked.

      1. Tasers are perfectly fine as long as they’re used as intended.  That is, if they’re used as an alternative to shooting someone with a firearm.  The problem is that too many police use them as an alternative to talking to someone.

  3. In inner city London the Metropolitan Police Service are getting very trigger happy with tasers. I’ve never seen them tase anyone but black men. Must just be a coincidence. As they say ‘serving the community’, eh?

    1. In the USA they just shoot ’em.  Britain 0 USA 1, in the awful macabre competition of brutality and racism.

      1.  There seems to be an assumption amongst the Boingers that British police don’t have guns.  Sure, your average bobby doesn’t carry one (like in the US), but we have plenty of police with guns, and they’ve already proven several times that they can’t be trusted with them any more than an armed gang.

        1.  In the US of A the average Joe doesn’t carry a gun. 
          Don’t know about Bobby. 
          The average cop certainly does pack heat. 

          1.  In the USA, every cop packs heat.  Only small town constables and the occasional sheriff don’t.

    2. Am I mistaken or has Britain in the last few decades descended faster and faster down the hole towards a police state?  I know that term gets tossed around too easily but between the cameras, openly hostile police, internal spying and now the draconian Olympic venue laws it doesn’t seem much better than China.  What is driving this?  Are the people demanding this?

  4. “People make mistakes; you’ve got good cops and bad cops.”
    Ahh, he’s forgetting the most important rule of the police state. Cops are not people; cops are The Law. The Law cannot be mistaken.

    1.  He’s being extremely civil with that line, it really struck me. 

      ‘People make mistakes’, sure, and when those mistakes involve people with authority violently attacking innocent people because of their race they should be imprisoned for a very long time.  I certainly wouldn’t have been as civil.

  5. I suppose he should feel lucky that he doesn’t live in Florida? Or Texas? Et cetera. Jeez. That’s pretty messed up. I have a friend who is a) black, and b) a US Marshal who has told me similar (not as violent) tales of attempting to render aid to local law enforcement.

    1. That’s the moral of so many stories, maybe we should try for some new stories with more pleasant morals.

        1. Nick take candy bar from vending machine, hands it to Murphy and says, “Here’s your god damn dinner!”

  6. Back in the 70s there was a moderately famous quip – Help the police. Beat yourself up.  Happily, things have moved … on … since …

  7. How many cops does it take to change a light bulb?

    None, they just beat the room for being black.

    1.  We have met the enemy, and they’re…. us? An Australian Aboriginal man was tazered 12 times while in the lockup. I think we should actually have More police, that way there’s more of them to share the shifts, and they can actually go on vacations and calm down. There should also be a culture of being able to say “I’m too pissed off at this guy to follow the rules, you take over or I’m going to get into trouble for injuring him.” Of course, you need to have enough other police around to trade off like that, rather than the one person having to deal with an inmate for hours on end.

      1. Shouldn’t be necessary.  All you need to accomplish what we want is a culture of being held responsible for your actions, instead of the typical police closing ranks and cover-up.  Hospital staff deal with just as much stress and abuse on longer shifts, and they don’t pull this crap.

        (One of the best men I ever knew joined the Met a few years back. Smart, tactful, fit, hard-working, dedicated to his job and they were glad to have him; he was a member of a minority community with whom they had very poor connections, and therefore much valued as a way ‘in’. He quit and moved abroad after less than a year; police culture too brutal and self-congratulating for him to put up with. )

        1. I’d prefer a culture where we didn’t need to hold them responsible for things like this, because they stopped being inclined to beat people.

    1.  Oddly enough, that clip is not *quite* as accurate now as then. When I first saw it, I swear it included the line:

      “Are you aware, Savage, that Mr Kodogo is of African origin?”
      “Is he, Sah? I thought he was a nig-nog, sah.”

      I had an audio recording of the show and it’s in my head like that – though I can’t find any internet evidence to verify this..

    2. For anyone wondering, this is a skit from Not The Nine O’Clock News (BBC, circa 1980) with Griff Rhys Jones and Rowan Atkinson.

      For some bizarre reason, when I google “constable savage” (without the quotes), I get a total of two hits, neither being the video. Google failing to index something on youtube? Is that even possible?

  8. Now I’m imagining if all the firefighters and police switched jobs. I’m guessing the police would actually become effective and professional, but it would be offset by every major city burning to the ground, and any survivors of the fires being tazed/shot/arrested for the crime of daring to approach firefighters or shout for help.

    1.  I dunno; firefighters in the UK tend to spend most of their time working out or running a side business in all the free time they get.

      I have nothing against firemen, but it’s a very sought after job for a reason.

      But I suppose there is a really important difference between fire fighters and police officers.  Most firefighters want to save peoples lives and be the hero; whereas police officers like authority and cracking skulls.  So you’re probably right.

      1. Too many firemen in the US don’t exercise (so they constantly hurt themselves when they do have to move) and spend the rest of their time calculating when they can retire.

        Then there are too many policemen in the US police who focus on getting “detail” work (standing by manholes or guarding events) and spend the rest of their time calculating when they can retire.

        Finally there are the guys who “fall” when no one is looking and go on disability for the rest of their lives.

      2. The free time? Do you mean free time on the job or free time off the job?

        If you mean free time off the job, firefighters average a normal working week – if I remember correctly I think they’re actually contracted to 42 hours per week. Their shift pattern may give blocks of free time but this is offset by the unsociable hours they are in work. I’ve worked (not as a firefighter) 36 hours averaged per week in a four week rotation with one week out of every four completely off and I assure you the free time just didn’t make up for the nights and weekends I was in work and the days I spent sleeping after a shift.

