While on a public sidewalk in front of the Centre Court Complex during the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, an American preacher was arrested, fingerprinted, had DNA samples taken and then interrogated, after a woman out shopping called the police to complain that she was offended by what was being said.
Tony Miano, a retired Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff who traveled to the UK with Sports Fan Outreach International as part of a mission to bring the Gospel to England, was speaking from 1 Thessalonians which mentions “s*xual immorality” and has mentioned “homos*xuality” alongside “fornication” as examples of what he believed went against “God’s law”.
In an interview with Telegraph.co.uk, Tony Miano stated, “As the questioning started it became apparent that the interrogation was about more than the incident that took place in the street, but what I believed and how I think.”
“I was being interrogated about my thoughts…that is the basic definition of thought police.”
He said he had arrested many people in his career but never over something they believed. “It surprised me that it is possible for a person to be taken to jail for their thoughts,” he said.
“It surprised me that here in the country that produced the Magna Carta, that an otherwise law abiding person could lose freedom because one person was offended by my speech.”
He said he feared Britain and other countries were already on a “slippery slope” towards the erosion of free speech and has written to Parliament outlining his experiences.
Police then concluded by asking Miano “Do you feel that what you did is 100 percent acceptable?” and “Will you do this again tomorrow?” Miano replied that he had done nothing unlawful, and that he would indeed preach the same message again if he felt led to do so by the Lord.
The investigating officer told Mr. Miano’s solicitor that his answers to these last two questions left him no choice but to seek prosecution.