THE STORY OF A CHRISTIAN STREET PREACHER, whose video of arrest went viral across the world, has caught out the Metropolitan Police, who have had to change their story about what happened.
New evidence released today by Christian Concern backs up 64 year-old Mr Oluwole Ilesanmi’s claim that, following his arrest, he was driven by police to a remote location and left to make his own way home without money for a bus fare (see editor’s notes).
Police initially denied that they had driven the preacher anywhere. On being pressed, police changed their story and said that he was driven some 3.5 miles away to Hadley Wood.
However, Mr Ilesanmi’s bus ticket contradicts the police’s latest account, showing that he got on a bus 40 minutes after his arrest at Wrotham Park – which is 5.2 miles away from Southgate and outside London Transport zones.
That’s where he was de-arrested and left without any money to make his way home. In correspondence, the police force has claimed that they “checked that he had a bank card”. Mr Ilesanmi disputes this saying that he only had a London Oyster card, but in any case, the bus service Metroline does not accept card payments, nor was there an ATM nearby.
Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of Christian Concern, said: “We are astonished at the police’s actions. It was bad enough Oluwole being unnecessarily arrested for preaching the gospel, but how he was treated afterwards, and the statements the police have given to an outraged global public, have added to the clear picture that something has to change within the police.
“That is why we have launched a petition, not only calling on the Home Secretary to do more to protect freedom of speech on our streets, but also for an urgent review into how the police are trained to act within the law.
“We support a number of street preachers on a weekly basis who are being silenced by the police, and we will continue to stand with Oluwole as he considers what action he wants to take next.”