Morrissey "terrorised" by policeman in Rome

ROME- On Wednesday, the singer Morrissey claimed that a police officer in Rome “terrorised” him by holding him at gunpoint for half an hour.

The former frontman of the Smiths released a statement accusing the police officer of a “deliberate act of terror”. He claimed that the officer stopped him on Via del Corso, one of Rome’s busiest shopping streets, and demanded papers  which he did not have. He believed that he was personally targeted, saying “I believe he recognised me and wanted to frighten me. I did not back down even though I believed he was about to shoot me". He warned people to be aware of this "dangerously aggressive" police officer.

His photographer nephew, Sam Esty Rayner, was with the singer at the time and posted a picture of the accused policeman on Twitter along with his motorbike licence plate number. He said the police office “terrorised Morrissey for 35 minutes demanding ‘papers’”.

The Rome police responded to Morrissey's claim with a clarification of events rather than with an apology. They explained that Morrissey was a passenger in a sports car that was "driving on the wrong side of the road on Via del Corso at full speed". The statement said that the driver admitted "full responsibility" but the passenger showed "hostile behaviour". The passenger "insisted that he was not obliged to give his personal details or show any documents, given that he had not committed any crime and was shocked that he was not recognised". The police then spoke to the hotel where the two men were staying who confirmed that they were dealing with the famous english singer-songwriter. These details were not released by either Morrissey or his nephew.

Morrissey famously criticised the police in his song "Ganglord".  He attacked police mentality and brutality with the lyrics “they say ‘to protect and to serve’ but what they really mean to say is ‘get back to the ghetto!’” and “the headless pack are back, small boy jokes and loaded guns”.

He has cancelled his upcoming September concerts in Italy, claiming that "with psychopaths like this on the loose, it is not safe for me to be in Italy".