Police drop investigation into David Starkey interview after historian claimed slavery was not genocide

April Roach
·2 min read
Dr David Starkey was widely condemned for the remarks: PA
Dr David Starkey was widely condemned for the remarks: PA

Police have closed an investigation into an interview with David Starkey in which the historian declared “slavery was not genocide” because “so many damn blacks" survived.

The probe was reviewed by a senior Metropolitan Police officer and after further legal advice from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has been dropped.

Dr Starkey, a prolific author who has fronted a number of BBC documentaries, lashed out at the Black Lives Matter movement in an interview with Brexit campaigner Darren Grimes.

“Slavery was not genocide otherwise there wouldn’t be so many damn blacks in Africa or Britain, would there? An awful lot of them survived," he told Mr Grimes, who did not challenge the comments.

The TV historian was dropped by multiple universities and book publishers after the comments were met with a furious backlash.

Darren Grimes was criticised for not challenging Mr Starkey on his racist comments (PA)
Darren Grimes was criticised for not challenging Mr Starkey on his racist comments (PA)

Commander Paul Brogden from the Met said: “It is the duty of police to assess and, if appropriate, fully investigate alleged offences and the public would expect us to investigate an allegation of this nature.

“We conducted initial inquiries to establish the full circumstances and sought early advice from the CPS. Having had the opportunity to review this, it is no longer proportionate that this investigation continues.

“We have made direct contact with the individuals involved and updated them on this decision.”

Reacting to the news that the case was closed, Mr Grimes said his arrest was “truly chilling”.

Dr Starkey said the investigation was "misconceived" and designed to "misuse the criminal law to curtail the proper freedom of expression and debate".

He added: "This freedom is our birthright; and it is more important than ever at this critical juncture in our nation’s history.

"The collapse of the police investigation is also a personal vindication. Back in July I apologised unreservedly for a deplorable choice of words and paid a significant price.

"Today’s announcement however confirms that nothing that I said was racist in fact or in intent."

Former Home Secretary Sajid Javid took to Twitter to condemn Mr Starkey's racist comments at the time of the interview.

"We are the most successful multi-racial democracy in the world and have much to be proud of," he wrote.

"But David Starkey's racist comments ("so many damn blacks") are a reminder of the appalling views that still exist."

Mail columnist Dan Hodges said the comments demonstrate why there is a need for "some sort of movement".

"People correctly identifying issues with the Black Lives Matter movement," he wrote on Twitter.

"But David Starkey's statement 'Slavery was not genocide, otherwise there wouldn't be so many damn blacks in Africa or in Britain would there?' demonstrates where there's a need for some sort of movement."

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