A Maryland local who was wheelchair bound was pulled out of his car on September 25 by an officer. The officer told the disabled man that he needed to get out of the car, and the disabled man informed him that he was paralyzed. Undeterred, the officer proceeded to pull the man out of the vehicle. The man’s wife, who recorded the encounter, explained to the officer that her husband was paralyzed, was unable to walk, and was a paraplegic. She also informed the officer that she was his caretaker and that he required a wheelchair.
“This deputy … she looked at me, she didn’t believe that I was a quadriplegic, I guess, and she walked behind me with those handles on the back of that hospital-grade wheelchair and she just dumped it straight forward.”
He continued, “I told them how to pick me up and put me back in the chair, but without sensation—I don’t feel anything from my chest down—so I didn’t know they were broken then, my ribs.”
According to the Police Brutality Center (PBC), the police are not equipped at all to deal with individuals living with disabilities. As a result, disabled individuals comprise anywhere from one third to one half of all people killed by the police. Differently abled people also make up the majority of high-profile use-of-force cases. In its study of media coverage of law enforcement use of force and disability from 2013-2015, the Ruderman Foundation mentions Brian Sterner, who was thrown from his wheelchair by a Tampa, Florida, officer who thought Sterner was faking his condition.
More on this story here.