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TORONTO – Indie filmmaker Anthony Baxter has received an apology from Scottish police for being forcibly arrested as he shot a 2010 documentary about tycoon developer Donald Trump building a luxury golf course on an isolated stretch of sand dunes in Scotland.
An internal complaints investigation by the Grampian police concluded that the two officers who arrested Baxter and colleague Richard Phinney in July 2010 “could have interacted more effectively with both you and your colleague.”
But Baxter said he was not satisfied with the Grampian Police enquiry, which did not question the reason for the initial arrests, or subsequent criminal charges for trespassing that were withdrawn in January 2011.
“I’m afraid the half-hearted apology I have received from the police only lends credence to the growing public perception that Grampian Police, the Scottish government and the Trump Organization did indeed work closely together to the detriment of local residents, our natural environment and the public’s right to know,” he told the Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday.
The arrests, captured on camera, feature prominently in the award-winning documentary You’ve Been Trumped, Baxter’s expose about the Celebrity Apprentice mogul that received its world premiere at the 2011 Hot Docs festival in Toronto.
“If these were normal “force procedures” as the officers maintained, then journalists would be jailed in their hundreds every month in Scotland,” Baxter insisted.
The Scottish director maintains Grampian Police officers were under pressure to “protect the Trump Organization from unwanted scrutiny,” which included his rolling cameras.
Baxter, a radio and TV documentary maker for the BBC and Channel 4, was thrown into jail after his arrest as he attempted to keep Trump and his son, Donald Jr., in his camera lens as they made a series of promotional visits to the golf course development in Scotland.
The indie filmmaker insists the Scottish police responded to an unfounded complaint from someone in the Trump Organization, and should never have escalated the situation to the stage of an arrest and jailing of working journalists.
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