A Riviera Beach, Florida, police officer apparently decided that he knew more about disabilities than the state of Florida, when he harassed a man for parking in a handicapped space.
The man parked his Dodge Magnum outside a Walgreens and was apparently headed inside when the police officer approached him. The man tells the officer, identified in the video as “G. Wilson,” that he is a disabled veteran, and that he has a handicapped placard for his car. While the video doesn’t make it clear that the man is telling the truth, Officer Wilson doesn’t challenge the man’s legal right to park in the handicapped space. His problem, apparently, is that the man got out of the car and walked towards the store.
The whole situation is ridiculous. Never once does Officer Wilson tell the man the he had parked in the space illegally. At one point he asks why the man thinks he is better than someone in a wheelchair, who couldn’t walk, when he could. The man points out that he had been wounded in Iraq and that he is 90 percent disabled. He tells the cop that just because his disability isn’t visible, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have one.
Invisible disabilities have been attracting some attention in recent times. Many people who have legitimate, recognized disabilities appear to be 100 percent fine, but the Invisible Disabilities Association says that almost 75 percent of Americans who are considered disabled under the provisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act are able to move about without the use of an assisting device such as a walker or a cane.
Officer Wilson decided that because the man could walk the man didn’t deserve to park in the handicapped space, even though he apparently had a state-issued handicapped license plate. Whatever happened to the idea that the police enforce the law, not decide what the law is? Officer Wilson seemed to think he knew more about this man’s disability than the state of Florida did. But maybe the saddest part of this whole affair is that this cop harassed the man for almost 15 minutes, which was probably far longer than the man would have been inside the drugstore. How many little old ladies in wheelchairs did Officer Wilson inconvenience with his nonsense?
Here’s the video, via YouTube: