UK Cops Threaten Journalist Who Caught Them Dragging Woman Out of Park for 'Not Exercising'
The coronavirus crisis has created its fair share of surreal scenes, but the sight of police apparently harassing a person for improperly being out on a public street and chasing away an enquiring journalist is especially chilling.
The incident happened in England, where, according to CNN, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s March 23 stay-at-home order currently requires everyone to not leave their homes except under very limited circumstances for necessities, with one particular exception for “one form of exercise a day.”
That one exception is at the center of a chain of events that allegedly led to London-based journalist Michael Segalov’s clash with police. Segalov publicized the incident in a series of tweets in which he tagged London’s Metropolitan Police Service.
“hi @metpoliceuk, walking through finsbury park alone just now, taking exercise, i witnessed a woman being confronted by two police officers looking distressed. a concerned citizen, i stopped briefly – over 2 meters away – to see what was happening,” Segalov wrote.
hi @metpoliceuk, walking through finsbury park alone just now, taking exercise, i witnessed a woman being confronted by two police officers looking distressed. a concerned citizen, i stopped briefly – over 2 meters away – to see what was happening. 1/
— michael segalov (@MikeSegalov) April 5, 2020
He went on to describe what had happened when he came upon the woman, who he thought was being unfairly treated, and began to record.
As Segalov followed the woman and police to the exit of the park, he was surrounded by police officers and asked to leave, despite his protests that he was just a journalist doing his job while out for a walk.
Simon Childs at Vice reported on the confrontation and tweeted Segalov’s footage of the April 5 incident.
“The other week journalist @MikeSegalov got hassled and shouted at by the police for filming an incident in a park,” Childs tweeted on Thursday. “Here’s the footage. Not a good look for the police – breaking social distancing rules by surrounding him and wrongly shouting at a journalist to go home.”
The other week journalist @MikeSegalov got hassled and shouted at by the police for filming an incident in a park. Here’s the footage. Not a good look for the police – breaking social distancing rules by surrounding him and wrongly shouting at a journalist to go home. pic.twitter.com/BKXSXbE6Gm
— Great Editor (@simonchilds13) April 16, 2020
The footage begins with the woman being escorted out of the park as Segalov stops in front of a police vehicle. He is then told to “move on” over a police loudspeaker.
Then a police officer exits the vehicle and confronts Segalov, who identifies himself as a journalist and says he was out for a walk, but as more officers begin to come into frame he is told to “exercise or leave.”
One officer even tells him, “You’re killing people. Go home.”
Notably, as Segalov himself pointed out on Twitter, the officers got very close to him and did not practice the recommended social distancing.
Despite his protests, the officers continued to command him to leave. The clip ends with Segalov warning “this is not going to look good for you guys.”
According to Vice, the Metropolitan Police Service confirmed that they indeed “were encouraging a woman who was ‘clearly not exercising’ to leave the park” when Segalov began filming.
While the footage started after police began interacting with the woman, they clearly used the exercise rule as a reason to stop Segalov from filming, which demonstrates the draconian rules that folks across the pond are currently enduring.
From this situation and others in America, it’s becoming apparent that tyranny is like a rabid dog, always nipping at the heels of personal liberty while restrained by safeguards such as the Constitution, but ready to attack at the first opportunity.
While the U.K. does not enjoy the same freedoms as the U.S., the scene of a journalist being thrown out of a public area for not exercising in a way that pleases the government is still frightening.
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