Police pay compensation after calling teenage photographer “stupid” and “gay”
A teenager has received an apology and £4,000 in compensation after Metropolitan Police officers stopped him photographing a military parade, saying it was “dangerous”, “stupid” and “gay”.
Jules Mattsson was 15 when he attended the parade in Romford, north east London in June 2010.
During the public event, Mr Mattsson’s solicitors say a police inspector told him he was “a public hazard” and his photography constituted “anti-social behaviour”.
They added: “He described the act of taking photographs as ‘silly’ and ‘gay’ and ‘stupid’.
“When [Jules] 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.”
When he refused to stop taking pictures and recording his conversation with police, he was arrested for breaching the peace.
The police inspector told him: “You were being silly, you were running around being stupid and gay”.
Chez Cotton, of Bindmans LLP, said the inspector “attempted to justify his actions in shocking and absurd ways.”
The Metropolitan Police confirmed the settlement and the apology to the 16-year-old, who now works as a professional photographer, saying they had failed to “respect press freedom”.
Ben Summerskill, Chief Executive of Stonewall said: “It is a matter of grave concern that even now Metropolitan Police officers feel emboldened to use homophobic language like this.
“It further damages the confidence in the Metropolitan Police’s ability to protect the gay community in London.”