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Police dispute US journalist's claim he was escorted out of Rinkeby

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Police dispute US journalist's claim he was escorted out of Rinkeby
US journalist Tim Pool. Photo: Ola Torkelsson/TT
15:45 CET+01:00
UPDATED: Police have disputed American journalist Tim Pool's claim that he received an escort out of the Rinkeby suburb of Stockholm on Wednesday after he and his colleague were followed by masked men.

"Several men started masking up and following us. Police told us to leave and had to escort us to our car," he wrote in a Twitter post on Wednesday.

"I started talking to the police. They told me some interesting things about the good they think they can do there, and then one of the other cops basically said 'I have a tip for you, look at what the men around you are doing'," Pool told The Local. 

"We had noticed a bunch of people putting up their hoods, whispering to each other, so the cop was like 'maybe it would be smart if you were to leave now, that's my tip for you'. They got in their car to escort us out and we just had to walk alongside their vehicle, and they followed us to our car. As we were walking there were people following us, yelling things," he added. 

On Wednesday afternoon Stockholm police told The Local that they were aware of the tweets but were unable to find any specific reports filed about it on their system. A press officer later said that Pool did not receive an escort.

"Our understanding is that he didn't receive an escort. However, he followed the police who left the place," Stockholm police press spokesperson Kjell Lindgren told The Local. 

Frida Nordlöf, a police officer in the Järva district, also told regional Stockholm newspaper Mitt i that Pool and his colleague had not been escorted out of the area by police.

"We had extra officers on the ground because of a poetry evening in Rinkeby with a lot of visitors. When Tim Pool took out a camera and started filming a group of young people they pulled their hoods up and covered their faces and shouted at him to stop filming. The officers then told Tim Pool that it was not wise to stay there in the middle of the square and keep filming," she said.

"Then the patrol was going to Rinkeby Academy and that's where Pool's team had parked their car so it was more out of coincidence that they followed each other there."

Pool insisted in a video report however that his descripton of what happened was accurate and pointed out that the police spokespeople quoted were not there when it unfolded.

Last week The Local reported from Rinkeby without incident following a night of car-burnings and rioting in the suburb.

Asked if his filming equipment may have triggered an interest in what he was doing in Rinkeby, Pool said he and his colleague did have a sizable camera on them, but they were not filming when groups started to gather, and that they had used the same equipment in Malmö's Rosengård suburb without issue.

"This was the most extreme thing that has happened, even though nothing really happened. It's just that something might have happened, and the police got agitated," he noted.

Describing himself as a "conflict and crisis journalist", Pool has been reporting in Sweden since last week. His visit included a trip to Malmö partially funded by Paul Joseph Watson, editor of conspiracy theory website Infowars, who promised to pay for a trip to the city for any journalist who claimed it was safe.

His plan now is to "go to other countries Trump called out claiming they were dangerous" after a brief visit to Gothenburg.

"I try to make sure these kind of things don't happen when we go in and we don't provoke these situations. It's part of the job, I've seen worse things, of course," he concluded.

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