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Time To Consider Disability Law?


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We, by the nature of our disabilities, are members of a protected class under the law. State and Federal statutes are on the books, ostensibly to protect us from undue government intrusion into our rights and protections. The Americans With Disabilities Act, other federal civil rights law intended to protect the disabled, and state civil rights law are considered by some little more than lip service, but I think it time that we put them to the test.

 

Accommodation for our disabilities in this case includes the use of mj. Police actions in enforcing criminal law completely ignore that we are prone to unduly dangerous injury in the event of being taken into custody using brutal tactics, or in some cases simply cuffing a patient who has serious orthopedic injuries to their back, neck, and shoulders. Mental health issues put people in jails, or dead, rather than hospitals. We have known for a long time that this is wrong.

 

We have the opportunity, if not an obligation, to work disability law to our advantage. It was enacted and is intended to use. To overlook that is a mistake. It is a dense swampland of legalese and adversarial resistance. Nonetheless we should take this fight to those who would deprive us.

Edited by GregS
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 The wikipedia primer on the ADA. The issue in the law that most pertinently applies to us is "reasonable accommodation" for our disabilities:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Americans_with_Disabilities_Act_of_1990

 

There is this interesting little blurb:

 

Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability. (42 U.S.C. § 12131, et seq. and 29 U.S.C. § 794). These laws protect all people with disabilities in the United States. An individual is considered to have a "disability" if he or she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment. 

The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in all State and local government programs, services, and activities regardless of whether they receive DOJ financial assistance; it also protects people who are discriminated against because of their association with a person with a disability. Section 504 prohibits discrimination by State and local law enforcement agencies that receive financial assistance from DOJ. Section 504 also prohibits discrimination in programs and activities conducted by Federal agencies, including law enforcement agencies. 

These laws prohibit discriminatory treatment, including misconduct, on the basis of disability in virtually all law enforcement services and activities. These activities include, among others, interrogating witnesses, providing emergency services, enforcing laws, addressing citizen complaints, and arresting, booking, and holding suspects. These laws also prohibit retaliation for filing a complaint with DOJ or participating in the investigation. What remedies are available under these laws? If appropriate, DOJ may seek individual relief for the victim(s), in addition to changes in the policies and procedures of the law enforcement agency. Individuals have a private right of action under both the ADA and Section 504; you may file a private lawsuit for violations of these statutes. There is no requirement that you exhaust your administrative remedies by filing a complaint with DOJ first.

Edited by GregS
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