What happened in video of police confrontation with Gideon Falter?

A full-length video of Gideon Falter's confrontation with a Met Police officer has raised more questions about what really happened that day.

Watch: Sky News footage shows Gideon Falter's confrontation with police in full

The Metropolitan Police is facing another row over its policing of pro-Palestine protests, after an officer was filmed telling an "openly Jewish" man to leave a demonstration as his presence was "antagonising".

Wearing a kippah, Gideon Falter, chief executive of the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA), was recorded asking an officer why he couldn't cross the road during the protest on 13 April.

The officer offered to escort Falter out of the area, warning that he would arrest him if he chose to stay put as he would be "causing a breach of peace".

The incident prompted the Met Police to apologise, with prime minister Rishi Sunak calling on Britain's biggest police force to "rebuild the trust and confidence" of the Jewish community.

However, a full-length video of Falter and the police officer's confrontation, released by Sky News on Monday, raises questions about the build-up to the incident. Falter has since denied claims that he was there to "counter-protest".

Former home secretary Suella Braverman said the incident showed "police have chosen a side" but admitted she hadn't seen the full-length video when asked about it on BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"Police officers do have a duty, don’t they, to keep the peace which is the conclusion that many come to after watching the full footage,” Mishal Husain told the former minister.

What does the video show?

The video initially reported on by the media shows a Met Police officer confronting Falter after he says he "just wants to walk across" the road.

"You are quite openly Jewish, this is a pro-Palestinian march, I'm not accusing you of anything, but I am worried about the reaction to your presence," the officer tells him.

This was the video seen by many MPs, however the longer-length clip provides more context, including the officer accusing Falter of walking head-on into the crowd and being "disingenuous" about his motives.

When Falter asked if he was being stopped because he is Jewish, the officer says: "Unfortunately, sir, you took it upon yourself to go from the pavement right into the middle of a pro-Palestinian march, which is why I asked you to go away. You are looking to try and antagonise this. So I can already see what your mindset is, sir."

Falter replied: "My mindset? My mindset is I am Jewish in London and I can walk where I want."

London, UK. 21st Apr, 2024. Gideon Falter arrives at the BBC for interviews. Met Police chief faces calls to quit after force threatened to arrest 'openly Jewish' man at a Palestinian march last Saturday 13th April. Gideon Falter, an antisemitism campaigner, was threatened with arrest for walking near a Palestinian rally wearing his Kippah. The police saw it as provocation. Gideon Falter has received two apologies from the Met Police after releasing footage of his exchange with officers online. He's now calling for the force's commissioner to quit. Credit: Mark Thomas/Alamy Live News
Falter has said the approach by the Met is "the inverse of hose policing should work". (Alamy)

When the officer asks him not to be "disingenuous", he responds: "I am not being disingenuous, I can walk wherever the hell I want. If I want to walk to that pavement that is what I am going to do and you are going to have to arrest me."

"I would rather not do that," the officer says, offering to escort him via an area of counter-demonstrators waving Israeli flags.

"I am only safe basically if I have a police escort, is that what you are telling me?", Falter asked, to which the officer said: "I am offering it to you, sir".

The officer tells Falter he has been "antagonising" a large group of protesters by "deliberately" walking against the group in a straight line, adding: "We can't deal with all of that if they attack you".

What backlash has there been?

In a statement released on Monday, Falter says it is "by now clear" that the Met's policing policy at "anti-Israel marches" represents "the inverse of how policing should work".

"Police should be protecting those believed to be under threat, not threatening them with arrest to appease suspected violent racists," he added.

“Since the incident, the Met has issued and withdrawn a series of statements, some apologetic and some belligerent."

The Met apologised on Friday, but received substantial criticism for saying that opponents who attend pro-Palestine marches “must know that their presence is provocative” and are “increasing the likelihood of an altercation”.

The force deleted this within hours and apologised again for causing "further offence", adding: "The use of the term ‘openly Jewish’ by one of our officers is hugely regrettable. We know it will have caused offence to many. We reiterate our apology."

Describing the Met's response to the incident as "shambolic", Falter said: “Some individuals have also been wheeled out to suggest that I provoked the crowd, or that there is somehow more to the story than it appears from the footage.

April 22, 2024, London, England, United Kingdom: Former Home Secretary SUELLA BRAVERMAN is seen in Westminster after interview on GBNews. (Credit Image: © Tayfun Salci/ZUMA Press Wire) EDITORIAL USAGE ONLY! Not for Commercial USAGE!
Suella Braverman is leading calls from MPs for Sir Mark Rowley to step down. (Alamy).

"A former chief superintendent has even outrageously suggested that I assaulted a police officer and should have been arrested. This has now gone far beyond victim-blaming."

Falter appeared to be referring to comments on Monday by former Scotland Yard chief superintendent Dal Babu, who, upon seeing the full video, said the "narrative that’s been pushed for the past few days is not accurate".

“Personally, if I was policing that march, I would have been inclined to have arrested [Falter] for assault on a police officer and breach of the peace," he told BBC Breakfast

Rowley was due to hold an urgent meeting with the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, over the incident. Commenting on the initial clips shared over the weekend, prime minister Rishi Sunak said he shared the "shock and anger" that many are feeling.

While he said he still has confidence in Rowley, he said he must work "to rebuild the confidence and trust of not just the Jewish community, but the wider public, particularly people in London but more broadly".

The Stop the War coalition, one of the main organisers of pro-Palestine marches through the capital, disputed Falter's account, accusing him of coming with a camera crew with the hope of "provoking a reaction" from police or protesters.

Mark Rowley faces calls to resign

On Monday the CAA reiterated its calls for Mark Rowey to step down as the Met's chief commissioner.

"It is time to hold him to account," Falter said in a statement. "The fault for this policing policy, which we have seen play out for half a year now on our streets, does not lie with frontline officers, including those with whom I interacted who have been put in an impossible position by the leadership.

"The fault lies squarely with Sir Mark. It is time for him to go, and if he does not resign, the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and the home secretary, James Cleverly, should remove him from his post.”

Braverman, who was sacked as home secretary in November after claiming in an unauthorised op-ed for The Times that police have double-standards when it comes to pro-Palestine protesters, also called for Rowley to go.

File photo dated 11/9/23 of Sir Mark Rowley. The head of the Metropolitan Police is facing calls to quit over the force's handling of pro-Palestinian protests. Both the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) and former home secretary Suella Braverman have called for Sir Mark to resign or be sacked, accusing him of having
Met Police commissioner Sir Mark Rowley was due to hold an urgent meeting with Sadiq Khan on Monday. (Alamy)

Writing in the Telegraph, she said that “after such a litany of failure and a wholesale refusal to change, the Met Commissioner needs to accept responsibility. And he must go”.

When confronted on BBC Radio 4 about now having seen the whole clip, Braverman said she has seen "enough of the video", adding that the incident is more about “what has happened over the last six months”.

Rowley was due to hold an urgent meeting with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan on Monday "to discuss community relations".

As mayor, Khan has the power to sack Rowley, but would need the permission of home secretary James Cleverly, who can also require Khan to dismiss the Met head.

A spokesman for Khan said the Met “must have the confidence of the communities they serve and it is right that they have apologised for the way the incident was handled and their original public response”.

Rowley himself has reiterated the force’s apology and acknowledged that some officers’ actions had increased “concerns”.

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