A paramedic has been banned from football matches for three years after making a Nazi salute towards a German police officer at Anfield, report the Liverpool Echo.
Jason Southall was today found guilty of making the offensive gesture as Liverpool hosted Aston Villa last September.
The 44-year-old was said to have made the salute twice, with police officers and a steward claiming they had witnessed his actions.
Southall, of Coppice Road in Walsall, was seen making the gesture at the police officer’s back. She was at the match on attachment to Merseyside Police but was in her German uniform, which had Polizei written on the back.
He initially denied making the salute and then said: “How do you know it was towards the German police officer? I could have been doing it to someone in the crowd.”
Southall then refused to leave the ground and a woman, said to be Southall’s partner, began arguing with the officials and became aggressive and attacked a police officer.
The West Midlands Ambulance Service employee told police that he’d drunk about four or five pints of lager before the game but did not usually drink as he is a paramedic. He also admitted his job made him aware that racist behaviour was unacceptable – but the Aston Villa fan denied a charge of racially aggravated harassment.
He was found guilty at a hearing at Sefton magistrates’ court today however, and given a three year football banning order as well as a £500 fine.
The German police officer he made the gesture at is said to have considered Southall’s behaviour as highly offensive.
Angela Conlan, Senior Crown Prosecutor with Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Southall made a deeply offensive gesture to a German police officer just because he thought it was amusing.
“The Nazi salute is highly objectionable gesture that is reminiscent of some of the worst behaviour of the previous century.
“It was directed at a woman who wasn’t even born at the time of the last war, just because she is German.
“Southall is a paramedic and spends his working life presumably trying to help people. Why he chose this occasion to expose a different side of his character we may never know.
“What we do know is that his behaviour was offensive and completely out of place in a football game that many people had travelled several miles to enjoy.
“The Crown Prosecution Service hopes this case shows that racist behaviour will not be tolerated wherever it shows its ugly face and however the perpetrators might try to laugh it off as harmless.”
Liverpool v Aston Villa: September 13