Following an investigation into a barrage of online racial attacks directed at an unidentified Tottenham player, the Metropolitan Police have detained eight men. Four others were questioned under oath as part of a federal investigation by the Met Police into allegations of using language or actions, or showing written content, with the intent to incite racial hatred. Read more about Eight Men Arrested For Racist Abuse Against Tottenham Players below.
Following Spurs’ 3-1 home loss to Manchester United on April 11, a member of the squad was racially assaulted on Twitter, prompting the inquiry.
The harassment was observed by United’s anonymous monitoring service before it was reported to Manchester police.
The Met’s public order crime team’s Detective Sergeant Matt Simpson said: “This move demonstrates unequivocally that police would not tolerate racial thuggery, even though it occurs online. The tweets, which were all made on Twitter, were obscene and unacceptably offensive. This kind of violent behavior has no place in our society, and we are committed to putting an end to it. With a busy summer of football on the horizon, we’re committed to eliminating racial behavior from the game. Racism has no room in football.
I am grateful for the assistance we have got from our police colleagues around the country and Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. It would be impossible without them. It will be impossible to classify these people and take steps without them.”
Social media – A vehicle for offensive behavior
The arrests send “a clear message that cyberbullying is unacceptable, and those found guilty will face real-life consequences,” according to Kick It Out CEO Tony Burnett.
“On a cultural basis, social media has become a vehicle for offensive behavior. And some people believe it’s acceptable to send abusive messages,” he said.
“We must ensure that cyberbullying is prosecuted and that the offenders are found to the greatest extent possible. These convictions show the police’s dedication to combating online bullying. And we hope that others can consider twice before publishing racist abuse.
It’s also important that we stay focused. We should stay focused on the well-being of those who participate in, watch, or work in football and are subjected to violence. And we will continue to assist those who need it.”
List of Arrests
The following people have been arrested and since released under investigation:
- 22-year-old man from Poole, Dorset
- 26-year-old man from Retford, Nottinghamshire
- 32-year-old man from Swansea, Wales
- 27-year-old man from Warrington, Cheshire
- 20-year-old man from Bristol
- 20-year-old man from Llanelli, Wales
- 25-year-old man from Newport, Wales
- 29-year-old man from Hartlepool, County Durham