A counter-terrorism officer in Thames Valley, United Kingdom, reportedly placed a toy monkey on a black colleague’s desk and asked her to embrace it. He also told her “when the black monkey sings it is your turn to make the tea,” but somehow, a disciplinary panel did not find his actions racist.
Detective Sergeant Andrew Mottau, a member of the South East Counter Terrorism Unit (SECTU), drew significant backlash after a black officer — who happened to be the only black member on the team — accused him of not only forcing her to keep the offensive toy on her desk, but also taunted her with racially charged comments.
"The facts of misconduct are that on, or about August 15, he placed or caused to be placed a black toy monkey on the desk of a black female member of staff, saying words to the effect of 'when the black monkey sings it is your turn to make the tea,’” explained a police spokesperson. “He refused to allow her to move the black monkey, and made various comments to her of a racist, inappropriate and disrespectful nature by reference to the black monkey.”
However, after a four-day misconduct hearing at the Thames Valley Police force's headquarters in Kidlington, Mottau was cleared of gross misconduct. In fact, according to the BBC, he got away with management advice, which is the lowest form of disciplinary action, and a lecture on how he should have realized that toy “could be perceived as offensive.”
The officer claimed he shared the toy to assign tea-making duties to the team members and that the phrase “black monkey” was not used at all.
The panel also concluded the toy was used in “an innocent way” and that the other officer, who was "shocked and offended" to find the monkey on her desk, did not want to participate in the tea round — thus suggesting she overreacted to the situation.
The blatant victim blaming and sheer hypocrisy in this case is mind-boggling, to say the least.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters