Edinburgh Police v Preacher, Cameraman Account

Dale McAlpine put me in touch with Nate Steuer, the man behind the camera in the video of Edinburgh police harassing a street preacher.  Nate gave me permission to post the following account of what happened that day.

I will attempt to convey as best as possible the details of that day.

We (Mike Stockwell, Don Karns and I) went to preach at the Covenanters Monument and hand out tracts on that day. When we got there I preached the Gospel first (with the same amp, at the same volume). I probably preached for about 30 minutes (guessing because I never looked at a watch). After I preached Don got up to preach and was preaching for about 15 minutes (guessing again) as Mike and I handed out tracts.

As I was handing out tracts I had my eye on Don to make sure that he was safe. We always keep an eye on each other to protect each other in case of a heckler or someone trying to do harm to the preacher. As I continued to hand out tracts and watch Don the police showed up and immediately went up to Don and yanked his microphone plug out. At the that point I rushed over and started videotaping immediately. At that point is where the video starts.

Keep in mind that there were NO complaints from anyone around us up to that point (that we heard of) and NO one asked us to “turn it down” or leave. The police were very rude in the demeanor and conduct. As you can see from the video he tried to knock the camera out of my hand and then the other officer tried to block the camera as I continued to video them. Then they hauled Don off to their car.

As Don was in their car the other officer (the one who tried to block me from recording) went from business to business to business over and over again. Mike and I wondered if he was simply trying to drum up trouble because there never really was an “official complaint”.  So after some time (probably about 20-25 minutes) the other police officer (who was in the car with Don and the same one who tried to knock the camera out of my hand) signaled from Mike and I to come over to the car.

What was amazing is that his demeanor and conduct was totally different than what it was out on the street. He was Mr. Friendly. He told us that the other officer was following up on the alleged “complaint” and that when he returned to the police car they would review the complaint and might take further legal action. He told us that Don was not under arrest at that time but could be based on the outcome of the investigation. He then asked if we had any questions and I asked him his name, and he gave it to me, but I cannot remember his name at this point.

I then said to him that I understood it was NOT illegal to videotape like I was and asked him to confirm that for me. He did not answer me with a “yes” or “no” answer and dodged the question. He then proceeded to tell me that my videotaping was not helpful and I told him the reason that I was videotaping was to protect Don, us and him. That the video would plainly show what was said by everyone and be proof of what happened to protect the innocent and convict the guilty.  He did not like that.  If he was doing things “by the book” than he should not have had any issues with the video because he wasn’t doing anything wrong.

That was all the interactions we had with the police until they let Don out of their car. Once they released Don he told me that the police officer told him that the only reason he put Don into the car was because I was videotaping. He really did take HUGE issue with my taping him. Not sure why, but he did. We had many, many other encounters with the police while we were preaching Christ Crucified but NONE of them ever had any issues with the videotaping. This policemen was the ONLY one who had issue with it.

 For His Glory!

The laborers are few…if not YOU than WHO?
Until they ALL Know,
Nate Steuer

Interesting.  Two preachers.  Even if there had been a crime, the police didn’t make sure they had the right guy!  They didn’t even ask how long Don had been preaching, to compare with the time of the complaint.  Seems like shoddy investigative work.  I’m no expert, but it just seems common sense.  You don’t just cart some guy off to a police car without even finding out if he was speaking at the time of the complaint….

I know the police have a difficult job, and are under a lot of pressure sometimes.  I’m sure it is indeed stressful when someone starts running a video camera.  But I can see why Don and Nate thought the real agenda was to stop the preaching.  Basic investigative questions like “were you preaching at such and such a time when someone called to complain” were completely neglected.  Just pull the plug.

Since the police obviously didn’t observe an ongoing crime, why was it necessary to stop what they were doing (which was obviously legal) and restrain a person while investigating?  If one officer was going to go around inquiring, couldn’t the other just observe for a while to see if any law was broken?

It does seem Police Scotland has questions to answer.  It does seem the Justice Secretary’s 2010 guarantee hasn’t been very well upheld.  “We continue to guarantee that those who have Christian views can express their views without coming before the courts.”  It would seem that, having given that undertaking, he would want to respond.

Preacher Harassed by Edinburgh Police
Followup on Edinburgh Police Harassment

Update 5 July: Arrest in London

About Jon Gleason

Former Pastor of Free Baptist Church of Glenrothes
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14 Responses to Edinburgh Police v Preacher, Cameraman Account

  1. Praise God, Jon! I love to hear stories of how the devil is defeated by the Lord. “Count it all glory”, my brother. Keep bringing glory to Him whatever the cost.
    –Mark Davis

  2. Alexander Mackay says:

    Any competent police constables would have first listened to the content of the preaching so as to confirm if any offence took place, as soon as the constable unplugged the microphone he committed an offence in fact two offences, firstly one of assault then secondly one of breach of the peace. The police should never have been involved in this situation.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      It seems so, doesn’t it, Alex? Of course, the unplugging is not on the video, but I now have heard from two witnesses (Nate and Don) that it happened.

