‘Over-confident’ comedian/activist wins stop-and-search payout
LONDON (AFP) Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Comedian and activist Mark Thomas has received a Ã‚Â£1,200 payout after police admitted they stopped and searched him just for looking ‘over-confident’ at a rally, according to a report on Tuesday.
London’s Metropolitan Police said they unlawfully stopped Thomas, 47, and searched his bag at an anti-arms trade demonstration in the capital in 2007, the Guardian wrote.
According to the newspaper, a police officer involved in the incident said he suspected Thomas, who gave a speech at the rally, could be carrying weapons in his shoulder bag as he had an “over-confident attitude”.
The officer was quoted as saying in a legal document: “If we only stopped and searched people who looked nervous and shifty and didn’t stop the ones who looked over-confident you would be able to get one past us.” Nothing was found in the search.
The Met Police has apologised to Thomas and paid out Ã‚Â£1,200 for “falsely imprisoning” him for 12 minutes, the daily wrote.
“If over-confidence is a reason for a stop-and-search, Jonathan Ross should never leave his house,” Thomas told the Guardian.
The comedian said he would donate some of the money to the Miscarriages of Justice Organisation.
In January, the European Court of Human Rights ruled it was illegal for police to stop and search people without grounds for suspicion.