A man has described how he was handcuffed, arrested and stripped in a police cell for the crime of not giving his name after being caught taking his family to their favourite Welsh beach.
Man ARRESTED standing up for his wife. They went for a walk at the nearest beach after her brother was hospitalised and in a coma. He asked them to stop harassing her. So cuffs on and off to Wrexham police station. #lockdown #COVID19 @northwaleslive pic.twitter.com/fnGUgD10tI
— Neil McEvoy MS (@neiljmcevoy) March 1, 2021
Radek Kotlarek moved to Wales from London with his family seven years ago for a peaceful life. But his treatment at the weekend by Welsh police, he says, was more redolent of Nazi German or the communist era in his native Poland.
He told his story to Breitbart London:
My family has been on edge for sometime under lockdown. We have suffered sickness and death among our relatives back in Poland and my children – we have two boys – have been especially affected. So on Sunday, we took our older son, who is 17, for a short walk on his favourite beach, about twenty miles from where we live.
After our walk we had an ice cream and in the car park we saw two police officers handing out tickets for breaking Covid legislation. I did not feel we had committed a crime. A female officer explained the rules on taking exercise too far from your home. I tried to explain to her that this break was essential for our mental health. But she didn’t seem very compassionate or understanding.
I asked ‘Am I being detained? Because if not I would like to enjoy the rest of my afternoon and you are harassing me.’
She asked me to give my name and when I refused – because I had committed no crime – she arrested me.
I was handcuffed and taken to a police station in Wrexham. I was locked in an interrogation room. A police sergeant told me he could hold me for 24 hours if I refused to cooperate.
I said: ‘I do not consent. I took my family for an icecream.’
At this point the police sergeant got really angry and frustrated and bullying. He shouted in my face: ‘I’m in charge and I give the orders.’ Then he told me I was going to be strip searched, which really shocked me.
After about 45 minutes two different officers appeared. I said: ‘Please will you loosen my right handcuff because it’s really tight and stopping my circulation?’ They refused. Then I said: ‘I need to use the bathroom.’ They said: ‘Not until we are finished.’
I was taken to a custody cell where there was an exposed toilet. I asked for some privacy and some toilet paper. The sergeant said: ‘No shit for him until we are finished.’
They asked me what my clothes size was. I told them I was happy in my own clothes.
Then they came in with a pair of scissors and said that if I didn’t cooperate they would cut my clothes and forcibly remove them from me.
At which point I agreed to do what they said. I stood naked in front of them. Well, not totally naked: first I changed out of my top, then out of my bottoms. But I’d say that standing with your genitalia exposed while two men look at you counts as naked.
It’s the sort of thing you might have expected in Nazi Germany – but not in a civilised modern democracy.
After three hours I was released with no charges, and no penalty. It had all been for nothing.
Kotlarek’s case has been taken up by a member of the Welsh Assembly, Neil McEvoy MS.
McEvoy is an anti-lockdown campaigner who has himself had run-ins with the local police, caught on film harassing him after he was distributing political leaflets while campaigning to oust Wales’s hard-left chief minister Mark Drakeford. Drakeford has been responsible for probably the most draconian lockdown regulations in the United Kingdom.
McEvoy said of Kotlarek’s case: “It’s outrageous but it’s a sign of the times. The police have become very authoritarian and no more so than in Wales.”
North Wales Police have issued a statement on the incident.
Following the circulation of a video and many subsequent comments on social media, Chief Superintendent Nigel Harrison said:
The person was spoken to at Talacre beach as officers reasonably suspected he had committed an offence, which in this case was a breach in Coronavirus regulations.
The man, who is from the seaside town of Rhos on Sea some 22 miles away, was arrested because his details could not be ascertained at the time in order to be reported for the suspected breach.
The officers behaved in a calm and reasonable way as I would have expected.
As is always the case, if the individual wishes to query or complain about the way they were treated then of course we will review the full circumstances.
Kotlarek is now seeking legal advice.
He told Breitbart News:
It was humiliating. But this isn’t about me or about getting revenge. I just don’t want to live in a society in which the most basic human rights are not respected and where people are treated like animals.