Bangalore, Aug 10: The bizarre arrest of a 54-year-old Britisher for "not smiling" during an Olympic event seems to be worthy of inclusion in Ripley's Believe It or Not.
Gulf News has reported how Mark Worsfold, a former soldier, was watching a men's cycling road race at Leatherhead in Surrey when handcuffs were suddenly put on him.
"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. It could have been done better. I was arrested for not smiling," Mark rued.
His fingerprints, DNA and mugshot were all taken at the Reigate police station. His interrogators wanted to know why he "failed to smile or look like he was enjoying himself". Their suspicion was compounded by the fact that a legal folding knife and several rubber knives were found in his possession.
Mark explained that he is suffering from Parkinson's disease. The degenerative disorder of the central nervous system causes muscle rigidity. Mark also told the police that he is a martial arts trainer and had just a while earlier conducted a Taekwondo demonstration for which he needed the knives.
Finally the police released Mark but by then Mark's wife Nicola had lodged a missing person complaint. She was getting worried as he had not returned home to attend their daughter's ninth birthday party.
Surrey police informed her that Mark was in their custody. They said that he was initially arrested on suspicion of a public order offence because of "his manner, his state of dress and his proximity to the course."
Though the officers who carried out the wrongful arrest have already tendered an apology for the same, Mark is still unhappy. He has demanded a letter of exoneration from the police.