A NEW war of words has erupted between an award-winning film-maker and a Scottish police force over his arrest while shooting a controversial documentary on Donald Trump’s golf resort.
• Grampian Police criticised over the way they have policed matters connected to the Donald Trump development at the Menie Estate
• Force apologises for conduct of officers in July 2010 arrest but rejects accusations that it wasn’t impartial in ongoing protests
A furore over the arrest of documentary-maker Anthony Baxter flared again last month, after BBC2 screened his investigation You’ve been Trumped for the first time.
Mr Baxter was apprehended by two officers from Grampian Police at Trump’s Menie estate.
One of the key scenes in the documentary shows Mr Baxter and co-producer Richard Phinney being confronted by the officers in July 2010, as they filmed at the edge of the championship course. The officers ordered them to turn off their camera.
Mr Baxter can be heard screaming as he is handcuffed and bundled into the back of a police car.
The two film-makers spent four hours in police cells on charges of breach of the peace, which were later dropped.
The television screening of the documentary led to First Minister Alex Salmond writing to Colin McKerracher, Grampian’s chief constable, after he had been contacted by a number of constituents expressing the “strong suggestion that Grampian Police acted in a partial and unacceptable manner”.
Mr Baxter has now accused the force of “hypocrisy and cover-up” after a senior officer wrote to complaining viewers, denying allegations that the force had acted in anything other than an impartial manner.
In his letter, Chief Superintendent Ewan Stewart, of the force’s professional standards department, states: “Having reviewed all the available evidence, I can understand why a member of the public could have perceived the police actions within the documentary as being rash and confrontational and this has caused some concern.”
But he added: “I can assure you that Grampian Police have responded to all calls, protests or incidents at the estate in an impartial and transparent manner.”
In response, Mr Baxter and Mr Phinney have fired off a joint letter to the force, saying: “We are writing to you to ask you to please stop the misleading,
self-serving and irresponsible letters we understand you are sending to members of the public who complain about Grampian Police behaviour as shown in our film You’ve Been Trumped.
“The letter we have seen is deeply insulting to us but, more important, it is further evidence that the police is trying to cover up the truth.”
A spokeswoman for Grampian Police declined to comment on the letter.
Mr Baxter said the police force’s letter was “immensely
“They are still trying to justify their completely unjustifiable actions,” he said.
“They are attempting to pre-empt the letter from Alex
Salmond by sending out this letter to people who have been horrified by what they have seen on the screen.”
He added: “There is a huge chasm between the way the public expect police to behave and the way that Grampian Police seem to behave in this case.
“They are acting as a private security force for Donald Trump, according to the residents there. My own experience gave me no indication that they [residents] were wrong about that.”