Bristol City Council has apologised after being accused of institutional racism in the case of a murdered Iranian man.
A Safer Bristol Partnership report said there was ‘evidence of both discriminatory behaviour and institutional racism’ in the council’s handling of Bijan Ebrahimi, who was beaten to death and set on fire by neighbour Lee James in July 2013.
James, who was later jailed for life for the murder, wrongly believed that Mr Ebrahimi was a paedophile who had been filming his children.
It is believed to be the first finding of institutional racism against a local authority.
The report found that council and police representatives repeatedly sided with his abusers as Mr Ebrahimi was repeatedly targeted for racist abuse and victimisation.
Bristol mayor Marvin Rees said: ‘On behalf of Bristol City Council we sincerely and wholeheartedly apologise for the failings in the council’s treatment of Bijan leading up to his tragic death in July 2013.
‘We apologise for failing to adequately support Bijan as a victim.
‘We accept all of the findings of the Safer Bristol-commissioned independent review, including evidence of both discriminatory behaviour and institutional racism on the part of Bristol City Council.’
Mr Ebrahimi’s family, including sisters Mojgan Kahayatian and Manisha Moores, said in a statement: ‘Bijan always said that racism must be challenged wherever it is found, including in town halls and police stations.
‘Bristol City Council took nearly five years to accept that it failed Bijan and the need for change.
“This is far too long, although late is better than never.’