I Can’t Believe You’re Disabled! Institutional Abuse and Vulnerability

More for the disabled-people-are-treated-lower-than-shit files:

From Huffington Post, via disabled_rage:

Police officer in Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office has been suspended – for dumping a man with quadriplegia out on his face.

Brian Sterner was brought in on a warrant for a traffic vioaltion. Charlette Marshall-Jones, who didn’t believe he was a “real” quadriplegic, grabbed the handles and dumped Sterner out of his wheelchair. He fell like a ton of bricks, terrified and completely vulnerable, and he later found that two ribs were broken. The officer then frisked him on the floor, while another officer in the vicinity appeared to grin and ignore it. The movie:

Disbelief, disrespect, assault with bodily harm, indignity, and the systematic and deliberate stripping away of your humanity, dignity and any physical ability you may have had to resist. Complete and total assertion of dominance.

Maybe think about the next time, parking-space whingers. Not that any of you Hoydenizens are the ones who niggle and grouch when someone takes a blue space and you don’t believe that they’re really disabled. If you do carp and snark and speculate on their illness or otherwise, you have the same mindset as this officer; just less power.

This is why I am far more wary out in public since I got sick. When I was fit and healthy, I walked from Northbridge to home without turning a hair, I took the subway to 113th St after 1 pm, I travelled the world alone head held high. Now I’m cautious. I felt exposed and vulnerable chewing out a guy in a busy dog-free park for having his German Shepherd out of his sight and out of his control in the children’s playground. I back away from things, I mind my own business most of the time. Because while I’m not in a wheelchair, I am physically vulnerable. And I often have the Lad with me too, and if I can’t protect him, what use am I?



Categories: social justice, violence

Tags: , , , ,

14 replies

  1. Actually, I do carp and niggle at people who use disabled parks if they haven’t got stickers. (If they have stickers then it’s between them and the RTA of whoever issues them.) I ask them why they are parked there. I report them to parking police. My late partner used to leave stickers on their cars: “Since you have my carpark, perhaps you’d also like my disability”. I believe they were really hard to remove.

  2. My partner gets guff because he’s one of the ‘walking disabled’, ie. his disability is invisible since he has end-stage renal disease. He’s often been abused after we have just parked in a disabled spot, even though he has a valid disabled parking permit clearly displayed. He has even, on occasion, flashed the PD catheter emerging from his abdomen as “proof” to people who seemed to believe he had somehow misled the RTA.
    On the other hand, in the 12 months he has had his disabled parking permit, I have never seen a car in a disabled parking spot that was not displaying a valid permit. So my theory is the whole ‘able bodied people parking in disabled spots’ thing is just ignorant people passing judgement on people with invisible disabilities.

  3. M-H: I was pretty much taking that as a SotBO[1] around here.
    “Parking-space whingers” = the people who whine that disabled people get all the good parking, and they bet that half the people with blue tags aren’t really disabled, because they saw someone walk out of their car once, and they really support that Today Tonight show (or was it ACA?) where the reporters aggressively confronted people with blue stickers who weren’t in wheelchairs, and there shouldn’t be so many blue spaces anyway, because most times they go to the shops, there’s *gasp* ONE EMPTY ONE, though not always, just sometimes, and that’s a really good spot a regular person could have USED, dontcha know?
    [1] Statement of the Bleeding Obvious

  4. If I remember correctly, there is (or at least was) a genuine problem in Sydney of people having corruptly obtained disabled parking tickets in order to park for free all day every day in the CBD. It meant that genuinely disabled people could not find a disabled parking space in the city when they needed one for occasional significant appointments. There were some badly needed sting operations mounted to distinguish genuine from ersatz disabled sticker bearers so that the CBD parking could actually start to work as intended once more.
    But that’s no excuse for people to assume that every single person they see with a disabled sticker on their car who can walk is a fake. And certainly no reason for an assault like the one above on someone in a wheelchair.

  5. God, there are no words for this.
    None.
    annaham’s last blog post..The Corporatocracy, They Lied to Me! HOW COULD THEY?!!11

  6. In WA, the ACROD stickers are now Colour coded to distinquish between wheelchair users, the walking wounded temp holders, and vehicles used by organisations such as nursing homes, patient transport etc.

    Re the US, what do you expect when policie depts are run on at county by county status (similar to local Govt here, and not by the state.

