From all indications, what the police did to Milwaukee Bucks guard Sterling Brown was racially motivated, inexcusable and terribly, terribly wrong.
Here's the part that still gets my goat: Parking illegally in designated handicapped parking spaces is wrong, and if you don't know that, there's something wrong with you.
The fact that Brown parked across--not one but at least two--handicapped parking spaces shouldn't be glossed over, yes, even at 2 a.m. when it's unlikely that a person with mobility issues will need a parking space.
Why? Because you never know. Besides, if a person who qualifies to park in one of those spaces wants to go to Walgreens in the middle of the night, that's his or her business--whether it's for medicine, a tube of Colgate or a beer run.
My cousin Rick Kahen is the Chairman of the Commission for Residents with Disabilities in Buffalo Grove. He lost is left leg to bone cancer 46 years ago when he was just 23.
Handicapped parking space abuse is an "epidemic, a huge problem," said Rick. "People with disabilities fight this all the time. There's no excuse for it to happen. And it has nothing to do with who he (Brown) is and what he does for a living."
Retired Chicago Police Lieutenant Bob Angone and fellow ChicagoNow blogger said, "Parking in a handicapped spot knowingly is an arrogant act. It's privilege personified."
Bob Angone knows A LOT about the problem. In 2011, when he was working as a police officer, he was chiefly responsible for a sting operation between the police and the Sun-Times which uncovered hundreds of handicapped parking placard cheaters, saved millions of taxpayer dollars and changed laws.
But Sterling Brown doesn't appear to get it. He said, “I could’ve just got a ticket, went home, paid however much money, and that should’ve been that.”
Maybe. Or maybe you shouldn't be making lives harder for people who already have gotten a bad break. Mr. Brown, doing what you did is not a nothing burger.
The police shouldn't have treated you like you were a member of Al-Queda. But I don't think they should just have given you a measly parking ticket either (which as an NBA player you could easily pay and would mean zilch to you.).
This is how I'd roll if I were queen of the world: I'd sentenced you to live in a wheelchair 24-hours a day for the next six months. Maybe, just maybe, you'd come away with some humility and an ounce of empathy.
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