HAMPSHIRE, UK – A British military veteran was arrested recently after he allegedly “caused someone distress” by posting an “offensive” meme that in July depicted four LGBTQ+ flags configured into the form of a Nazi swastika, accompanied with text that read “Oh blessed and most holy month!”
Despite June being Pride Month, in the UK many Pride events are held in July.
Darren Brady, 51, was captured on video being led out of his residence in handcuffs by Hampshire police on July 28, who can be heard telling him that “someone has been caused anxiety based on your social media post. That is why you have been arrested.” A Hampshire Constabulary spokesperson later confirmed that Brady had been arrested for posting “an offensive image had been shared online.”
It is currently unknown who filed the complaint against Bradley; his arresting officers claimed that his offence fell under Section 127 of the Communications Act of 2003, a law that allows incarceration for offences such as posting content on the internet that is deemed “grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character” or “for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another.”
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Under Article 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998, “everyone has the right to freedom of expression” in the UK; however, the law states that this freedom “may be subject to formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society.”
Police had reportedly visited Bradley previously to investigate the matter, with a witness – Harry Miller, 57, a former police officer and Bad Law Project CEO – claiming that officers had insisted that the accused pay approximately £80 for a “re-education” course in order to downgrade the charge.
After Bradley purportedly declined to pay the fee, police returned to his home on July 28 to arrest him, and Miller – who was present again as well – was confirmed to have been arrested for allegedly obstructing the officers.
Ultimately, no charges were pressed against Brady after his arrest, with the police spokesperson confirming that “no further action is being taken” against him regarding the matter.
An individual name Laurence Fox has been identified as both the creator of the LGBTQ+ flag meme and the individual who filmed Brady’s arrest; according to reports, Caroline Russell, a member of the Police and Crime Committee in the Greater London Authority tweeted that Fox should be investigated as well for “using pride flags to create Nazi imagery and posting the images on a public platform. This is a hate crime.”