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Met Police: PM appalled by way police treated Jewish man, says No 10

Image source, Campaign against anti-Semitism

Legend, Gideon Falter was arrested by police during a demonstration on April 13

  • Author, André Rhoden-Paul
  • Role, BBC News

Rishi Sunak was “appalled” by the way police treated a Jew at a pro-Palestinian protest in London, a Downing Street source has said.

The Met apologized twice on Friday after an officer called Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAA) boss Gideon Falter “openly Jewish”.

On April 13, Mr. Falter, who was wearing a kippah, was threatened with arrest and police said his presence constituted a “disturbing public order.” He demanded the resignation of the Met commissioner.

The Met’s deputy police commissioner, Matt Twist, wrote to Mr Falter offering a private meeting to “personally apologize and discuss what more the Met can do to ensure that London’s Jews are feel safe.”

Mr Falter also requested a meeting with Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley.

Downing Street said the Prime Minister had seen the original footage of what happened and was “as appalled as everyone else by the officer who referred to Mr Falter as ‘openly Jewish'”.

The source added that the Met was right to apologise, but also criticized the force for “totally mishandling” the situation in which it made an initial apology which it later retracted and followed up with a second statement .

“(The Prime Minister) expects the Met Commissioner to explain how this happened and what he will do to ensure officers do more to make London’s Jewish communities feel safe – and that Sadiq Khan is doing his job in holding the Met to account.”

London Mayor Mr Khan will meet Sir Mark later on Monday to “discuss community relations” – but it is understood he has full confidence in the commissioner.

New footage has also emerged, recorded by Sky News, which shows Mr Falter telling the police officer he was trying to cross the road.

The video shows the officer telling Mr Falter that he “took it upon himself” to deliberately walk “right in the middle” of the march, and said he was being “dishonest” and trying to “antagonize” others .

The officer told the campaign manager, “In my opinion, you’re looking to try to upset things. »

Mr. Falter then replied: “No, I’m trying to walk on the sidewalk.”

“Treated like a criminal”

Speaking to BBC News, Mr Falter described the experience as “scary” and made him feel like he was “being treated like a criminal because he was Jewish”.

The CAA chief executive said the Met commissioner had “restricted the rights of law-abiding Londoners, including the Jewish community, to appease lawless crowds”.

“I think it’s time for Sir Mark Rowley to go,” he added.

“We need a new commissioner who understands that the role of the police is… to enforce the law and if the law says Londoners can freely go wherever they want, as long as they obey the law, then That’s what they have to do.” it must be respected.”

But former Met Police Chief Superintendent Dal Babu told BBC Breakfast on Monday that the 13-minute clip of the incident showed “a totally different encounter to that reported by Mr Falter”.

Mr Babu said the officer’s “openly Jewish” comment was “not acceptable”. But he added: “What you see (Mr Falter) is trying to go against the march, trying to pass the officers, and I think for 13 minutes the officers were doing proof of great restraint.

“They offered to take him to a crossing point, they offered to help him and the group he represented have the opportunity to cross at a more suitable location.

“The discourse put forward in recent days is therefore not accurate.

“Personally, if I had monitored this march, I would have been inclined to arrest him for assault on a police officer and breach of the peace.”

Mr Falter told ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Monday that his members often attend pro-Palestinian marches to “force the police to make sure these things are safe for Jewish people” – and that he would show up at the next one.

He said the protests were “so poorly policed ​​that if you’re a Jew on the sidelines of this, they have to threaten you with arrest to get rid of you.”

In an updated statement Sunday evening, the Met said it would “remain focused on doing everything possible to ensure London’s Jews feel safe in this city.”

The force said it had invited senior representatives of London’s Jewish communities, officials from the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, and members of the House of Lords to an “operational planning exercise” .

“This would normally be done in private, but recognizing the need for greater engagement and reassurance, we are inviting community leaders to join us,” he said.

“It’s complex, but we will continue to seek support and advice from all voices who can help us deliver the service London deserves.”

“Entirely avoidable errors”

The Board of Deputies of British Jews is set to meet the Met commissioner this week following what he described as “a series of high-profile errors” and “entirely avoidable mistakes”.

Home Secretary James Cleverly has written to Sir Mark and London Mayor Sadiq Khan demanding an explanation.

On Saturday, a spokesperson for the mayor said the Met’s handling of the incident was “concerning” and that the force “must have the trust of the communities it serves”.

The Met Commissioner is also expected to meet Police Minister Chris Philp.

On Monday, Assistant Foreign Secretary Andrew Mitchell said the Met’s response was “way over the top” – but stopped short of calling for Sir Mark to resign.

Labour’s shadow justice secretary told Sky News she did not think the commissioner should resign.

Shabana Mahmood said she could “understand the strength of feeling” and called the images “very concerning”, but said the commissioner’s resignation was not “the way forward”.

Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman – who called on the Met chief to review the incident – told the BBC Radio 4 program that her complaint was not about individual police officers, but “the overall failure of fighting anti-Semitism and keeping peace on the streets of London over the past six months.

Legend, A pro-Palestinian demonstration took place in London on April 13.

Scotland Yard has already apologized twice for the officer’s comments.

He said: “Jewish Londoners must be able to feel safe in this city.”

In the original video clip filmed during the march, the police officer said: “You are openly Jewish, this is a pro-Palestinian march.

“I’m not accusing you of anything but I’m worried about the reaction to your presence.”

The Met has been criticized for its handling of a series of pro-Palestinian protests since last October, when the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israel.

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With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class. After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim. Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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