Friday, May 18, 2001 5:58 AM
The first park on the honeymoon trip we just took took us to SFoG, which used to be my favorite park. My handicapped girlfriend, who can walk and get around visibly normal was harrassed by the Cobb County Police (who not only left a ticket but a very rude personal note as well), who tried to ruin SF reputation by trying to arrest me when I went to complain. The PR lady at the park was wonderful (she tried to give us free admissions but you don't want these things after being harrassed by the police). Anyways, no matter what state you are from, except Georgia, if you do not appear crippled to the Cobb Cops, they have the discretion to give you a fine and tow your car at thier discretion (even with your stae's proper hanicapped documentation), and it is against the law to complain to the police about it, and if you do, Georgia cops run pretty fast and they will chase you down like you've committed a crime! I'm a southerner through and through and these other southerners really embarrass me, we headed right for Cedar Point after that, our first northern experience and we love you guys:).
Friday, May 18, 2001 8:13 AM
I find this very disturbing as I have a daughter who has a chronic lung disease and asthma on top of that. When did the cops get the ability to determine handicaps at a glance when even a lisenced physician may require tests to be run to determine if someone qualifies for handicapped parking? And even if the person who gets out of the car is not handicapped, they may be there to pick up someone who is. As the father of a 15 year old, I often do this and its perfectly legal to do so in every state that I know of.
I'm not absolutely certain, but I'm pretty sure that under the U.S Constitution, any state is required to recognize your handicapped parking permit the same as they would their own. This is the same as with your drivers lisence or marriage lisence.
I would suggest that you do the following:
1) File a complaint with Cobb County and possibly the Georgia State Police.
2) File a complaint with the Federal Office Of Civil Rights under the Americans With Disabilities Act. The police were violating Federal law. The OCR can even award monetary penalities in some cases. You may not be interested in suing for money, but I have found that the threat that this could happen has a powerful influence on local government in getting them to comply with the law.
3) Write the Georgia state tourist commission and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce letting them know how poorly and illegally you were treated in their state.
*** This post was edited by Jim Fisher on 5/18/2001. ***
Friday, May 18, 2001 8:48 AM
Call the ACLU, they love that stuff. They need something a little less ridiculous to do.
You could easily sue the pants off of them for violating ADA. Police aren't doctors.
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Friday, May 18, 2001 2:22 PM
I think that is totally junk a cop would do something like that. I can see them asking you if it was visible because it is a crime to use a handicap sticker if you aren't really handicap, they shouldn't judge people. It was very rude of him to act like that and totally out of line. I can see them coming up to you and questioning you but once he found out she was really handicap he should have appoligized and let you on the way. You should really turn them in or something.
Friday, May 18, 2001 2:44 PM
You definitely have a lawsuit on your hands if you pursue it. Make them suffer!!!!
Friday, May 18, 2001 3:02 PM
The best advice I got after this happened was that I should have calmed her down and removed the sticker/ticket and moved on, ignoring it. But I totally agree and complaint has been filed with the park, although the Cobb County Police have been, how should I say, hard to get with on this matter. Any cop doing his job should have been apologetic, not aggressive. My wife's uncle is an attorney if needed, but the parking lot there is totally Cobb County's is what management says(?), what gives with that?
Side note: I stopped and asked a uniformed officer a question in the park that day, a uniformed police officer, and he just says "sorry, I'm off duty today enjoying the park".
*** This post was edited by p_c_r on 5/18/2001. ***
Friday, May 18, 2001 10:28 PM
If I recall properly, the land that SFoG is built on is leased from the county,explaining why the county mounties have jurisdiciton. I took several courses on how the ADA affects the amusement industry last February. I seem to recall that a handicap placard or plate is to be treated equally in any state regardless of where it is issued. I've got my copy of Title IX here someplace. I'll try to dig up some more info.
Unfortunately there are some who still believe that only people in wheelchairs are disabled. I'd say some education is in order here,especially on the "enforcement" side.
*** This post was edited by Dutchman on 5/19/2001. ***
Friday, May 18, 2001 10:59 PM
Well...they sound like jerks. Cops are meant to be nice, not rude people who do those sorts of things. If you are going to be a cop, know what it means before making a final decision. Anywho, sue! Just my advice ;)
Who was at BGW on April 28th.
Friday, May 18, 2001 11:46 PM
Everybody took the words out of my mouth. Who told you to calm her down and remove the stickers?
Saturday, May 19, 2001 3:52 AM
Maybe they thought you had a doghnut?
Sue the crap out of them!!!*
*Then start your own park :)
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X Marks The Spot
Saturday, May 19, 2001 9:44 AM
You can't sue the park but you can sue the police who don't have anywere near enough money to start a park.
Saturday, May 19, 2001 12:18 PM
I have found that just the threat of a law suit can have a powerful effect on ensuring that local government respects the rights of the handicapped. We were having problems with the local school system making the proper accomadations for my handicapped daughter. Just showing up at a meeting with a lawyer completely changed their attitude, and got my daughter the accomdations that she needed.
Since local government doesn't have too much money, it really hurts when they lose a law suit; and this usually makes them very hesitant to risk one.
*** This post was edited by Jim Fisher on 5/19/2001. ***
Saturday, May 19, 2001 1:50 PM
If we'd just "let it go", so to speak, because this wasn't the first case of such harrassment, it wouldn't have put a depressing point in our honeymoon, which was most important. I should have taken Deja Vu pictures, driven out of the park, and then handled it, getting in confrintations with Georgia Five Oh(!) is no way to try to handle things. Anyways, she'll probally do something about it. As for sueing that park I want to sue them over scaring me to death on that stupid freefall tower!