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,
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.
Update 5 July: Arrest in London