Monday, 12 December 2011

New Crimes: "Acting Silly, Stupid And Gay"

Met Commissioner Compensates Journalist Arrested For Taking Photographs In Public Place And Told To Stop "Running Round Acting Silly, Being Stupid And Gay"

Well-respected National Union of Journalists (NUJ) member Jules Mattsson, represented by Chez Cotton, head of the Police Misconduct Department at Bindmans LLP, has received an out of court settlement and an apology from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis.
On 26 June 2010 Mattsson, at the time a fifteen year old student, was photographing the Armed Forces Day parade in Romford. Despite the public event taking place in the middle of the town centre, Metropolitan Police Officers claimed it was unlawful to photograph the parade. The officers, led by an Inspector, insisted he stopped taking photographs.
The Inspector told Mattsson he was a public hazard and said that photographing in public was “anti-social behaviour.” He described the act of taking photographs as “silly” and “gay” and “stupid.” When Mr Mattsson continued to state the lawfulness of his behaviour, the Inspector declared it was “dangerous” as he was “likely to be trampled on by soldiers” from the parade.

Summary of the case by Bindman's solicitors.
Press Gazette report here; 'It ended with the inspector telling Mattsson: “You know what, I consider you a threat under the Terrorism Act young man. I’ve had enough.”
'He was then “manhandled” down stairs by a group of police officers and tried unsuccessfully to film them – with one officer claiming it was “breaching his privacy.”'
Your Her Majesty's Constabulary at work...

• Photograph by Jules Mattsson, used by kind permission. Thanks Jules, and well done.

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