The comment followed a formal complaint filed with the MET by Luke Gittos, the solicitor representing Grimes, historian David Starkey and the Free Speech Union (FSU), over a hate crime investigation against Grimes and Starkey for “stirring up racial hatred” in a podcast while discussing “Black Lives Matter movements’ views on British history.”
The MET on Oct. 21 dropped the investigation because it was deemed “no longer proportionate” after an internal review.
“I today accuse the Met Police of acting in deference to the Black Lives Matter outfit,” Grimes wrote on Twitter.
“The extraordinary attempt to use the Public Order Act to regulate debate and speech was trial by Twitter: a police force that was influenced by media commentary and postings on social media. I have today issued a formal complaint against the Met Police,” he wrote in another tweet.
“We’re looking forward to your apology, explanation for the actions of your investigating officer, and clarifications from you that you won’t allow this chilling effect on speech and debate to take hold,” he added.
Toby Young, the general secretary of the FSU said the investigation was “a serious mistake.”
“Dr Starkey’s remarks in an interview with Mr Grimes came nowhere near meeting the threshold for stirring up racial hatred, let alone Mr Grimes’s decision to publish them,” Young said in a statement (pdf).
“The Public Order Act 1986 was never intended to regulate speech and debate and using it for that purpose will have a chilling effect on free speech. It is not the police’s job to investigate thought crimes.”
The formal complaint was lodged on Monday about Detective Constable (DC) Imtiaz Shah, the officer who contacted Starkey and Grimes for interviews, and his boss Chief Superintendent Elisabeth Chapple.
The complaint, seen by The Epoch Times, said that Shah’s email correspondence with the council was “prima facie evidence” that the investigation against Grimes and Starkey was “primarily compelled by deference” to the BLM movement, and was “influenced in its interpretation of the evidence by media commentary and postings on social media, as well as the views of those ‘in more prominent positions.’”
Starkey and Grimes were reported and investigated for “stirring up racial hatred” after Starkey made a comment on June 30 on Grimes’ YouTube show “Reasoned.”
During a heated discussion about “the scholarship behind the laudable slogan of Black Lives Matter, compared to the movement seeking to delegitimate [sic] British history,” the historian said “slavery was not genocide, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many damn blacks in Africa or in Britain.”
Both have apologised a few days later, Starkey for the “deplorably inflammatory” words he used, and Grimes for failing to challenge his interviewee over the comment.
The formal complaint quoted Shah’s email as saying Starkey’s comment in the interview “were made against people who are black or of African descent” and “can be defined as hatred against the black and African community, as well as anyone who originates from Africa.”
Shah was also quoted saying it took too long for Grimes to apologise considering it was during a wave of BLM protests.
“DC Shah continued ‘you state that it was only days after the video was uploaded that Mr Grimes made this apology however, the question remains as to why this, bearing in mind of the incidents occurring during this time period (Black Lives Matter movement) had taken this long,’” the complaint reads.
The complaint went on to say that Shah “appears influenced in his interpretation of Mr Grimes’ conduct by the ‘time period’ and what he refers to as ‘Black Lives Matter movement,’” and that it was a theme of Shah’s response that “the Black Lives Matter movement requires deference.”
Gittos said it was unknown whether Shah was “solely responsible for drafting his email or whether he sought assistance from more senior officers.”
He requested in the complaint a formal apology from the MET, as well as documents and records related to the investigation.