A former Metropolitan police officer was convicted Monday of expressing his thoughts, humor, and opinions in a private WhatsApp group message.
Michael Chadwell, 62, was convicted on Monday of sending a “grossly offensive racist message” in a group chat that included five other former police officers, according to Metro UK. It was a private WhatsApp group chat, where the men sent each other whatever they wanted because it was private and they weren’t planning any terrorist activities against others. In fact, Chadwell served in the Met’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command and Counter Terrorism Command.
But apparently sending a joke about parrots was enough for Chadwell to be convicted based on a relative construct. An image sent by Chadwell, along with an image of multicolored parrots, read: “‘Why do we cherish the variety of colour in every species… but our own?’ – underneath which a comment in response said ‘because I have never had a bike stolen out of my front yard by a parrot’.”
A former Met officer has been found guilty of sending an offensive racist message following a BBC Newsnight investigation.https://t.co/6e0X7msQzW
— BBC London (@BBCLondonNews) November 6, 2023
Is the joke funny? No. Is it racist? It definitely is given the context. But does it warrant potentially five men’s lives being ruined? Absolutely not. And definitely not under any type of free speech concept Britain pretends to still have. (RELATED: Europe Threatens To Ban Twitter For Allowing Free Speech)
Chadwell unfortunately tried to defend the joke as not “racist,” when he probably should have focused on the fact he sent a private message via a Meta-owned company and exercised his right to free speech.
He should have focused on not allowing the City of London’s Magistrate’s Court to eradicate any sense of safety we can now feel when communicating with our families. I don’t think I’ve ever said anything worthy of arrest to my family via WhatsApp. But now I’m terrified some faceless monster in a position of unelected authority is going to destroy the lives of everyone I love because we communicate openly with each other.
Why isn’t Britain losing their freaking minds over the precedent set here? Yes, Chadwell is arguably wrong to be racist, and his mindset is disgusting … but he’s not a criminal and he didn’t commit a crime. (RELATED: ‘Happily’: JK Rowling Says She’d Do Prison Time Over Transgender Views)
If you think this same level of abject insanity and tyranny isn’t coming to America soon, I hope you’re right. But if history has taught us anything, it’s that those we give our power to will eventually use it against us. People have been murdered, imprisoned, and their lives ripped from their hands for far, far less before … and I can’t see any reason why the same won’t happen again.