A white police officer who broke a black man’s leg as he returned with his children from visiting his partner’s grave has been jailed for assaulting him.
PC Charlie Harrison, 39, has been jailed for two years and three months for grievous bodily harm after he “racially profiled” and attacked Carl Abrahams, 47, as he walked home on 31 December, 2018.
Judge Gregory Perrins sentenced Harrison at Southwark Crown Court saying he “strongly suspected” the only reason why the former officer stopped the family that night was because they were black.
Mr Abrahams was walking down the road with his teenage sons and with his hands in his pockets when he was kicked by the Harrison.
Harrison, who denied the charges against him, has been banned from working in the police again or as a teacher.
Mr Abrahams was forced to spend New Year’s Eve in hospital following the incident and had to use crutches for three months due to Harrison’s unprovoked assault.
The trial heard how Harrison was patrolling in an unmarked police car in Forest Gate, east London with two other officers as part of the Violent Crime Task Force.
In front of of PC Harrison’s car was another unmarked car containing three officers which did not stop.
The unmarked cars had been briefed that morning to look for a number of black men who were wanted for violent crimes.
Mr Abrahams, in his 40s, and an independent witness both said PC Harrison pulled up and approached his victim alone without identifying himself.
The family walked past the officer who was blocking their path.
Without saying a word, the officer kicked at Mr Abraham’s knee, knocking him to the ground and fracturing his upper shin.
The other officers jumped out of their cars and threatened to arrest a bystander who confronted the officers.
When interviewed Harrison first claimed he was looking for “drugs and guns”.
At trial he changed his story and said the family “noticed” his car which was “suspicious”.
But he eventually conceded that he had no grounds to carry out a stop and search, as none of the family group had acted suspiciously.
Judge Perrins, told Harrison he had failed to apologise or accept that his use of force was unjustified in any way during the trial.
“They had done absolutely nothing wrong nor had they behaved in any way that could be deemed suspicious,” the judge said.
“They were simply a family returning from a cemetery where they had gone to visit the grave of their partner and mother.
“Having heard the evidence at trial, I strongly suspect that the reason that you stopped Mr Abrahams and his sons was because they were black.
“During the course of the trial your counsel unsuccessfully sought to put before the jury the contents of your daily briefing document which showed that you were looking for a variety of black men each of whom were wanted for violent offences and knife crime.
“Had Mr Abrahams and his sons been white I suspect that you would simply drove on by, this was in my judgement a clear case of racial profiling.”
He went on to say that far from being aggressive as initially suggested at trial, footage of the incident shows Mr Abrahams’ kids were “clearly shocked, frightened and deeply concerned about their father”.
The judge rejected suggestions to sentence Harrison on the basis that he acted on self-defence as he saw “no basis upon which you could genuinely have thought it necessary to defend yourself from a man walking down the street with his two sons with his hands in his pockets.
“This was a deliberate assault.”
Mr Abrahams no longer plays sport and his sons are still fearful of the police as a result of the unwarranted assault.
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.
“His actions were found to have fallen well below the standard we expect of our police officers, with a man left badly injured.
“This type of behaviour has no place in our police service and undermines the confidence of the communities we are here to protect.”
Harrison has been suspended from duty and will be subject to police disciplinary proceedings, Commander Betts added.