Can-Do-Ability: Answers and Solutions from my personal experiences of living with a disability

British Police Attack And Push Over Man In Wheelchair

6 Dec 2011Today was the first time I’d heard about, or viewed footage of, the horrific treatment of a disabled man during student fees protests that occurred in London last year.

Jody McIntyre, who is a 21 year old British journalist and activist, was born with Cerebral Palsy. He can walk short distances, but mostly uses a wheelchair to get around.

He attended what was meant to be a peaceful protest, in London on December 9, 2010. The protest, which was comprised of mostly students, and some odd trouble makers, was organised to object to proposed student university fee increases. Jody went along, not only as a journalist, but as a voice for his 16 year old brother, who accompanied him, and intended on entering university in his future.

Towards the early evening of the protests, Jody, who says he was at the front line of the protesters, near police, but off to one side, on his own, was told to move by a police officer, and when he refused, was struck with a baton, pushed out of his wheelchair, and dragged by his arm across the street, away from his chair.

This was all caught on tape by onlookers, who were appalled at what they were witnessing. What wasn’t caught on tape however, was when this happened to Jody earlier on in the day. He says the officer who dragged him across the street in the video footage, was the same one who did so earlier on.

Once the footage went viral, most people were outraged at the behaviour of the police officer who dragged Jody away from his wheelchair. He made a complaint, as did many other protestors for the way police conducted themselves, one protestor had to undergo emergency brain surgery after being assaulted by a police officer with a baton. Jody’s complaint on the other hand, was rejected by Scotland Yard. He has since been in consultation with his solicitor to see what other avenues they could consider.

I understand that a protest can become volatile, and I’m sure Jody was aware of that when he attended this protest, but I believe there is absolutely no excuse, under any circumstance, for a human being, especially one who is in power, to push someone who is more vulnerable than they are, out of their wheelchair, and drag them away from it. Wheelchairs, to people who need them, are like legs to able bodied people.

There were no reports that Jody had any weapons on him, or that he was threatening officers in any way. The only reason the police have given for taking such actions against him, was because they were trying to protect him from getting harmed. I’m sorry, but since when is taking someone’s independence away from them going to protect them?! I think Jody definitely deserves some kind of compensation, or at least an apology from the Metropolitan Police.

To view the footage of the incident, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUHzSQgayXY – I do have to warn you though, there is strong language throughout the entire video, as onlookers are outraged and rush in to assist Jody.

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