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article imageVideo: Spanish cop suspended for racist behavior in Ibiza

By Anne Sewell     Dec 28, 2013 in World
Santa Eulalia - A video, allegedly made as a "joke" three years ago, has led now to the suspension of a local police officer in Santa Eulalia, Ibiza in the Balearic Islands of Spain. He was captured insulting a black African street vendor and destroying his goods.
In the video, we see the police officer talking to a street vendor on the phone, telling him that his confiscated goods (a box of counterfeit sunglasses) are fine. He then ends the call with a racist insult to the vendor, laughs and kicks the box of sunglasses across the parking garage, destroying them. In the background we hear a fellow officer, filming the incident on his mobile phone and laughing.
A rough translation of what the officer is saying is:
"Yes, yes, do not worry. Your glasses are fine. Do not worry. We will them return them tomorrow. Good day and goodbye, Señor Negrito."
According to El Mundo (in Spanish), the telephone call was apparently simulated and staged, and the officer was not, in fact, talking to the vendor. However the degrading terms that he uses were caught on camera and appeared on the Internet.
El Economista (Spanish language) reports that when the existence of the video emerged, an emergency committee meeting was called with the officer involved in the incident. At the meeting, the local Mayor, Vicent Mari, described the attitude of the officer as "disrespect to the uniform and public facilities."
In addition to the "irregular handling of material in custody," the city asserted that it "cannot tolerate" and "totally rejects that any of its employees can show a completely degrading and humiliating attitude toward anyone, especially by reason of their race or national origin."
The officer involved took full responsibility for his actions and refused to identify the other officer who made the video using his mobile phone.
He explained that he only pretended to talk to the vendor and that it was "a joke" that got out of hand.
However, officials stated that, "These kinds of expressions and actions are not characteristic of a good development of public relations and are not acceptable, even as a joke."
The inquiry commission stated that there is "sufficient evidence to initiate disciplinary proceedings against the protagonist agent." Until the matter is resolved the agent will be temporarily suspended from his duties for a period that could last up to six months.
Under the law, video acts of this nature may constitute gross misconduct by the Balearic Islands local police force.
During the summer tourist season, many street vendors selling counterfeit wares can be seen on the beaches of Ibiza and the Spanish mainland. Most of them hail from Senegal.
According to a study carried out in Spain, black Africans are around 17 times more likely to be stopped for a police ID check on the streets that other residents or nationals.
More about Spain, Ibiza, Santa Eulalia, street vendor, Racism
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