Laurence Clark: Why I bit a policeman

Laurence Clark. Pic: Comp
Laurence Clark. Pic: Comp
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IF you start to think about your regrets, one defining incident will leap out. Mine occurred 12 years ago on a protest against a charity ball raising funds for a care home for disabled people.

Most people like protesting against nice, easy, black and white stuff like badger culling or fracking, but raising money to institutionalise people has never struck me as particularly charitable.

I was part of a chain of wheelchair users blocking the entrance to a posh hotel, linked with toy handcuffs which betray my lack of planning.

The police ordered us to clear the entrance but I stayed put and, in the best tradition of Mahatma Gandhi, practiced my passive resistance.

Unfortunately these officers weren’t au fait with his teachings and tried to tip me back and push me away, thus ignoring the basic physics of a chain of people handcuffed together - he actually seemed surprised when he got nowhere, so he let go and the back of my head hit the floor.

Then another officer stood on my wrist with his entire body weight while using industrial bolt-cutters.

Talk about overkill, toy handcuffs surely call for toy bolt-cutters? I panicked that he’d break my wrist and tried to push him off me but couldn’t. I’m not particularly proud of what I did next but it was a split-second decision which made sense at the time.

I guess you’ve never truly experienced instant regret until you’ve bit a policeman’s ankle.

Laurence Clark: Moments of Instant Regret, Assembly George Square, until 24 August, 7.20pm, £9-£10, 0131-226 0000