A 28-year-old has been charged after a man was photographed apparently urinating next to a memorial dedicated to PC Keith Palmer, the police officer who was stabbed to death in the 2017 terror attack in Westminster.
Andrew Banks, of Stansted, Essex, has been charged with outraging public decency and will appear in custody at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday, the Metropolitan Police said.
He was arrested after presenting himself at a police station in Essex on Sunday.
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The image of a man urinating was widely shared on social media on Saturday as violent clashes between far-right protesters and police took place in central London.
Commander Bas Javid of the Metropolitan Police branded the picture “disgusting and abhorrent”.
He said in a statement on Saturday: “We are aware of a disgusting and abhorrent image circulating on social media of a man appearing to urinate on a memorial to PC Palmer.
“I feel for PC Palmer’s family, friends and colleagues.
“We have immediately launched an investigation, and will gather all the evidence available to us and take appropriate action.”
PC Palmer died after being stabbed by Khalid Masood while on duty outside parliament during the Westminster terror attack on 22 March 2017.
Four pedestrians were also killed in the car and knife attack before Masood was shot dead by police.
Tobias Ellwood, the Tory MP who rushed to give first aid to PC Palmer, condemned the image of the man urinating as “abhorrent” and called for people to identify him.
He tweeted: “Absolute shame on this man. Of all the images to emerge over these few testing days, I find this one of the most abhorrent. Please help identify him.”
Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said he was “absolutely sickened” by the images from Saturday’s protests, including the one taken next to PC Palmer’s memorial.
He added: “How very sad that a human being has chosen to do that. It’s just disgusting.
“It is beyond anything I’ve ever seen. For someone to do that to a hero who lost his life so tragically, it is not on.”