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Man arrested for not smiling…not.

This is a guest post by amie

There was a soldier on duty at the Olympic Park yesterday who was inviting women in the (short and quickly moving) queue waiting to pass through security, to high five and kiss him on the cheek. When he invited me and I obliged, his joy at announcing this addition to his tally (181 so far!) was indistinguishable from when it was a considerably younger woman boosting his total.

Later, stretched out in the shade of the bandstand, I read this article in the Daily Mail.

A father with Parkinson’s disease was arrested as he watched the Olympic cycling road race because he ‘failed to smile or look like he was enjoying himself’.

Mark Worsfold, a martial arts trainer and former soldier, claims that he  was thrown to the floor and handcuffed just as cyclists passed by.

His worried wife Nicola only found out he was being held after she reported him missing when he did not turn up for their daughter’s ninth birthday party.

A man leaned over and asked what my reaction was to reading this. I said it occurred to me there must be more to the story than this. He answered: “I am so pleased you said that, I am Mark’s brother.” (what are the chances, eh?)

This is the brother’s account:

Mark had served in Northern Ireland and appreciates full well the stresses involved in assessing responses in tense situations. He was concerned that the newspaper reports (It was in the Guardian as well) were reflecting this as a case of police brutality which, if the full background were known, it would be apparent it was not.

The group of protesters near where he was standing were from Fathers 4 Justice (groan from my Family Law lecturer sister sitting alongside me).  To make matters worse, a woman protester next  to him trying to join the other demonstrators and who was haranguing the police as imperialist lackeys, etc, looked as if she was with him.

“This is all going to kick off” he thought, and he needed to get to his daughter’s birthday. With that he jumped off the wall to leave. Bad move, worse timing, open to misinterpretation. When he was jumped on, he tried to say he had been to a Taekwondo demonstration and needed to get to his daughter. What the police heard, in the presumably noisy environment, (said the brother), was “demonstration” and “getting to his daughter”-  a reasonable impression of  a  Father 4 justice with access issues.

He would be grateful if I could convey to others a more rounded  perspective.

And so, with the glow of a glorious flawless day in the Olympic park still fresh, I am happy to disrupt the narrative link with North Korea this story is carrying in the twittersphere.