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28-year-old arrested after image shows man urinating next to police officer's memorial in London

Home Secretary Priti Patel described the act as “appalling and shameful”.

Updated Jun 14th 2020, 12:05 PM

2.41917156 Flowers at the memorial in London (file photo). Source: PA Images

A 28-YEAR-OLD man has been arrested in England after a man was photographed apparently urinating next to the memorial dedicated to PC Keith Palmer, the officer who was stabbed to death in the 2017 terror attack in Westminster.

The image was widely shared on social media yesterday as violent clashes between far-right protesters and police took place in central London.

Scotland Yard today said that a 28-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of outraging public decency and is currently in custody in Essex after presenting himself at a police station.

Speaking yesterday in response to the image, Police Commander Bas Javid said: “We are aware of a disgusting and abhorrent image circulating on social media of a man appearing to urinate on a memorial to PC Palmer.

“I feel for PC Palmer’s family, friends and colleagues. We have immediately launched an investigation and will gather all the evidence available to us and take appropriate action.”

Speaking about yesterday’s events, Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “We have seen some shameful scenes today, including the desecration of PC Keith Palmer’s memorial in Parliament, in Westminster Square, and quite frankly that is shameful, that is absolutely appalling and shameful.”

Earlier, the chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation said the man in question should be jailed. Ken Marsh condemned the “disorder and unruliness” witnessed at the far-right protests in London yesterday.

Speaking to the PA news agency, Marsh said: “It’s horrendous. The man urinating next to Keith Palmer’s memorial is disgusting.

“How can a human being behave like that? I don’t get it, it’s beyond belief.

“A faction of people today [Saturday] only had one intention – to be violent and unlawful, they didn’t come here to protect the statues, it’s just disorder and unruliness.

“I suggest serious custodial sentences in relation to assaults on police and others, criminal damage and urinating next to the memorial of heroes.”

His views were echoed by Senior Tory MP Rob Halfon, who described the protester’s behaviour as “horrific”.

Halfon, the chair of the Commons Education Committee, said he hoped the perpetrator was tracked down and jailed.

“This is just so horrific. I hope they find this individual and lock them up and throw away the key,” he told the PA news agency.

“This is not the kind of country we are. I feel every possible good wish to the family of PC Palmer, who did so much to keep us safe.”

‘He should be ashamed’

The Father of the House of Commons, Sir Peter Bottomley, said the protester should be “ashamed”, and that people with him should have intervened to tell him his actions were wrong.

“It is the kind of behaviour that should make anyone ashamed,” he told PA.

“If people had the courage of Keith Palmer they would know they should intervene and say to anyone doing that kind of thing: ‘Don’t.’

“I think the people who were with the person should have intervened. If you stand by and do nothing, bad things go on happening.”

MP Tobias Ellwood, who gave first aid to PC Palmer as he lay dying after being stabbed to death in the grounds of Parliament by Khalid Masood, said the image of the man urinating next to the memorial outside the Palace of Westminster was “abhorrent”.

The Tory MP for Bournemouth East and chairman of the Defence Select Committee, tweeted a picture of the man and wrote: “Absolute shame on this man.

“Of all the images to emerge over these few testing days I find this one of most abhorrent. Please help identify him.”

Masood ploughed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before stabbing PC Palmer, and was eventually shot dead by a plainclothes close protection officer.

The officer was posthumously awarded the George Medal for bravery that “unquestionably saved lives”.

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His memorial was organised by the Police Memorial Trust and unveiled in February 2019.

Over 100 arrests

More than 100 people were arrested at a far-right protest in London yesterday, which was condemned by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as “racist thuggery”.

Six police officers suffered minor injuries in violent clashes as several hundred demonstrators, mostly white men, attended the protest organised by far-right groups which claimed they wanted to protect statues such as Winston Churchill from vandalism.

But the demonstration turned violent after hundreds of self-proclaimed “statue defenders” took over areas near the Houses of Parliament and Trafalgar Square and hurled missiles, smoke grenades, glass bottles and flares at police officers.

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