A London Cycling Campaign adviser who has helped introduce low traffic neighbourhoods has been suspended after launching a “racist” tirade accusing black motorists of being “gangster” high on drugs.
Simon Still, a key campaigner for the pro-cycling charity known as LCC, used social media to describe “young black men in silver Mercs” as having “obvious anger management issues”.
The charity has launched an “urgent” investigation amid claims his comments prove the Government policy of introducing road closures and pop-up cycle lanes is being used as a form of “white middle class gentrification” in the capital.
Mr Still, who works as LCC’s infrastructure database coordinator, posted his comments on Twitter after becoming embroiled in rows with three separate motorists while out on his bike.
The tweets singled out black motorists as “young thugs driving cars aggressively and dangerously”.
He wrote: “These are the same guys driving at 60mph up my 20mph residential street. They’re probably the same ones carrying knives and stabbing people.”
He asked: “What is wrong with young black men in silver Mercs in London” before urging police to “take their cars away”.
He added: “I’m guessing they’d all blood test positive for cannabis.”
Another tweet read: “I’m guessing these are all gangsters – they’re driving around during the day in £30k+ cars with obvious anger management issues. I don’t think they’re on the 9-5 work treadmill.”
The tweets were written two years ago after Mr Still, 49, claimed he was cut up by one motorists, then looked “wrong” at another who threatened him, and finally someone drove at him.
When admonished on social media for using offensive racial stereotypes, Mr Still wrote: “This isn’t a race thing – it’s about young thugs driving cars aggressively and dangerously. In South West London they’re mostly black… in Essex/Norfolk/South Wales they’re white.”
His comments, which came to light last week, prompted Tim Briggs, a Conservative Lambeth councillor, to write to town hall bosses, urging them to sever links with Mr Still, who was in charge of the Lambeth section of the LCC charity at the time he posted his messages.
Mr Still had attended meetings with the council cabinet to promote controversial ‘low traffic neighbourhoods’ (LTNs).
The letter accuses the local authority of being “heavily influenced” by Mr Still who is seen as a “source of authority and advice” despite his “racist slurs”.
Councillor Briggs also wrote how road closures that Mr Still had helped introduce have “displaced” traffic from affluent areas to main roads “which disproportionately affects people on lower incomes including people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.”
Mr Still, who lives in Lambeth in a house estimated to be worth £1.6 million, has been a prominent cycling campaigner who helped create a road sign celebrating roads being closed to cars. His Twitter account shows him wearing a T-shirt stating: ‘Evil Cycling Lobby – Lifetime Member’. Mr Still declined to comment.
Rosamund Kissi-Debrah, whose daughter Ella died after a fatal asthma attack triggered by air pollution and who has campaigned against LTNs over concerns they shift traffic to poorer areas, accused Mr Still of “awful stereotyping”.
“When Mr Still says the word ‘black people’ and doesn’t say ‘some black people’ he is talking about all black people,” she said.
“Lambeth is a very multicultural borough. He really should have thought first before tweeting.”
Kevin Hylton, emeritus professor of equality and diversity in sport and education at Leeds Beckett University and chairman of the Sheffield Race Equality Commission, said: “Mr Stills has shared racist views, and in those moments a disposition that belies the trust Londoners place in organisations like LCC to treat them fairly.
“Last year British Cycling made a very clear statement about black lives and the need to rid their sport of racism.”
He added how the “ill-informed tirades” have set back the “democratisation of cycling” and undermined the “good thing” he was doing by promoting LTNs.
The LCC said: “We have recently received a number of complaints about a tweet by LCC staff member Simon Still, published prior to him joining LCC.
“LCC takes such issues extremely seriously, and Simon Still is currently suspended until the outcome of an urgent internal hearing.”
A Lambeth Council spokesman said Mr Still’s comments were “unacceptable”.
Calvin Robinson, a political adviser on race relations, said: “This wasn’t a case of someone misspeaking, this is an entire thread based on racial stereotypes. It has somehow become acceptable for the hard-Left to be overtly racist towards people they disagree with. When did this happen?
“I’m not a proponent of cancel culture, and I’m not campaigning for Simon to lose his job, but I do think he should publicly apologise for the vile messages he put out there. Then it’s our job to forgive and move on.
“We have to let these people know racism – of all forms – is unacceptable.”
Cristo Foufas, a Lambeth resident and LTN opponent who hosts a Talk Radio show where the tweet was revealed, said Mr Still’s comments demonstrated the “middle-class thinking they can inflict their racist views on one of the multicultural parts of London”.
— to www.telegraph.co.uk