A Christian street preacher in Glasgow, Scotland, will receive a substantial settlement after he was unlawfully arrested and detained by police over an unfounded complaint made about his alleged “homophobic language” in 2022.
For the false arrest, Police Scotland will pay Angus Cameron more than $6,900 in U.S. dollars and more than $11,900 in legal fees, according to The Christian Institute, the nonprofit Christian watchdog that represented Cameron in the case.
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Cameron, the former pastor of Cumnock Baptist Church, was preaching on Buchanan Street in Glasgow in January 2022 when he was approached by police officers who told him to stop immediately, according to The Daily Mail.
He was searched on the street in front of the public, handcuffed, and told he was being arrested for “breach of the peace with homophobic aggravation,” Christian Today reported.
He strenuously denied the allegation to the arresting officer, who placed him in the back of a police vehicle for more than an hour before releasing him. The 52-year-old pastor was allegedly told the matter would be dealt with “in due course.”
Two days later, Cameron received a telephone call from the officer, informing him he would not be prosecuted. However, the officer had filed a ‘non-crime hate incident report’ against his name in the police database even though no crime was committed, Christian Today reported.
Cameron contacted The Christian Institute about his case. The organization then obtained his arrest report.
The Christian Institute told The Daily Mail the case notes showed the officers had no reason to suspect the preacher had committed an offense, which is necessary for a lawful arrest. The organization then sued the police for wrongful arrest, discrimination, and breach of human rights.
“His preaching was not targeting individuals. He did not use offensive language. He was not aggressive. He did not try to cause offense. He simply quoted the Bible. There was no criminality at all,” Simon Calvert, deputy director of public affairs for the Institute told Christian Today.
“We were pleased to be able to help Angus bring a legal action and we believe it was because of the strength of his legal claim that the police were forced to reach an out-of-court legal settlement and pay damages and legal costs,” Calvert said.
“In addition, we were able to get all reference to this unsubstantiated ‘non-crime’ deleted from Police Scotland’s records,” he added.
And Police Scotland recently announced it was reviewing its policy on the recording of non-crime hate incidents.
It was the second time in recent years that the rights of evangelical Christians to express their religious views in Glasgow had been questioned by local authorities.
As CBN News reported in October 2022, Glasgow’s Sheriff Court found Franklin Graham and his organization, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), were discriminated against when the Scottish Event Campus (SEC), Scotland’s largest event space, canceled a 2020 ministry event.
Sheriff John McCormick wrote the SEC had violated the U.K. 2010 Equality Act when it trumpeted protestors’ views and ignored Graham’s supporters, who wanted to see the event unfold.
McCormick awarded the BGEA $109,927 in damages, arguing the venue bowed to public pressures and stated the law can’t endorse a situation in which a “mainstream Christian gathering” is punished due to disagreements over beliefs.
While protesting is permitted, he wrote there’s no right to “silence” or “stop religious assemblies.”
“The concern is expressed that there is the potential for Mr. Graham to make homophobic and Islamophobic comments,” McCormick said. “I found no evidence to that effect.”
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