A video that shows police attempting to arrest a woman who doesn’t have legs has one South Florida police department rethinking how they deal with disabled people.
Video taken by a bystander in South Miami-Dade, Saturday, shows Miami-Dade Police arresting Mary Brown for trespassing. Brown, who has no legs, fell out of her wheelchair and onto the ground.
“Stop hurting me,” she says in the video as police handcuff her. “You see what you did?”
The video shows the officers standing by, not helping Brown. Their inaction is what, some witnesses said, disturbed them most.
“Just because I don’t have legs to move about like everyone else, I still was in my chair, and I deserved some respect,” Brown said.
Mary said her legs were amputated from the knee down because of diabetes. She lives a few blocks down from a South Miami-Dade gas station, where she panhandles.
Miami-Dade Police said they were arresting her for trespassing, Saturday. According to Brown, they didn’t know how to properly handle someone in a wheelchair.
“I asked for help, help, help, over and over again,” Brown said. “No one came.”
Jay King, who took the video of the arrest, said the officers should’ve helped Brown up.
“It doesn’t have to go that far to where you can’t at least pick her up off the floor,” King said. “No matter what she did, it wasn’t that bad.”
Miami-Dade Police said they reviewed the video and released a statement that says they “realized that as an agency we need to provide our law enforcement officers additional resources to aid them in facilitating the transport of disabled individuals, so that situations such as these are handled in a more amicable manner in the future.”
Some witnesses told 7News that Brown was being combative during the arrest.
Disability rights attorney Matthew Dietz said he feels disturbed by the video.
“My thought is, once they had her in handcuffs what were they going to do then? Lift her and throw her in?” Dietz said. “There was no possible way.”
Police called an ambulance to take Brown to jail, and she was released Sunday morning.
Brown said she is considering a lawsuit.
“I’m very sad. I was treated very wrong,” she said, “and very poorly.”
7News only has one minute of cell phone video. The officers were both wearing body cameras, and there is more video to be released.
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