Police threaten man who commented about free speech, claim he's racist

October 29, 2023

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

The United Kingdom doesn't have the First Amendment that America has, and it's allowed a stunning situation to develop: Police threatening a man for speech that supports the free speech of another.

The situation has been profiled in a report by Christian Concern.

It developed when Councilor Anthony Stevens, who now is being supported by the Christian Legal Center, told the media his "harrowing" story of being arrested in front of his family.

His offense had been to make comments on social media … defending free speech.

He was defending the right to express opinions for another councilor, King Lawal, who recently got into trouble for explaining on social media that the Bible considers pride a sin, a statement that left "Pride" promoters enraged.

The report explained, "On 8 August, Cllr Steven's home was swooped on by police without warning. He was searched in front of his wife and children, then detained at Kettering police station, where he was grilled about a recent tweet where he shared a petition in support of fellow Conservative councilor, King Lawal."

Stevens' arrest immediately drew the attention of Baroness Foster, who told Northamptonshire police their actions were an "appalling episode and breach of free speech."

The report said police then responded with a threat, by Det. Inspector Mark Hopkinson, to Stevens that said police were "aware" of his statements to the media.

"Northamptonshire Police will review any media publications or other comments made by anyone in a public forum which directly relate to an investigation to ensure the information contained within it could not impact on any future proceedings, or impact on your right to a fair trial," the warning said. "As such I would like to take this opportunity to advise that you consider taking legal advice prior to any contact with media sources or making comments within public forum about this case, or the circumstances."

Steven's own lawyers then told police that his comments enjoy a "high level of protection" under the law.

"The arrest of our client, a democratically elected office-holder, for social media posts about matters of public interest, is self-evidently a matter for legitimate media attention, public debate, and criticism," they said.

They accused Hopkinson of "an outright attempt to intimidate our client and media organizations and to stifle legitimate criticism of the police. Such behavior is wholly unacceptable for a police officer in a free country."

Stevens said, "I was shocked when the police turned up at my house unannounced and came onto my property. Frankly, it was frightening, and no doubt intended to be so. I was then arrested and humiliated in front of my wife and children. Even if the police had legitimate questions to ask me (which I am yet to hear), there was no need to ambush me in my own house, arrest me, search me, keep me in the cell for the whole day, interrogate me, or confiscate my phone."

The underlying case, involving Lawal, involved his loss of his membership in multiple organizations for noting that the Bible condemns "pride," which of course is the slogan used by the LGBT ideology.

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