Posted on June 15, 2022

Ex-West Mercia PC Jailed After Racist Posts Mock George Floyd

BBC, June 14, 2022

A former police constable who posted racist WhatsApp memes mocking the death of George Floyd has been jailed.

James Watts, 31, shared the material in a group chat, which included former colleagues at a Warwickshire prison.

Watts admitted 10 counts of sending a grossly offensive or menacing message by a public communication network and was jailed for 20 weeks.

He was serving with West Mercia Police in 2020 when the offences were committed.

At Birmingham Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, deputy chief magistrate Tan Ikram heard how Watts, of Clifton Road, Castle Bromwich, was charged following a police inquiry into 10 memes posted in May and June 2020.

Watts cooperated with the authorities and accepted he was wrong, Mr Ikram said.

“But the fact remains that over a period of about a month, you continued to post messages which were grossly offensive.”

Mr Ikram also said Watts was previously a prison officer and he had “no doubt you would have received training in relation to diversity and inclusion in that role”.

The deputy chief magistrate stated: “The hostility that you demonstrated on the basis of race makes this offending so serious that I cannot deal with it by a community penalty or a fine.”

West Mercia Police Constable Joann Jinks, 41, is due to stand trial charged with three counts of the same offence.