16-year-old photographer Jules Mattsson has won a settlement from the London Metropolitan Police after being stopped and detained last year while photographing the Armed Forces Day parade. Here’s Mattsson’s account of what happened:
I was detained by Police in Romford after taking an image of a cadet unit who were about to march in a massive parade in front of thousands of people with cameras. I was told it was an offence to photograph a child, then an offence to photograph the military, then an offence to photograph the police then that I was a threat under the terrorism act. I was frog marched with my arm painfully twisted away from the public eye and any witnesses and pushed down a set of stairs. The police illegally tried to take my details on several occasions also. [#]
In addition to the financial settlement paid to Mattsson early last week, the police department has also apologized for its actions.
Over the weekend 16-year-old freelance photographer Jules Mattsson was photographing police cadets in an Armed Forces Day parade in London when he was approached by police and told that he needed parental permission to photograph the cadets.
According an audio recording of the incident, the police officer argued, at first, that it was illegal to take photographs of children, before adding that it was illegal to take images of army members, and, finally, of police officers. When asked under what legislation powers he was being stopped, the police officer said that Mattsson presented a threat under anti-terrorism laws. The photographer was pushed down on stairs and detained until the end of the parade and after the intervention of three other photographers.
Mattsson, having been stopped by police before, started recording audio of the incident on his cell phone in an attempt to capture the arguments that police use against photographers. In the recording, an officer can be heard stating that they didn’t need a law to detain Mattsson.
This reminded me a little of the confrontation between a photog and policeman in Los Angeles that we wrote about earlier this month. However, in that case many commenters thought that the photographer had crossed a boundary and was intentionally provoking the officer in order to create a scene.