Coventry City: 'No evidence' of racism after black men chased and pelted with bottles
11 June 2020, 20:14
Police have said an incident in which two black men were chased in Coventry and hit with bottles was not racially motivated.
Hundreds of Coventry City fans gathered on Tuesday evening to celebrate the club's promotion to the Championship.
But unrest soon broke out, and video shared on social media showed the two men being trapped behind bins and having abuse hurled at them.
Police could be seen trying to protect the pair and shouting "get back!" at the crowd, some of whom were wearing the club's football shirts.
The two men had been accused of carrying knives, but officers found no weapons on them when they conducted a search.
Detectives investigating the disorder have seized CCTV and obtained camera footage and are working hard to identify those involved in the disorder.
#UPDATE | Here's the latest on our investigation into Tuesday night's violence in #Coventry.— Coventry Police (@Coventry_Police) June 11, 2020
We understand many people's perception is that this was a racially motivated incident.
Currently, we don't have formal evidence of a racial element, but we're keeping an open mind. pic.twitter.com/auZVGeYP2R
Although it is not being treated as a racist incident at present, detectives said they are keeping an "open mind" and are appealing to hear from anyone with information to come forward.
Chief Superintendent Mike O’Hara, Coventry commander, said: “Our enquiries are on-going and we would urge anyone who witnessed this disorder, or anyone who can identify those involved, to contact us immediately with information.
"The footage we’ve seen so far shows our officers moving in to protect two young men who were the target of a violent attack from a large crowd.
“Those officers put themselves in harm’s way - in the face of bricks and bottles being thrown at them - in order to protect those two men and prevent the situation from escalating.
“This kind of violence will not be tolerated in our city and I want to assure the public that If any hate crimes are identified we will take action against offenders.
“We are working hard to establish exactly what happened and why and would urge anyone with information to get in touch.
“If anyone does recognise themselves get in contact now as we will be out looking for them at the forthcoming matches or they will get a knock on the door from us when they least expect it."