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Scotland Yard has agreed to pay a Christian preacher £2,500 ($3,095) for wrongful arrest and humiliating treatment after the Metropolitan Police detained him last February, stripped him of his Bible, handcuffed him, and drove him several miles away where they left him.
The 64-year-old Pentecostal Christian, Oluwole Ilesanmi, said he welcomed the decision as a victory for freedom of speech. Mr Ilesanmi moved to the United Kingdom from Nigeria in 2010 as a Protestant missionary.
Officers - Dentist - February - Southgate - Tube
Two officers approached the former dentist last February as he was preaching outside Southgate Tube station in North London. Police reportedly had received a call from a passer-by accusing Mr Ilesanmi of hate speech.
A viral video of the arrest that has now been viewed over ten million times stirred up a public outcry and the advocacy group Christian Concern took up the man’s case, which eventually led to the decision to compensate the man for damages.
Police - Report - Officers - Mr - IIesanmi
In their police report, the arresting officers said they had arrested Mr IIesanmi “to prevent a breach of the peace” yet video footage of the event shows no hostile or aggressive conduct by Mr Ilesanmi.
In the verbal exchange recorded in the two-minute video, one of the officers tells the preacher, “we are going to require you to go away,” or “I will arrest you for breach of peace.”
Problems - People - Days - Peace - Officer
“You’re causing problems; you’re disturbing people’s days and you’re breaching their peace,” the officer said.
To this, Mr Ilesamni replied, “I will not go away because I need to tell them the truth. Jesus is the only way, truth and life.”
Nobody - Policeman
“Nobody wants to listen to that,” the policeman replied.
The video also shows the police officer taking Mr Ilesanmi’s Bible away, to his visible distress.
Preacher - Officers - Bible - Officers
When the preacher asks officers not to take his Bible, one of the officers, who is white, says: “You should’ve thought about that...
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