Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sheriff's Deputy Dumps Disabled Man Out of Wheelchair

I don't know how I missed this story. That's what I get for not reading the local papers.

A quadriplegic man is arrested and when in the booking process is told to stand at the counter. There is only one problem, he is quadriplegic and is confined to a wheelchair. He can't "stand" at the booking counter.

So a Hillsborough County (Tampa, Florida) deputy sheriff dumps him out of his wheelchair on the floor. Everyone - except the victim of this hate crime - thinks it is amusing. Everyone except the man who was thrown on the floor, Brian Sterner. The deputy in question Charlette Marshall-Jones, has been suspended, not charged, not fired.

He may have been injured, when he was thrown on the floor. They took x-rays of his side, but neither he nor his doctor have been given copies or even access. (Since he has no feeling below the chest, it is easy to be injured and not realize it.)

The Sheriff's office is in major "cover your ass" mode.
Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Jose Docobo said he was troubled not only by what happened to Sterner but by the lack of response from experienced supervisors.

"The fact that none of the supervisors acted upon what they saw or had knowledge of is of grave concern to us," he said. "The fact that no reports were written further concerns us.

"This is not how we do business here at the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office."
Really Mr. Chief Deputy Docobo? Then why did it not seem to phase anyone? What would response have been if the video was not available?

Oh, but the video is available. [YouTube seems to be having problems - check for video later]

Did I mention that the deputy in question has been suspended? A few other of the yahoos on duty that day are on paid leave. Oh yeah, that's a punishment! (Stay home from work and still get paid. Most people call that "a vacation.")
"There's no reason why that deputy should not be charged with battery on a disabled person," said Sterner's attorney, John Trevena.
Sure there's a reason. She's a cop and cops don't think they have to live by the same rules as everyone else. There isn't even a report on this incident, because they didn't think it was out of the ordinary. Lovely.

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