Handicap This! March-April 2014

by Suzanne Rose

Jonathon Meister, a deaf and non-verbal resident of Manhattan Beach, Calif., was discriminated against by the Hawthorne Police Dept. when they ignored his American Sign Language communication. He claims the police used excessive force by tasering and beating him, leaving bruises and burns all over his body. Jonathon was retrieving belongings from a friend’s house with his friend’s permission when someone called the police about suspicious activity at the house. He was signing to the police when they attacked him.

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A man with Down Syndrome was teased and bullied by Assad’s forces in Syria when he refused to say that he loved Assad. The men surrounded him, laughing, and kept saying, “Kill him and relieve us from him” to each other when the man wouldn’t say what they wanted. He said he wanted freedom instead.

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South Carolina is defending its right to abuse and neglect its mentally ill prisoners. The state claims the courts should stay out of the business of corrections. They are fighting a court order declaring its prisons to be unconscionable dens of abuse and neglect for mentally ill inmates housed there. Many inmates have died for lack of basic mental healthcare and from serious physical injury.

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Sandra Lee, a 59-year-old disabled Chicago woman was illegally evicted from her apartment. Her attorney says she did not get her five-day notice or served a summons to court so she could explain her situation. She was evicted and not allowed back in her apartment even though a judge’s order overturned the eviction and ordered her reinstatement. It was discovered that the landlord’s brother-in-law was listed as a plaintiff to the eviction proceedings and is a Cook County sheriff’s deputy.

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