The following video, caught on a Tampa, Florida, police station surveillance camera, depicts the events that occurred after Brian Sterner, a quadriplegic, was stopped on a traffic violation on January 29, 2008 and taken to the station for booking. Apparently Deputy Charlotte Marshall Jones didn't believe he was really paralyzed, so she dumped his wheelchair forwards, reulting in Mr. Sterner falling to the floor.
The Deputy has been suspended without pay and three supervisors in the booking area at the time were suspended with pay. Mr.Sterner, as it turns out, is the director of the Florida Spinal Cord Injury Resource Center, based in Tampa. He plays wheelchair rugby with the Tampa Generals, and he's working on a PhD.
I will give you that there might be little more to this story than appears at first blush.
In addition, the video appears to show that Mr. Sterner did have some abiltiy to move his arms and legs and might have been somewhat combative. Prior to being dumped on the floor, I mean. After that, I suppose he might have had the right to be. I would love to be able to hear the sound on that video, I tell ya.
Sterner was arrested at his Riverview home and taken to the Orient Road Jail on a charge of fleeing and attempting to elude a police officer, according to records. He posted $2,000 bond and was released Feb 3.
A warrant for Sterner's arrest was issued after an Oct. 25 incident, in which police stopped him while driving a car fitted with hand pedals and cited him for blocking an
"My client was stopped that night and was given a traffic citation, so how could he be fleeing and eluding?" Sterner's lawyer John Trevena said. "We're very skeptical about the basis for the charge itself."
But none of that justifies the actions of the officers in the video. Personally, watching the video, I found myself fantasizing about getting my hands around the Deputy's neck. Although I suppose some form of education concerning disabilities might be more useful and relevant.
After all, if she wanted him on the floor, she could have just tasered him, right? [/sarcasm off]
H/T to Pipecleaner Dreams