        If you mean free time on the job, that’s just bobbins. Firefighters work hard and the community work they do in the UK – not to mention the obvious heroics – is fantastic. The number of fatalities caused by fires in the UK has dropped year-on-year from 736 in 1995 to 388 in 2010/11. The statistics related to fire prevention and other areas that the fire service work in are similarly impressive. These men and women are professionals who do a good job.

  9. Given the number of stories being unearthed about disgusting behaviour by people we are supposed to be able to trust, I think the ‘bad apple’ excuse is wearing a bit thin.

    My new default attitude with cops is that they’re all bad until they prove otherwise. Treat them with extreme caution.

    1. You mean treat “them” the same way as they treat “us”? The only positive fact about the police in this story is that at least they weren’t armed with a (more) lethal weapon.

    2. The whole “bad apple” metaphor is constructed to excuse unacceptable behavior.  Sure, it’s unacceptable, but that person is “just a bad apple.”   (See also No True Scotsman.)

      The winning counterargument is not to claim that all the apples are rotten (maybe they are, maybe they aren’t, you pretty much have to become a cop to find out) but that any “rotten” behavior is unacceptable from a public employee charged with protecting us and enforcing the law.

      It’s funny that we really don’t apply the apples metaphor to that many areas in life.   Literally, a fast food restaurant that serves a few e coli burgers and kills some kids can’t shrug it off as “just a few bad burgers.”  What are you gonna do, they can’t all be safe!   We don’t even bother to rationalize about the overall teacher or clergyman base when we hear about child abuse (“You know, most teachers DON’T molest their students!”)   The fact that these things happen at all is considered bad enough.

      So it’s really quite strange, that the apples metaphor comes up so consistently when we talk about cops, as if you have to prove that a majority of cops are bad before we even admit there is a problem.

    3. They’re not bad, but the whole system and culture is fucked up. We need a new model.

      My niece is in the RCMP. She talks all the time about the ‘shitrats’ she has to deal with every day. I haven’t said anything to her about it yet, and in fact I’m not entirely sure what to say. There is a reason why each of those people are that way, and it has a lot to do with poverty and abuse. But seeing it all the time, every day, can skew your perception and make you think there is a difference between them and us. In fact, maybe there is, but it has to do with their software, not their hardware. And we made them that way.

  10.  Fear of the police will reduce calls to the police, giving the police more time to sit on their ass.

    Sounds like a plan.

  11. Every time I hear about something like this, or the many similar examples of incidents in the USA (except those often involve firearms and death), I’m tempted to lose faith in police and humanity in general. I do try to remember though that we don’t hear much about all the good police doing their job day in, day out; they’re doing what we expect, so they never make the news. These sorts of incidents, as horrifying as they are, are an aberration, I expect.

    I will admit to being a white middle class male between the ages of 18 and 35. Thus naivety on my part about issues of racism (or sexism, classism, ageism, homophobia, etc.) is certainly a possibility.

    1. Here is the flip side.  We ALSO never hear about abusive cops get pulled up on felony abuse under color of authority charges.  We never hear about bad cops getting run out of the department on a rail, deprived of pension and being unable to work in law enforcement again.

      Police departments do not need to be perfect to earn my respect, they must simply prove by _actions_ that they take their mandate seriously, and will not tolerate abuse of power in their own ranks.  Since they are (so far) universally unwilling to do that, I am forced to conclude that all of them are thugs and petty dictators in uniform unless or until shown otherwise. 

      Intellectually, I know that most of them are hard working, decent people trying to do a difficult job.  As a practical matter, however, I have to treat each of them like they are a dangerous, unpredictable psychopath.  Giving them the “benefit of the doubt” leaves me open to being beaten, tased, or charged with a crime I did not commit – with no reasonable recourse to establish my innocence, or seek justice.  Further, my experience with out of uniform cops hasn’t done much to improve my opinion.  Fully 1/3 of the ones I’ve known well were terribly damaged people in one way or another.  One was a serial adulterer, another abused his spouse, and more than one was a hard core alcoholic… and those are the problems I knew about.  

      Since the departments won’t stand up and protect the community by policing their own ranks, we are left do depend on the good will and good judgement of the people on the streets who routinely look long into the abyss of human depravity.  With no real safegaurds in place, and no meaningful consequences for it, expecting that the abyss will not look back into them is a very dangerous proposition indeed… and I say that as someone whose skin is NOT the wrong color.

    2. * Every time I hear about something like this, or the many similar examples of incidents in the USA (except those often involve firearms and death), I’m tempted to lose faith in police and humanity in general. I do try to remember though that we don’t hear much about all the good police doing their job day in, day out; they’re doing what we expect, so they never make the news. These sorts of incidents, as horrifying as they are, are an aberration, I hope.

      I will admit to being a white middle class male between the ages of 18 and 35. Thus naivety on my part about issues of racism (or sexism, classism, ageism, homophobia, etc.) is certain.

  12. It wasnd about him being black, it was about some asshole not in uniform speaking to _The Law_. We cant have that, lets beat him up.

    1. What they need is a system of patches they require you sew to your clothes to easily identify you as an off duty fireman, police, gypsy, jew…

    1.  Well, firefighters need to be really strong, hauling a 70+ kilo person down a couple flights of stairs on your shoulders isn’t easy if you aren’t built like that guy.

        1.  Well, if you’re going to invest the energy to do squats, deadlifts, and other core building exercises, another half hour for some monster pecs and lats,etc.. probably isn’t gonna be particularly difficult.

          He doesn’t look like a model to me, his abdominals are way too pronounced, they’re go muscles, not show muscles.

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