Update: 11 April 2012
Merseyside Police issued the following statement today which was sent to The Electronic Intifada by email:
Merseyside Police can confirm that a 19-year-old woman from Wirral was charged with five offences under the Malicious Communications Act 2003 on Tuesday, 10 April after being arrested on suspicion of posting racially offensive comments on Twitter. The Force started an investigation after receiving complaints from the public about tweets posted by an individual registered on the site that had caused offense.
Merseyside Police in the UK have reportedly arrested a former cadet who shocked Twitter users with anti-Muslim outbursts, racial epithets and tweets expressing joy at the deaths of more than a hundred Pakistani soldiers in an avalanche.
On 6 April, Amy Graham posted a photo of herself and a man, both of them wearing police cadet uniforms, via her now deleted Twitter account @AmyJgra.
Then on 9 April, Graham engaged in a tirade of tweets about how much she hated Muslims, using extremely offensive language.
Among the statements from the once budding police officer were, “I hate Muslims with a passion,” and referring to “Allah,” the Arabic word for God, using vulgar language. She also referred to one Twitter user using a common racial epithets and wrote, “An avalanche buries Pakistanis.. Haha f**k yes!”
Maev McDaid, President of the Liverpool Guild of Students, was one of several people who complained to police about Graham’s racist Twitter outbursts.
McDaid told me by email that Merseyside Police visited her this morning to take a statement.
According to McDaid, Graham “spent last night in custody,” and had already previously been dismissed from the cadets for poor behavior. McDaid said she’d been told that the police could charge Graham with “racial aggravation.”
McDaid pointed out that Merseyside Police had wrestled with allegations of racism related to the discovery that some officers’ names appeared on a leaked list of members of the far-right British National Party.
McDaid said she was told she was the only person from Liverpool to make a complaint, which she had done citing the welfare of the students she represents.
Contacted by telephone, Merseyside Police couldn’t immediately confirm the details of the Graham case given to me by McDaid, but said they would respond within 24 hours.
Yesterday, after the tweets were brought to my attention, I also made a written complaint to Merseyside Police, the regional force centred in the UK’s northern city of Liverpool – the location with which Graham’s tweets were labeled.
The complaint included screenshots of all the offensive tweets.
Within hours I received a response stating, “Merseyside Police are already aware of this incident, and we can assure you a full investigation is already in progress.”
In December, NBC’s Spanish-language network Telemundo, dismissed a man who had been using the Twitter handle @hotchulo to tweet extremely offensive anti-Muslim comments while identifying himself as a “social media coordinator” for the channel.