Police say the people behind the “White Lives Matter” banner committed no crime, sparking outrage after being blown up by the Premier League game between Manchester City and Burnley.
The banner, which read ‘White Lives Matter Burnley,’ was seen dragging a flown plane over Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium on Monday, shortly after players and officials knelt in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The incident sparked an instant outrage as well as a scathing attack on the fans behind him by Burnley, who promised to slap those responsible with lifetime bans.
Burnley fan Jamie Hepple later claimed responsibility for the stunt, but did not defiantly regret it in a message posted on Facebook in which he stated: “I would like to take this moment to apologize … TO ABSOLUTELY F * CKING NOBODY! “
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“Now it’s apparently racist to say that white lives matter“added Hepple, who was photographed alongside Tommy Robinson, founder of the right-wing English Defense League.
However, the Lancashire police looking at the placard have now stated that the trick was not a criminal offense.
“Lancashire Police have been in contact with Greater Manchester Police, the Aviation Authority and the Crown Prosecution Service in regards to the ‘White Lives Matter’ banner that was placed over the Etihad Stadium.” . Chief Superintendent Russ Procter said.
“After evaluating all available information about this incident, we have concluded that no criminal offenses have been disclosed at this time. We will continue to work with our partners at the soccer club and within local authorities.”
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Burnley has promised to remove those responsible and punish them with bans, while club captain Ben Mee said after Monday’s 5-0 loss at Manchester City that he felt “ashamed” and “embarrassed” for the incident
Burnley fan Hepple has removed his social media accounts, although his employer, aerospace component company Paradigm Precision, has said he is conducting an investigation.
“The matter is being taken very seriously and a thorough investigation is being conducted into the facts and possible breaches of a number of the company’s equality, diversity and social media policies.” the company said.
Hepple is believed to be part of Burnley’s right-wing fan group ‘The Suicide Squad’, which allegedly helped crowdfund the overpass.
Blackpool airport, from where the contentious flight took off, has said it will stop operating flag flights after an emergency review.