Is it against the law to name a police officer a lesbian? Now there’s a query I by no means thought I’d need to pose. However following the discharge of stunning footage, exhibiting a 16-year-old autistic lady being arrested by seven cops over a ‘homophobic public-order offence’, it’s one which desperately must be answered.

Over the previous 48 hours, a TikTok video has gone viral exhibiting a distressed lady from Leeds being manhandled and brought away by police. Within the clip, the kid’s mom, who filmed and launched the video, is heard arguing with the officers who’ve entered her residence, pleading with them to go away her daughter alone, who she says is each autistic and suffers with scoliosis.

The mom claims that her daughter stated to one of many officers, a blonde girl with brief hair, that she ‘regarded like her lesbian nana’. ‘You’re going to take away her for what, she stated the phrase lesbian? Her nana is a lesbian, she’s married to a lady. She’s not homophobic’, the mom says within the clip.

She tries, in useless, to clarify the misery that is all inflicting her daughter, who’s hiding underneath the steps, screaming and hitting herself. ‘She’s autistic’, the mom repeats, to which the allegedly offended cop responds: ‘I don’t care.’ A male officer intervenes, insisting the kid made a ‘homophobic’ remark in the direction of his colleague. The lady is then taken away, screaming and crying. She was launched on bail with out cost the subsequent day.

There are two sides to each story, in fact. In a press release launched yesterday, West Yorkshire Police assistant chief constable Oz Khan stated the video ‘solely offers a really restricted snapshot of the circumstances of this incident’, and that the officers’ bodycams present ‘further context’ concerning the encounter. He requested that ‘individuals keep away from reaching any conclusions about [the incident] solely on the idea of the social-media video’.

However the particulars police have offered to date will do little to dispel the impression throughout social media that this was an outrageous abuse of energy:

‘From 12.12am on Monday, 7 August, police acquired calls from a member of the family of a 16-year-old lady who was reportedly intoxicated and placing herself in danger in Leeds metropolis centre. Officers attended at about 1am and drove {the teenager} to her residence so she could possibly be appropriately taken care of. Upon returning her to the handle, feedback had been made which resulted within the lady being arrested on suspicion of a homophobic public-order offence. The character of the feedback made was absolutely captured on body-worn video… She was later launched on bail pending additional enquiries and recommendation from the Crown Prosecution Service.’

So many questions are left dangling right here. If this ‘further context’ exists, why haven’t we been supplied with it? If the alleged offence came about ‘upon returning her to the handle’, then how has she dedicated a public-order offence? (The Public Order Act has a so-called ‘dwelling defence’ to cease individuals being criminalised for feedback made in their very own properties.) Did the lady say something apart from what her mom has claimed? Absolutely, saying a cop resembles a lesbian will not be an arrestable offence, even underneath Britain’s ridiculously censorious speech legal guidelines?

I put a few of these inquiries to West Yorkshire Police at the moment. ‘We’ve nothing so as to add to our present assertion at this stage’, a spokesman advised me, including that investigations had been ongoing.

They’d do effectively to be loads much less cagey, given the plunging public belief in police in the case of free speech. In recent times, we’ve seen veterans have their collars felt for posting anti-woke memes on social media, and gender-critical feminists dragged by way of the courts as a result of trans activists took wilful offence to their posts.

Autistic individuals appear notably susceptible to plod’s obvious campaign to cease individuals – together with their very own officers – having their emotions harm. In 2020, a Welsh 19-year-old, who suffers with Asperger’s, anxiousness and melancholy, was convicted of a hate crime for shouting ‘Is it a boy or is it a lady?’ at a transgender community-support officer. He was given a 12-week curfew and ordered to pay £590. West Yorkshire Police had been additionally hauled over the coals earlier this yr for recording a ‘non-crime hate incident’ in opposition to an autistic schoolboy from Wakefield, who introduced a Koran to high school and dropped it on the ground, scuffing it barely. Regardless that the boy was despatched dying threats, after information of the ‘desecration’ acquired out on social media, he was the one who ended up being formally investigated by the police.

All these examples and extra level to one thing deeply sinister. The police have grow to be the armed wing of offence tradition. So determined are they to search out some new ethical mission, to cleanse themselves of previous sins and modern unhealthy PR, that they’ve grow to be obsessive about punishing wrongthinkers – even susceptible younger individuals whose solely ‘crime’ is to offend the fragile sensibilities of a cop.

We shouldn’t rush to judgement concerning the case of Leeds’ alleged autistic hate prison. That elusive ‘further context’ might but floor. However until this lady can also be accused of a severe crime, a kind of old style ones involving actions and deeds reasonably than phrases and emotions, it’s not possible to see what she might have stated, in her own residence no much less, that may have justified this outrageous response.

A police power that locks up autistic children for offending its officers has misplaced the ethical plot. West Yorkshire Police desperately want to offer some correct solutions.

Tom Slater is editor of spiked. Observe him on Twitter: @Tom_Slater_