London cops enforce imaginary law against brave, principled teenaged photographer

Two police officers stopped a teenaged freelance photographer from taking pictures of police cadets marching in an Armed Forces Day in London. The officers claimed (incorrectly) that it was against the law to photograph minors without parental consent. Then they pushed him down a set of stairs and detained him. The photographer recorded the incident, including the officers claiming that they didn't need any law to detain him.

Jules Mattsson, the 15-year-old photographer, is very, very good in this recording. He knows his rights, he admirably keeps his cool as two lawless goons with badges harass him and detain him. Kids like this give me hope for the future of the human race. On the other hand, cops who invent imaginary laws and demand that the public abide by them — after the Association of Police Chiefs has made it abundantly clear that the police must not harass amateur and professional photographers.

"I was quickly and aggressively stopped by one of their adult officers asking me who I worked for," he wrote on his blog. "I responded that I was a freelance and upon being told I needed parental permission to photograph them, I explained this was a public event in a public place and that I didn't for editorial use."

The audio recording begins minutes later with an officer initially arguing that it is illegal to take photographs of children. He then claims that it is illegal to take images of army members and police officers.

Under laws that guarantee the freedom of press in Britain, there is no restriction on photography of children, police or armed forces in a public space. There is new legislation to protect the identities of some police officers but only those working undercover or in instances where an officer genuinely believes a photographer is collecting data for terrorist purposes.

Officers claim they don't need law to stop photographer taking pictures

(Thanks, Glyn and Andrew)