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'Clear case of racial profiling': Police officer jailed for breaking Black father’s leg in front of sons after visit to mother’s grave

Ross McGuinness
·3-min read
PC Charlie Harrison was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court to two years and three months in prison. (Metropolitan Police/PA)
PC Charlie Harrison was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court to two years and three months in prison. (Metropolitan Police/PA)

A police officer has been jailed for breaking a Black father’s leg in front of his sons after they visited their mother’s grave.

PC Charlie Harrison, 39, was sentenced on Monday to two years and three months in prison for grievous bodily harm in what a judge called “a clear case of racial profiling”.

Southwark Crown Court heard that Harrison, from the Metropolitan Police’s Violent Crime Task Force, attacked Carl Abrahams, 47, in front of his teenage sons after they laid flowers at his partner’s grave at Manor Park Cemetery in Forest Gate, Newham, east London, on New Year’s Eve in 2018.

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At about 2.15pm, the plain clothes officer, who had been on a patrol in an unmarked police car, approached Mr Abrahams and used a “leg sweep” to kick him in the knee, knocking him to the ground, injuring him so severely he was on crutches for three months.

Judge Gregory Perrins told Harrison: “I am quite sure that the only reason that you stopped Mr Abrahams is because he was Black.”

Metropolitan Police officer Charlie Harrison has been jailed. (Metropolitan Police)
Metropolitan Police officer Charlie Harrison has been jailed. (Metropolitan Police)

“Had Mr Abrahams and his sons been white I suspect that you would simply drove on by. This was in my judgment a clear case of racial profiling.”

Harrison had been convicted by majority verdict of grievous bodily harm on 26 March after a five-day trial at Southwark Crown Court.

The court heard that Mr Abrahams suffered a fracture at the top of his shin bone involving the knee, and is still in pain to this day.

The court heard Harrison had “no grounds” to arrest Mr Abrahams or his sons, aged 13 and 16, or to carry out a stop and search.

“They were simply a family returning from a cemetery where they had gone to visit the grave of their partner and mother,” said Judge Perrins.

During the trial, Harrison said he thought Mr Abrahams was going to attack him, but the judge rejected this claim of self-defence.

General views of Southwark Crown Court in south London.
Police officer Charlie Harrison was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court in London. (PA)

“I do take the view that this was an abuse of power. You were purporting to use your powers as a police officer when you kicked him,” said Judge Perrins.

He said Mr Abraham’s two children “had to watch their father being kicked to the ground without justification by a police officer”.

The court heard the incident “has had a profound impact upon both of them”.

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Mr Abrahams said his sons are fearful of the police and believe they are at risk of being targeted because of the colour of their skin.

Commander Paul Betts said the actions of PC Harrison, who is suspended from duty, “were found to have fallen well below the standard we expect of our police officers”.

He said: “This type of behaviour has no place in our police service and undermines the confidence of the communities we are here to protect.

“Following PC Harrison’s conviction, he will now be subject to disciplinary proceedings.”

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