  7. Frank, your characterisation of Renewable permits as being “for wheelchair users” is 100% incorrect, and is exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about.
    A huge number of Renewable permit holders don’t use wheelchairs, or use them intermittently.
    In the US, as here, I expect police to respect basic human rights, and I expect them not to assault people.
    Lauredhel’s last blog post..Earliest and latest possible election dates

  8. [Frank, your characterisation of Renewable permits as being “for wheelchair users” is 100% incorrect, and is exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about.]
    Actually, I AM in a Wheelchair, and hold an ACROD permit, and I know that the Grey permit is for those with a PERMANENT disability, of which the majority are Wheelchair users.
    Info on permit types here.
    http://www.app.org.au/pages/typespermits.htm

  9. Do you have data on “the majority”?
    You linked to the same page I did. Renewable permits are for people with “permanent mobility impairment.” “Permanent” does not equal “wheelchair”.
    Lauredhel’s last blog post..Earliest and latest possible election dates

  10. [Do you have data on “the majority”?]
    It’s a bit hard when the NDS site is password protected so you cannot access anything but application forms, their Annual Report and permit information.

  11. That video is quite disturbing, how incredibly cruel. That poor man, helpless on the floor. I really have a difficult time reminding myself that most police are good people with good intentions and the highest regard for their fellow citizens.
    The other day I was racing for a train to work that wasn’t at my usual station because. When I raced up to the platform I realised that they didn’t have any ramps, only the longest set of stairs you ever saw. My still sleepy toddler, struggling to put her shoes on was dumped out of her pram (not unlike the video above, ok, kidding, not at all like the video above) and I hauled out all our bags – 3 for me and 3 for her and our umbrella and her raincoat and then I carried the pram and the bags painstakingly up all these stairs with her taking her teensy tiny toddler steps. Anyway, we made it to the train but not in time to buy a ticket. When we arrived in the city we discovered we had to line up for twenty minutes to pay a fine for not having a ticket. I talked my way out of it.
    But sheesh I thought, what about the people with a disability, what if they couldn’t possibly get up all those stairs at that station? Imagine the inconveniences I thought, constantly having to think which stations they can get access to and which they can’t and trying to leave enough time before they needed to be somewhere for the ritual of finding out you can’t get to this station so you will need to somehow go to another station etc etc. How frustrating to always be an after thought the way I felt at that station with all the stairs?
    Anyway, able-bodied privellege, we’re standing in it.
    blue milk’s last blog post..Lauca?s favourite song (hey, it?s not the Wiggles)

  12. On the other hand, in the 12 months he has had his disabled parking permit, I have never seen a car in a disabled parking spot that was not displaying a valid permit. So my theory is the whole ‘able bodied people parking in disabled spots’ thing is just ignorant people passing judgement on people with invisible disabilities.
    Yes, and of course, sometimes the driver of the car is a carer, because a disabled child can’t drive.
    My SIL was in that position, but now SHE’s had a stroke, so now she’s disabled too. How wonderful! :-/
    Helen’s last blog post..Friday Happy hedgehogblogging

  13. In WA, the ACROD stickers are now Colour coded to distinquish between wheelchair users, the walking wounded temp holders, and vehicles used by organisations such as nursing homes, patient transport etc.
    Frank, WA always seems to come up trumps with regard to transport – we’ve had a lot of information about it here in Victoria, because apparently you’ve built a good public transport system, while ours is crap, so it’s news here.
    Why do you think that is?
    Helen’s last blog post..Friday Happy hedgehogblogging

  14. bluemilk: it sounds like a bit of a “click” moment. And that sounds like no cakewalk with the bags and toddler, either: universal disability access means access for parents and carers, too.
    I was just hearing reports of the new jumbo IKEA store in Perth. Initial reports suggest that the bollards at the store exit prevent all storegoers from wheeling their trolleys up to their cars. Yet IKEA boasts about its disability access. I’m not sure what’s going on there; even if there is trolley access to the ACROD spots, such spots are often full, and a lot of people with less catastrophic or less permanent disabilities can’t get an ACROD permit, yet may have trouble carrying their items to their car. Not to mention the toddler-juggling side of things.
    I’m awaiting further examination of their accessibility by a friend before I venture down there. And that’s one of the hidden aspects of access – you can’t just jaunt off somewhere and expect the location to be accessible and usable. You have to plan every move.
    On a similar note, I remember all the ridicule and scoffing about the “waste of public money” by able-bodied people when Australia first launched its National Toilet Map. Many of the scoffers will end up with bowel disorders or incontinence in later life. May they see the error of their ways.

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