This is the moment an army veteran was arrested by police for ‘causing anxiety’ after retweeting a picture of a swastika made out of Pride flags on social media.
Darren Brady, 51, has slammed Hampshire Police for ‘impeding his right to free speech’ after he was placed into handcuffs on Friday at his home in Aldershot for sharing a meme.
Footage of the arrest was widely shared on social media and showed an officer who told Mr Brady he was being apprehended because his post had ’caused anxiety’ and been reported to authorities.
The image Mr Brady retweeted was of a swastika that had been digitally manipulated and was made out of four LGBT pride flags.
In the video, shot on a mobile phone, Mr Brady can be heard asking the three police officers: ‘Why am I in cuffs?’
One officer responds: ‘It didn’t have to come to this at all.’
Mr Brady replied: ‘Tell us why you escalated it to this level because I don’t understand.’
The officer adds: ‘Someone has been caused anxiety based on your social media post. That is why you have been arrested.’
He told MailOnline: ‘Hampshire Police showed a blatant disregard of the law. They approached Mr Brady and acted as summary judge, jury and executioner – but didn’t know what offence he’d actually committed. They said he was being arrested for causing anxiety, which is utterly ridiculous!
‘Mr Brady is a British Army Veteran and they were trying to extort him for money by making him pay around £80 for educational course so he could downgrade from a crime to a non-crime, which would still show up in a basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
‘They thought they could get away with it. It was the world’s worst shakedown.’
Commenting on the video circulating on Twitter, Mr Miller wrote: ‘I’d been locked up by this time and missed this exchange. I’m speechless.’
Mr Miller, who in December won a Court of Appeal challenge over police guidance on ‘hate incidents’, said police visited the man 10 days earlier and has informed him that he could take the option of attending an £80 education course to avoid being arrested and possibly charged with a criminal offence.
The veteran said he needed time to mull it over, before the officers agreed to return at a future date.