Police officer started fighting in Leeds train station and made 'baseless' racism claims when arrested

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A student police officer has been dismissed after getting into a fight in a McDonald's in Leeds and then accusing the officers who apprehended him of being racist.

PC Manjit Mahal was off duty and had drank six pints while out with friends before he went into McDonald's at Leeds Train Station on July 18, 2021.

Another man, named as Mr Hall, entered the takeaway while intoxicated and started acted aggressively towards PC Mahal. This then escalated to the point that Mr Hall punched PC Mahal, who retaliated with a flurry of punches.

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After the two men were separated the altercation continued on the railway concourse, with Mr Mahal and a friend, Mr Doyle, both punching Mr Hall.

Officers from British Transport Police arrived and PC Mahal was "un-cooperative, challenging, abusive and argumentative and accused them of being racist".

The fight started at the McDonald's at Leeds train station.The fight started at the McDonald's at Leeds train station.
The fight started at the McDonald's at Leeds train station.

PC Mahal, who was 32 at the time and still a student officer with just five months experience, also refused to give his details which resulted in his arrest.

A misconduct hearing by West Yorkshire Police found that the claims of racism made by Mr Mahal were "baseless".

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A report of the misconduct hearing, which has been published on the force's website, stated that PC Mahal admitted the charges of gross misconduct but argued that it should not result in a dismissal from the force, but instead a final written warning.

The panel disagreed though, stating that "a sanction of dismissal without notice is the only appropriate and proportionate outcome in this case to reflect the seriousness of the misconduct and to protect the public".

The hearing found that though Mr Hall was indeed the initial aggressor in McDonald's, the fact that PC Mahal and his friend continued punching him on the railway concourse was "clearly not in self-defence but was gratuitous violence".

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It also heard that this fighting was done in front of families and young children.

The panel found that if onlookers knew that PC Mahal was an off-duty police officer then "significant harm would very likely be caused to public confidence in policing".

In mitigation the panel heard that PC Mahal was of good character and well respected in the force.

The panel found that PC Mahal was of high culpability and it needed to impose sanctions "to maintain public confidence in and the reputation of the policing profession as a whole".

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In justifying why PC Mahal should be dismissed immediately, the report reads: "The Panel finds that significant harm would be caused to public confidence in policing by the retention of an officer who has engaged in conduct of a criminal nature, and has then raised the race card to deflect attention from his own culpability."