Essex Police make an arrest in connection with West Ham fans video
Essex Police have arrested a 55-year-old man at London Stansted Airport today, Friday, November 5, as he stepped off a flight from Belgium. He has been taken into custody on suspicion of a hate crime, to be questioned over his possible involvement in a video that went viral on social media, yesterday, Thursday evening.
In the video, a group of West Ham United supporters can be seen and heard chanting disgraceful racial abuse at a Jewish passenger who is walking down the plane’s aisle to take his seat, while the aircraft was on the runway. The incident occurred as the fans were flying to watch the Hammers play Genk in the Europa League. The teams drew 2-2.
Tom Simons, the Essex Police Chief Superintendent who is in charge of the investigation, said, “Essex Police will not tolerate racism or discrimination of any kind. Having been made aware of the incident this morning, officers worked quickly to secure an arrest at the earliest possible opportunity”.
A West Ham spokesperson commented on the situation, “West Ham United is appalled by contents of the video circulating on social media and condemns the behaviour of the individuals involved”.
They added, “The club is liaising with the airline and relevant authorities to identify the individuals. We continue to be unequivocal in our stance – zero-tolerance approach to any form of discrimination. Any individuals identified will be issued with an indefinite ban. Equality, diversity, and inclusion are at the heart of the club. We do not welcome any individuals who do not share those values”.
As soon as the video was broadcast online, there were calls for the culprits to be arrested. Among them was Ian Austin, a former Labour MP, and a life peer in the House of Lords, who posted on Twitter, “Disgusting. That’s not an ‘anti-Tottenham song’, it’s anti-Semitic. The poor guy. It’s racist abuse. Why weren’t they kicked off the flight?”.