An Islamic street preacher has been arrested and charged after allegedly screaming abuse at a woman for wearing ‘tight jeans’ and shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ in a police officer’s face.
Krissoni Henderson appeared to be caught on camera angrily confronting the officer – who was investigating a complaint made against the 31-year-old.
The unnamed policeman was called to New Street in Birmingham city centre at around 5.30pm on July 4 following a 999 call from a 38-year-old woman who said she feared for her safety after a verbal confrontation. She alleged she had been shouted and sworn at.
A video later appeared on social media of the West Midlands Police officer trying to speak to Henderson in connection with the allegation.
The following day he was arrested at his home in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter and, after being questioned, was charged with two public order offences.
Unemployed Henderson appeared at Birmingham Magistrates Court on July 6 where counts of using insulting, threatening words or behaviour and using racially aggravated insulting words or behaviour were put to him.
He was bailed to reappear before magistrates on September 6 with conditions not to contact his alleged victim.
In the footage, a man alleged to be Henderson is wearing traditional Islamic dress and standing with another man and a woman.
‘Here is my witness,’ he appears to yell, gesturing to the woman, ‘if you want to arrest me arrest me.’
He vehemently explains that the woman who complained had walked up to him rather than the other way round, making him the innocent party.
‘Do you think I’m scared?’ he says skeptically to the officer who is trying to reason with them.
He then begins to shout with increasing force over the policeman: ‘Freedom of speech, we are not going to take your racism anymore. We’re not terrorists and we are not suicide bombers, throw your television in the dustbin. This is a free country and we can speak freely in public!’
He goes on to claim that the woman who complained had threatened him when she approached him.
But when the officer asks if he can give him the ‘common decency’ of not shouting over him the preacher continues to bellow his reasoning.
And as the policeman walks away slightly to attempt to defuse the situation he yells after him, ‘Go, go find some rapists!’
Again the officer asks for the ‘common courtesy’ of being listened to but the preacher repeats his argument of having a witness.
He apparently works himself as he confronts the fluorescent jacketed man, screaming that he is scared of no one but Allah and spitting ‘Allahu Akbar’ in the officer’s face.
Eventually the policeman turns to the crowd which has amassed and explains: ‘This young man has the right to assembly.
He can stand here and shout and alarm. He can shock and offend…If he commits a public order offence… then he will be arrested.’
However it is clear the crowd is very much on the preacher’s side and as the officer walks away they begin to gather in around the man, jeering and heckling the retreating policeman.
‘Racist!’ the preacher allegedly shouts, ‘Go and find a paedophile and get out of my face!’
‘Simmer down,’ the man filming can he heard saying as the preacher continues to yell before the clip ends.
Birmingham West & Central Police Superintendent Andy Beard, said: ‘We received a call from a lady walking through central Birmingham making allegations that she had been sworn at and that derogatory comments had been made about her appearance.
‘We have investigated those claims and as a result a man has been charged.
‘People absolutely have the right in law to freedom of speech and visitors to Birmingham city centre will regularly hear people offering their opinion on a wide range of topics.
‘However, people must do so lawfully and if there is any suggestion anyone is abusing that right and using words likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress or cause a breach of the peace then we will investigate and take the appropriate action.’