Branded 'Silly', 'Gay' 'Stupid: Teenager Wins Apology From Metropolitan Police Over Officer's Outburst

14/12/2011 01:19 | Updated 22 May 2015

The Metropolitan Police have paid compensation and issued an apology to a teenager who was told by an officer that his attempts to take photos of a public event were 'silly' and 'gay' and 'stupid'.

Jules Mattsson - at the time 15 - was told he could not take pictures at a military parade in Romford, east London, in June 2010. He was told he was a 'public hazard' and taking photos in public was 'anti-social behaviour'.

Lawyers firm Bindmans, who represented Jules said: "On 26 June 2010, (Jules), at the time a 15-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 (Jules) 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''.

Jules' lawyer said when he "continued to state the lawfulness of his behaviour', the inspector declared it was 'dangerous' and that he was 'likely to be trampled on by soldiers' from the parade.

"The police had no legal power to stop him photographing in a public place. The inspector attempted to justify his actions in shocking and absurd ways.'

"The treatment of the police towards our client, a 15-year-old, was shocking. The inspector's comments were designed to belittle.

"Our client politely and reasonably maintained that the police were not entitled to interfere with his right to report.

The officer then told Jules: "I consider you a threat under the Terrorism Act young man. I've had enough."

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "The ... Directorate of Legal Services, on behalf of the commissioner, agreed an out-of-court settlement, as well as paying compensation and meeting legal costs for a 16-year-old male, following an incident where he was prevented by officers taking pictures at the Armed Forces Parade in Romford on 26 June 2010. An apology has also been issued."

Jules filmed the events, and uploaded the footage to YouTube.

What do you think about this?

Have you or your children been asked to stop taking photos of innocuous events?


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