A Christian pastor who was arrested after he preached from the Bible said yesterday he had been treated ‘shamefully’.
John Sherwood, 71, was led away in handcuffs, questioned in a police station and held overnight after being accused of making homophobic comments outside Uxbridge Station in west London.
The grandfather claimed he was left bruised after police pulled him from a mini-stepladder he was using and cuffed his hands behind his back.
Police said they had received complaints the man had been making ‘allegedly homophobic comments’ and arrested him under the Public Order Act, which can be used under the vague proviso that someone is using ‘abusive or insulting words’ that cause ‘harm’ to someone else. He was later released without charge.
Mr Sherwood, a pastor for 35 years, said: ‘I wasn’t making any homophobic comments, I was just defining marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. I was only saying what the Bible says – I wasn’t wanting to hurt anyone or cause offence.
‘I was doing what my job description says, which is to preach the gospel in open air as well as in a church building.
‘When the police approached me, I explained that I was exercising my religious liberty and my conscience. I was forcibly pulled down from the steps and suffered some injury to my wrist and to my elbow. I do believe I was treated shamefully. It should never have happened.’
Mr Sherwood, who preaches at an independent evangelical church in north London, was arrested under the Public Order Act for allegedly causing alarm or distress. He was released without charge but a file has now been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service for review.
The Metropolitan Police said a member of the public flagged down patrol officers and alleged Mr Sherwood had made homophobic comments.
Mobile phone footage of Friday’s arrest shows Mr Sherwood standing on the stepladder with a Bible in his hand outside a Tube station in Uxbridge, west London. Officers can be heard telling him to get off his steps before they appear to grasp his hands and pull him down.
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SOURCE: Daily Mail, Katie Feehan, Rory Tingle, and Vanessa Allen