TWO teenage friends who posted vile racial abuse to Newcastle United striker Sammy Ameobi on Twitter have received final warnings from the police.
The 17-year-olds were arrested in November after the fan favourite was called a “n*****” on the social networking site.
It is understood one youth made the initial comment and his friend followed it up with a supportive tweet which also contained racist abuse.
The decision not to prosecute the pair was taken after consultation with Mr Ameobi – the younger brother of fellow United striker Shola – and the football club.
Both youths admitted their involvement and accepted final warnings at a Northumbria Police youth surgery.
They were spoken to by a senior police officer and warned of the consequences if they reoffend. Wendy Williams, district crown prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service North East, said: “The CPS understands the serious nature of racist crime and the real and lasting effects it can have, not just on individuals and their families, but also upon communities and society as a whole.
“Our policy is to prosecute racist and religious crime fairly, firmly and robustly.
“In deciding what constitutes fairness for such cases, the views of the victim themselves are incredibly important.”
She said a final warning was appropriate given the previous good character of the two youths involved.
Superintendent Gillian Mitchell said Northumbria Police will not tolerate racist behaviour “of any kind”.
She added: “Such criminal activity is totally unacceptable and as this incident demonstrates, we will seek to arrest anyone who carries out such crimes, however, they are committed, and bring them to justice.”
A Newcastle United spokesman said the club was “pleased to note the action taken against the two youths”, adding: “The club takes such matters extremely seriously.”
CPS North East also issued a further warning. Ms Williams said: “What many people fail to realise when posting information on social media is that the information is then in the public domain and can be viewed by anyone.
“This can expose the user to arrest and prosecution if their activity breaks the law, such as if it involves racist abuse.
“Ironically, when a person makes such comments digitally, they will have effectively handed police and prosecutors the evidence to build a case against them.”
In re-tweeting the message, Sammy Ameobi said at the time: “Sad to see some people are still racist nowadays.”
His sister Titi, 26, added that he was disappointed by the message.
“There’s totally no place for that in the society we live in today,” she said.
“There’s always one who won’t abide by the same rules as everybody else. Nobody should have to put up with it.”
On Monday, Sunderland fan Peter Copeland, 29, from Benridge Bank, West Rainton, Durham, admitted sending two racist tweets about Newcastle United’s black players.
He will be sentenced by Sunderland magistrates later this month. Twitter also landed ex-Newcastle United player Joey Barton in hot water when he posted comments about John Terry’s upcoming trial for allegedly racially abusing former Sunderland player Anton Ferdinand.
But Attorney General Dominic Grieve yesterday defended his decision not to prosecute Barton, insisting the tweets would not jeopardise the Terry case.
The Queens Park Rangers midfielder posted the remarks on Twitter on Friday after Terry was stripped of the England captaincy.
Mr Grieve said comments made “in bad taste” on Twitter were “neither here nor there” and would be judged only on whether they would prejudice a fair hearing.
“As far as I could see, in this particular case, whatever Mr Barton had been doing didn’t seem to me, on the facts, to amount to creating the risk we have just been talking about,” he said.
“I think it is a matter of common sense. If people put out into the public domain by publishing or by broadcasting material that might influence or prejudice the course of a trial by putting background material out that is prejudicial and irrelevant to the trial process then that has the capacity to create the risk.”
The Attorney General is the Government’s senior law officer,. His remit includes ensuring defendants facing criminal charges receive a fair trial.
The CPS understands the serious nature of racist crime and the real and lasting effects it can have