      Again, I’m no lawyer, but the threshold for assault in Scots law is not high. Threatening gestures can constitute assault. Both the pulling of the cord and the pushing away of the camera (which is on video) appear to me to be assault. The officer could have simply asked Nate to move back if he thought he was too close.

  3. Alexander Mackay says:

    Furthermore to my last comment, it is my understanding, when police constables give evidence in court they are required to swear an oath which is something along the line of ” I swear by almighty God to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth” this begs the question, ” which God are they swearing by”? If the constables claim to be atheist then they are lying in court as soon as they swear their oath, it also means that anyone who has been convicted by the evidence of these constables would have the right to have their case re-examined. My point being that the Bible which they swear their oath on is the same Bible which the preachers in the video preach from.

  4. john neil says:

    in britain you dont need to swear on any bible you just have to promise to tell the truth.you can if you want to .and if you look in any court you will see different types of religous books.have searched internet and have watched many of gents vids .why is this one missing?

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hello, John. The rules will be different here in Scotland from what they are down in England, but I think you are right that it isn’t necessary to swear on the Bible, at least not anymore. It might have been necessary in the past.

      Not sure what you mean, why is this one missing? The video is on my earlier post, and on YouTube. Perhaps I’m not understanding what you mean.

  5. john neil says:

    There is only one sides video where is the video of the sermon he always takes..there video from carlisle and various american sermons..watched five or six and he does not appear to gay bash. if its there could you please put link to stop all this speculation.,or its just one persons word against another.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hi, John. He doesn’t always video his sermons. He’s a full-time street preacher. He preached many multiple times during his recent UK visit, Glasgow, Stirling, in England. They aren’t all on the Internet. Nate’s testimony is clear, he wasn’t videoing until the police came and pulled the cord from the amp. He made reference to CCTV in the video, so perhaps the police have a video, but he doesn’t.

      But John, let’s be clear. He denied, and Nate confirms (that’s two witnesses), that he mentioned homosexuals, and the police had no proof, no case at all.

      Yet they pulled the amplifier cord, pushed the camera (both may be assault under Scots law), threatened, and mentioned no law he had allegedly broken but detained him in a police car without any credible allegation.

      If it is just one person’s word against another, as you said, then there is no case to answer. But even if there was a case to answer, the police behaviour was over the top. Since there was no case, it is even worse. Since no one can prove Don Karns said anything wrong, this is entirely about police behaviour.

      If someone makes a false accusation against you, is this how you want the police to behave? Surely not.

  6. john neil says:

    We have no idea what went on when the police arrived. this video starts after the officers start speaking to don.you can not use half evidence.did he not turn off the amp when first asked ? answer we dont know.im not sticking up for anybody but when you start putting things on youtube at least get full incident on there.Not one of you has given the accuser a second thought..straight off the bat he and the officers were lying.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      We do have an idea what went on. Nate says they immediately yanked out the cord. Is his testimony corroborated yet? No, but neither has it been denied.

      This is irrefutable: Nate did nothing illegal in filming, but the officer did not warn him, he immediately used force. That is simply unacceptable. These officers were not in danger, they did not observe an ongoing crime, they had no firm evidence a crime had even been committed. Yet, force was used. I’m sorry, I’m not prepared to think that might be ok.

      • john neil says:

        yes you might know but you placed a half video online to show he was not guilty .to other people, some ones lying one way or another.and the police job is to find out who.again the accused is allowed his privacy while being questioned.you will never see an accused allowed anybody with him while being questioned unless they are a miner.you will be taken to the side .and anybody with any sense will stay a decient distance away.and await your turn if your involved.this is no little accusation like breach of the peace, the goverment in its wisdom has deemed it a hate crime rightly or not? i know it looks like if you are a christian everybody has more rights than you do.and in law thay probably do. if you think the police were heavy handed then put in a complaint,use the system. but in his beloved usa he would have been face down with his arm up his back before they started to talk.

      • Jon Gleason says:

        John, I didn’t place half a video. I linked to an entire video on YouTube. The man who took it explained why it starts when it does. Are you suggesting he is lying? Until someone contradicts him, I’ll assume he’s telling the truth. His account matches the video perfectly. If someone who was there contradicts him, then we’d need another witness.

        It’s very possible there will be a formal complaint. I’ll post further if / when that happens.

        That he is American is irrelevant.

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