A Metropolitan Police constable racially abused a suspect who had allegedly been strangled by another officer, a court has heard.

Pc Alex MacFarlane, 53, is accused of telling Mauro Demetrio: "The problem with you is you will always be a n*****", after he was arrested and taken to Forest Gate police station in east London on 11August last year.

Mr Demetrio had become "abusive" to officers after he claimed to have been strangled and pushed up against the window of a police van following his arrest on suspicion of drug-driving, Southwark Crown Court in London was told on Monday.

pc alex macfarlane

The incident happened during last year's riots

He used his mobile phone to record a heated exchange with MacFarlane, in which the officer called him a "scumbag" and a "c***", referred to having sex with the suspect's mother and said he would be dead in five years, it was claimed.

A second recording included the alleged racial insult before MacFarlane said: "Be proud of who you are, don't hide behind your black skin", the court heard.

In a police interview read to the court, MacFarlane admitted getting into a "slanging match" with the suspect and said he remembered Mr Demetrio calling police "white c****".

"I have to confess it became a bit unpleasant," he said.

MacFarlane told police he may have used the word "n*****" but denied intending to cause harassment or distress.

He had previously told other black youths not to hide behind their skin colour and that this usually had a "positive response", he added.

Duncan Atkinson, prosecuting, said MacFarlane's comments had been "deeply hurtful and demeaning" to Mr Demetrio.|

"He said this to put Mr Demetrio in his place by demeaning and distressing him."

Both recordings were played to the jury as Mr Demetrio gave evidence at the trial.

Asked how he felt after hearing the alleged racial insult, Mr Demetrio said: "It made me feel like s*** really. I thought that's it, isn't it? It can't get any worse.

"I really felt violated. I felt really, really low and just violated."

Mr Demetrio said the officers, who were part of a public order unit, appeared "agitated" at the time of his arrest because of rioting which had swept London.

The court heard that Mr Demetrio had also been detained after officers discovered he was wanted on suspicion of the supply or manufacture of drugs and for failing to attend court. No action was taken on the drug-driving arrest.

MacFarlane was charged in April after a U-turn by prosecutors.

The charging decision hinged on mobile phone footage, allegedly taken by Mr Demetrio, from Beckton, east London.

The CPS announcement came after the police watchdog announced a review of a string of complaints about racism at the Metropolitan Police.

MacFarlane denies a charge of racially aggravated harassment.