disabled protest

Washington, DC — Mulitple disturbing images and videos have emerged from a peaceful protest over health care in the US Capitol on Thursday, showing police forcefully removing disabled protesters, including many in wheelchairs.

The protest took place outside the office of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who proposed the health care bill. According to Capitol police, they arrested 43 people for their roles in the protests.

The protest was organized by ADAPT, a disability rights organization, whose protest targeted the bill’s cuts to Medicaid for low-income Americans.

“No cuts to Medicaid, save our liberties,” the protesters chanted, as reported by TIME. One protester who was in a wheelchair held a sign reading “life and liberty 4 disabled Americans.”

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“The American Health Care Act caps and significantly cuts Medicaid which will greatly reduce access to medical care and home and community based services for elderly and disabled Americans who will either die or be forced into institutions,” said Bruce Darling, an ADAPT organizer taking part in the protest. “Our lives and liberty shouldn’t be stolen to give a tax break to the wealthy. That’s truly un-American.”

During the protest, several videos show disabled people being dragged from their wheelchairs and arrested by police. The disturbing images paint a horrific image of what’s become of the First Amendment in the United States.

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The freedom of speech is not reserved for some quiet protest in a cordoned off safe zone far away from politicians. It was, in fact, designed so that people could fill the halls of federal buildings and voice their grievances directly toward those who ostensibly represent them. Sadly, however, that notion is now dead in this country.

A police spokeswoman said in a press release Thursday night, that “many of the demonstrators, as part of their protest activities, removed themselves from their wheelchairs and lay themselves on the floor.”

While that was true, there were several instances of protesters being pulled from their wheelchairs.

Also in a statement on Thursday, the ACLU released their stance, noting, “We can’t believe this needs to be said, but it’s not okay to drag people out of wheelchairs when they’re protesting legislation.”

The Capitol Police are not like regular cops, as their purpose is not to protect the citizens. They are there for the protection of lawmakers only. They are similar to the Secret Service except they can and will arrest people en masse for peaceful protests.

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Capitol Police spokeswoman Eva Malecki released a statement Thursday in regards to the arrests:

Today, at approximately at 11:30 a.m., disability rights activists staged a planned “die-in” in the Russell Senate Office Building. Many of the demonstrators, as part of their protest activities, removed themselves from their wheelchairs and lay themselves on the floor, obstructing passage through the hallway and into nearby offices.

U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) officers warned the demonstrators to cease their unlawful activities or be faced with arrest. Forty-three people (15 males and 28 females) did not cease their demonstration activities and were arrested.

The arrestees were charged with D.C. Code §22-1307, Crowding, Obstructing, or Incommoding. They were transported to USCP Headquarters for processing.

Let’s hope that these disabled protesters fared better than the journalists and protesters arrested during the Trump inauguration. According to a recent lawsuit filed on behalf of multiple victims, police allegedly used ‘rape as punishment’ during the mass arrests.

As Think Progress reports, once the protesters and journalists were arrested on inauguration day, a living hell ensued:

An officer ordered Horse, fellow plaintiff Milo Gonzalez, and three others to take their pants off before grabbing their testicles and then inserting a finger into their anuses while “other officers laughed,” the complaint alleges. Horse is a photojournalist, one of six reporters initially arrested and charged whose cases have been dismissed.

 

“I felt like they were using molestation and rape as punishment. They used those tactics to inflict pain and misery on people who are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty,” Horse said. “It felt like they were trying to break me and the others — break us so that even if the charges didn’t stick, that night would be our punishment.”

Let’s hope, for the sake of the people of ADAPT, that these same tactics weren’t used to punish them.

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Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on Twitter, Steemit, and now on Facebook.
  • Damiana

    This is just DISGUSTING. The only reason to drag someone out of a wheelchair is to humiliate and traumatize them – even if they “put the brakes on,” (when there was justification to remove them from somewhere) two cops could very easily just lift either side and tote them away with dignity, but nooooo. They wanted to “punish” these protesters and since the law won’t really let you just arrest people for protesting – yet – they resort to these vicious Gestapo tactics.

    • Mark Marcum

      I would have just hit them with a firehouse, wouldn’t wanna get my hands dirty!!

