May 282011

Today, we were told that the actions by the police were justifiable – in the case of  Jody McIntyre, who  was tipped out of his wheelchair and dragged across the road. The Directorate of Professional Standards at the Metropolitan Police (Met) had said:

“Whilst there is evidence that Jody McIntyre was inadvertently struck with a police baton, the investigation found that the actions of officers were justifiable and lawful given the volatile and dangerous situation,” the force added in a statement.

“His removal from his wheelchair was also justifiable given the officers’ perceived risk to Jody McIntyre.”

However this is not accepted by Jody McIntyre and he asked  “Why are the police investigating themselves?

“Does that make sense to you, that the police attacked a man in a wheelchair and then they investigate themselves?”

He went on: “Throughout the report the police officers involved have stated that they were acting in my best interests, and this appears to have been accepted by those carrying out the investigation.”

The force appeared to believe that “the fact someone has a disability renders them incapable of determining their own best interest or to act with autonomy”, he said. (BBC News)

Well it is not news that disabled people have been frequently denied choice or freedom on the basis that ‘professionals’ were acting in their best interests or that it is more convenient for authorities  to ignore needs.

Today at DPAC, we also received photos in the e-mail telling us about the wheelchair user in confrontation with the police on Barcelona.

Police attack man in wheelchair

However judging from the other photos, the Spanish police were much much more brutal to all protestors and even without understanding the language I am appalled by watching the video (in Spanish) at what has happened in Plaza Cataluña in the beautiful city of Barcelona -one of the most accessible cities in Europe.

The Spanish police were let loose on protestors who looked defenceless with their arms in their air in seeming surrender while police were clearly hitting sitting people indiscriminately with their batons.

Is this happening in Europe? What has these people done other than protest to merit such treatment?

More information

Jody McIntyre’s interview

Guardian’s report on the Met’s investigation

Set of photos from Barcelona demo

—Eleanor Lisney