Morrissey has canceled several concert dates in Italy after alleging that a police officer in Rome pulled a gun on him in a “deliberate act of terror.”
The former Smiths frontman said he “believed [the officer] was about to shoot me,” according to a Facebook messaged posted Monday by Morrissey’s nephew and photographer, Sam Esty Rayner.
The singer claims that the officer demanded his papers outside a Nike store. Morrissey says, according to Rayner, that he “had not broken the law or acted suspiciously” and believes the officer “recognized me and wanted to frighten me. I did not back down even though I believed he was about to shoot me. I urge people to beware of this dangerously aggressive Officer. He might kill you.”
Italian police, however, are pushing back against Morrissey’s version of events.
Police said the singer and his nephew were pulled over for speeding in the wrong direction down a one way street in a tourist-heavy area where security has been heightened in the wake of the terrorist attacks in London and Paris, according to La Republic newspaper.
Morrissey was apparently upset that the officer didn’t immediately recognize the rocker. La Republic reports that the officer may file an official complaint against Morrissey, and the singer could be sued for defamation by Rome’s police department.
In the wake of the incident, Rolling Stone reports that Morrissey has cancelled seven scheduled concerts in Italy, saying: “Obviously, with psychopaths like this on the loose, it is not safe for me to be in Italy.”
Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @JeromeEHudson