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Racist e-mails: Four Aussie cops dismissed

October 29, 2010 18:42 IST

Four Australian police officers have been sacked and seven others fined for circulating 'highly offensive' racist e-mails, including one in which they were caught joking about electrocution of an Indian man and suggesting it could be "a way to fix the Indian student problem" in Melbourne.

Two sergeants, one leading senior constable and one senior constable in Australia's Victoria state were dismissed over circulation of the e-mails, which police say contained "highly offensive material" of a sexual, violent, homophobic and racist nature, 'The Age' newspaper reported on Friday.

Seven other members, all ranging between the ranks of senior constable and senior sergeant, have been fined between 500 dollars and 3000 dollars and placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond, it quoted Victoria Police as saying.

The dismissals are part of 'Operation Barrot', which was established in June to investigate a series of e-mails that had been circulated before December 18 last year.

Assistant Commissioner Emmett Dunne, of the Ethical Standards Department, said "...we have a duty to ensure that our members act with the utmost professionalism and integrity. Given the circumstances, the action we have taken was both appropriate and entirely justified."

The latest disciplinary action against the police officers follows the dismissal of four of their colleagues in August as part of 'Operation Barrot'. Dunne said it was important to remember that these issues related to a small minority of police members.

All of the members have 14 days to appeal their dismissal at the Police Appeals Board and show cause as to why they should not be dismissed. The police officers had circulated racist e-mails, including sickening video footage showing the death of an Indian man, who was travelling on the roof of a crowded train in India, 'The Herald Sun' had earlier reported.

When the train stopped at a station the man stood up and touched an overhead power cable. Onlookers screamed as he was electrocuted, showed the clip contained in one of the offending e-mails.

The e-mail containing the shocking video began circulating in the Victoria Police computer system and racist comments were added, suggesting "this might be a way to fix the Indian student problem".

Outraged over the racist slurs by top Australian police officers, Indian government had summoned Canberra's High Commissioner Peter Varghese and sought an explanation on the issue, saying such an attitude was "shocking" and a "matter of serious concern".

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