      • Guy

        Do you try to be a Idiot Mark ? Or is that just your natural state, so you get noticed !?

    • Guy

      I don’t know much about that, having little experience with handicapped folks. No doubt there issues are of real concern to them. But Come On ! Protesting is one thing and getting out of a wheelchair and pretend dieing on the floor is something else altogether different ! No one deserved to be dragged out of their chairs, and I have a real problem with that in fact happening to them, considering it’s their right to protest loud enough to be heard, even through closed doors.
      But if they got out of their chairs and laid on the floor, that to me is not much different that large crowds getting on freeways and blocking traffic, then being punks about it, when cars try to come through so they can just go home after work, then getting bashed by the protesters. As I see it, it dosen’t win friends much to the cause, but only serves to piss people off, who are trying to make a nickel and call it a day.

      The cops being cops in this case, don’t have much choice but to do as told to do by their bosses, so I don’t think they enjoyed it much either. No win, every body loosed in this one. Except the press.

  • How can these cops go home and face their families knowing this is what they did at work?

    • Damiana

      With a beating, most likely. I don’t know the exact numbers and don’t feel like looking it up, but cops are WAY more likely to abuse their spouse and/or children than the population at large.

      • Dan Quixoté

        “Several studies, according to Gandy and Wetendorf, indicate that women suffer domestic abuse in at least 40 percent of police officer families. ”

        “The biggest problem for a woman reporting that she’s been abused by her police officer husband or boyfriend is that nobody believes you,” said Diane Westendorf of Chicago, who wrote a nationally used victim handbook, “Police Domestic Violence.”

        “If you do speak up, the police are very good at turning the accusations around,” Westendorf said. “The women get terrified, too, so the crime is very under-reported. There is a legitimate fear of retaliation.”

        http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Police-domestic-violence-nearly-twice-average-rate-2536928.php

        • Damiana

          Thank you for doing that legwork!

    • G’ma G

      They marry cop-suckers.

  • OneGoodDeed

    If you think this government gives one care about you, you have been asleep. Police morality has been lost through blind obedience.

  • IceTrey

    They are demanding liberty while recieving services paid for with money stolen from other taxpayers? Hypocrites much?

  • Mark Marcum

    who paid those [NOPE] to act a fool?

    • Damiana

      You might want to quit while you’re still welcome here.

  • Ibcamn

    did these people seem to forget that obama fucked them in the first place…or that they,as handicapped people will not be effected,im guessing they didn’t read the bill and just listened toi their liberal friends instead……stupid is as stupid does…..but the criminal cops could have handled it a bit different…but these are the same bunch that murdered a women in cold blood in her car for making a legal U-turn…so what do you expect out of them….

  • tz1

    They were blocking the hallway and access to the office. That is NOT a peaceful protest, or if you consider it so, then call for the repeal or overturning of the “freedom of access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act”. Try doing the same thing in front of an Abortion Clinic entrance and you will be arrested and charged with a Felony.

    Peaceful protests don’t interfere and aren’t disorderly. This was both, then the whining when security removed them. Click through or see what the pictures actually show. A mass of wheelchairs blocking the entire hallway.

    Sorry, if they were told to disperse or just stop blocking things and refused, then they deserved what they got. I’d be of a different opinion if they were outside where they weren’t blocking anything, or had a picket line or most other forms of “peaceful protest”.

    They were ARRESTED which is even in the title, for the obstruction. That is NOT covered by the first amendment which is alive and well, unlike the second amendment in DC. Try carrying there.

    I’m sick of uncivil disobedience then the incredible butthurt and whining. Especially when they want to keep bleeding me of cash to pay for their whims. They enslave me and when I don’t want to keep working for them as masters, they complain about their liberty. I have to pay for me and mine, and I have to pay for them too? Then they aren’t doing a MLKjr like peaceful march, they are blocking access. They aren’t allowing themselves to be arrested but resisting. If they want to be whiny assholes, they can’t hide behind their disability. If they want to be civil they need to change their tactics and maybe I would at least respect them for that. No erudite letter from a Birmingham jail, but “I’m disabled and the cops were mean to me – Waaaah! I have hurt feelz! I’m a protected victim class!”.