LONDON: Christian pastor arrested preaching the Bible
A Christian pastor who was arrested after he preached from the Bible in London yesterday said he had been treated 'shamefully'.
John Sherwood was pulled from his podium, 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 71 year old grandfather claimed he was left bruised after police dragged him from a mini-stepladder he was using and cuffed his hands behind his back.
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.
Onlookers can be heard shouting, 'He's an elderly man – take it easy with him', before officers put Mr Sherwood in handcuffs and take him to a police car.
Mr Sherwood said officers grilled him over his attitude to gay people. He was even asked what he would do if his children were gay.
A Met Police spokesman said its directorate of professional standards had assessed video footage of Mr Sherwood's arrest and had found no evidence of misconduct by officers.
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