Overzealous police officers arrested 54-year-old Mark Worsfold, former soldier and martial arts teacher recently diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, for not smiling during the Olympic cycling road race.It appears Worsfold first drew suspicion by sitting too close to the course. After giving a martial arts demonstration in the area, he stopped to watch the cycling event, and somehow managed to sit next to a group of protesters.
"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," a spokesman for the Surrey police department stated.
The police handcuffed Worsfold, threw him on the floor and brought him to the station after he “failed to smile or look like he was enjoying himself.”
‘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,” he said.
The Guardian reports that Worsfold was questioned for five hours at the Reigate police station, during which his fingerprints, DNA and mugshots were taken.
All of that happened before he could explain that he was suffering from Parkinson's disease, which causes muscle rigidity, among other symptoms.
His lack of ability to display emotion caused “serious concern” to officers surveying the crowd.
"There were a number of factors which led officers to make this arrest, including the fact that the race was rapidly approaching, the heightened level of security due to the high-profile nature of the event and the sheer number of spectators in attendance,” the police spokesman explained.
Representatives of Parkinson's UK used this occasion to remind the public that Parkinson's patients experience this sort of ill treatment on a regular basis.
"Sadly Mark's experience highlights the lack of understanding and compassion that many people currently living with Parkinson's have to deal with every day," head of information and support Laura Bowey stated.
It seems this year's Olympic Games have brought on as much joy as they have concern for the public's safety. For Mark Worsfold, however, this does not make the actions of the arresting officers understandable.
Although he was kindly “given advice” before being released “with no further action,” he is demanding a letter of exoneration from the Surrey Police.