In 2008, Ernest Griglen was removed from his car by police who thought he was intoxicated. He was subsequently beaten. Griglen was, in fact, quite sober, but he is diabetic and was in insulin shock. Judging by media reports alone, people who are diabetic are often mistaken as threatening or drunk.
Justifeyed would have been able to help by giving Ernest the opportunity to click the button for the app, and alert someone he wasn’t feeling well and his location. The authorities could have come to his aid and helped him, instead of hurting him.
In 2009, Antonio Love felt sick and went into a Dollar General store to use the bathroom. Time passed and he didn’t come out, so the store manager called the police. The officers knocked on the bathroom door, ordered him to come out, but got no response. They sprayed pepper spray under the door, opened it with a tire iron, then tasered Love repeatedly. Love is deaf. He couldn’t hear the police. Again, if news reports are any indication, deaf people are too frequently treated as non-compliant and tasered or beaten by police.
Justifeyed could have helped Antonio by again alerting the proper people he wasn’t feeling well, and gotten someone to his location to help him. Justifeyed caters to deaf people by providing words on the screen for them.
In 2010, Garry Palmer was driving home from visiting his wife’s grave when a dog darted in front of his truck and was hit. Palmer reported the accident as he should have, but because he was slurring his words and shaking, he was arrested for drunk driving. Palmer has cerebral palsy. If Mr. Palmer had the Justifeyed app his profile would have stated that he had cerebral palsy and when he alerted the authorities of the accident they would have known he was no threat to anyone, as he did the right thing.
In January 2014, Robert Marzullo filed a lawsuit citing battery, excessive force, false imprisonment, unlawful seizure and supervisory liability against the town of Hamden, Connecticut and its police department. News reports reveal that Marzullo was tasered by two police officers while having an epileptic seizure in his car.
Justifeyed once again could have helped Robert through his profile information, and the opportunity to alert someone when he felt the seizure coming on.
While specific details vary by case, the common threads that link these stories together are often disconcerting. Law enforcement officials expect and demand compliance, but when they don’t recognize a person’s disability in the course of an interaction, the consequences can be tragic. Misconceptions or assumptions can lead to overreactions that result in unnecessary arrest, use of pepper spray, or individuals being tasered, even death. Sadly, this happens all too often and most of us don’t even know this is happening. The Internet, social media, and cell phones have helped to bring attention to this, and spotlight this epidemic. As National Council on Disability (NCD) Executive Director Rebecca Cokley wrote in her testimony to the Senate Judiciary subcommittee, “misunderstandings, fears, and stereotypes about disability have led to tragic outcomes throughout U.S. history. During the American Eugenics movement, pseudo-scientific ‘evidence’ gave way to popular myths linking disability and criminality, and the inheritability of both.” As a result, people with disabilities were devalued, isolated from the rest of society, prevented from attending school, getting married or becoming active and engaged in their communities. Justifeyed was created so that people with disabilities are treated fairly, and on a case by case basis. Dealing with the laws and legal issues is hard enough to do when you don’t have a disability, why should we make it that much harder when you do. Justifeyed will help all those with disabilities have the opportunity to handle any legal situation they may be in with dignity and ease.
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