West Midlands Police respond to arrest of “homeless” man in Birmingham McDonalds
West Midlands Police have responded to claims that a “homeless” man was arrested from a McDonald’s restaurant in Birmingham city centre.
During an incident just over a week ago, a local teenager confronted an officer from West Midlands Police after over five officers were sent to a McDonald’s restaurant in Birmingham’s Cherry Street to remove an allegedly homeless man who was reportedly sleeping in the restaurant.
Luke Holland from Kings Heath, challenged the officer, only to be labelled “immature”, uneducated and “petty”.
WATCH: Luke Holland confronts police officer in McDonalds
Speaking to the officer, Luke – who is standing as an independent candidate in the upcoming local council elections – claimed the man who was arrested had been “sleeping because there’s nowhere for him to stay tonight.” The officer contested the claims, responding, “He’s under arrest for breaching the peace.”
Holland, from Kings Heath in Birmingham, then questioned if the man had been breaching the peace “for being homeless”, to which the officer replied “You’ve really got a lot of learning to do, haven’t you?”
The exchange lasted a few minutes with the vexed officer doing a u-turn just as he was about to leave, after Holland shouted that the PC needed to get an education, in response to an earlier statement made by the officer.
The incident was filmed by I Am Birmingham reporter Adam Yosef, who was at the restaurant prior to the unexpected confrontation.
Witness Shirley P. Cooper, who was in the restaurant during the whole incident, described the police team attending the incident as “very aggressive”.
In response to the incident, an official spokesperson for West Midlands Police stated:
“At around 9.20pm on Thursday 26 February officers on routine patrol stopped a man on Corporation Street who they believed to be drunk and was who shouting at passers-by.
“The 40-year-old was asked to leave the area. Around 15 minutes later the same man was spotted in a fast food restaurant on Cherry Street. Additional officers were then called and the man arrested to prevent a breach of the peace.
“Unemployed Viliam Timko , of James Turner Street in Winson Green, Birmingham was later charged with possessing a controlled drug and appeared before the city’s magistrates’ on Saturday 28 February. Mr Timko pleaded guilty and was fined £75 and had to pay a victim surcharge of £20 and court costs of £145.
“We welcome members of the public filming our officers executing their duties but it should always be borne in mind that, as in this case, the footage only captures a tiny snapshot of the incident they are dealing with as a whole on the basis of multiple sources of information.
“Birmingham Police have a long standing commitment to protecting homeless people and work with organisations such as the Big Issue, Midlands Heart, St Basils and SIFA Fireside on a daily basis.”
Following the publication of the video online, members of the public have responded both positively and negatively, expressing support and disdain for the young electoral candidate. While some have suggested he was right to question the actions of the police, many criticised his decision to become embroiled in police business without fact-checking first.
Political candidate Luke Holland, who describes himself as a “community activist” has not as yet responded to the official police statement.
This article was corrected on 22nd June 2015, where the concluding sentence which read “Luke Holland, who describes himself as a “community activist” has not responded to these claims” was altered to read “Luke Holland, who describes himself as a “community activist”, has not as yet responded to the official police statement’”.