August 8, 2012
Yet another reason to boycott the Olympics?
A spectator is seeking an exoneration after he claims he was arrested for “not smiling” during the 2012 London Olympic Men’s Cycling Road Race.
Mark Worsfold, 54, a martial arts trainer who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, wants a “letter of exoneration” after what he claims was a gross overreaction on the part of Surrey Police.
Worsfold explained to the Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser, “I was sitting minding my own business…Before I knew anything the police grabbed me off this seven-foot wall, threw me to the floor and cuffed me so all I saw of the cycle race was between the feet of people from the pavement.”
Due to his degenerative disorder, Worsfold says his face can seem expressionless.
According to the Guardian, Worsfold says Surrey police “questioned him about his demeanor and why he had not been seen to be visibly enjoying the event.” They arrested him on charges of “breach of the peace” saying Worsfold’s behavior posed a “caused concern.”
The Guardian reports Worsfold as having been detained for two hours, but The Advertiser says it was more like five: “Mr Worsfold was detained for five hours, and his wife only found out where he was after reporting him missing when he did not turn up for his daughter’s birthday party.”
Surrey police defended their actions, claiming, “The man was positioned close to a small group of protesters and based on his manner, his state of dress and his proximity to the course, officers made an arrest to prevent a possible breach of the peace.”
The Chief Superintendent remarked that the arrest was “In the interests of public safety,” and that officers were forced to act “quickly and decisively based on the information available to them.”
The Advertiser notes Worsfold sought the charges dropped to protect his reputation as a martial arts trainer: “He told the Advertiser he now sees the funny side, but as he was wearing his logo on his uniform he worries it may effect his reputation and has asked for a letter of exoneration from police.”
Police later stated they found several knives on Worsfold, but that one was legal and the rest were rubber knives which were used for display.
The Advertiser says the officers that made the arrest apologized, but a still-shaken Worsfold expressed his disbelief: “It could have been done better. I was arrested for not smiling. I have Parkinson’s.”
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