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Denver police officer blocks handicap spot at disability advocates’ HQ during emergency call

Police officials say vehicle wasn’t there long

By  | | The Denver Post PUBLISHED:  | UPDATED: 

A Denver police vehicle is seen partially in a handicap parking space at the headquarters for the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition on Feb. 24.
A Denver police vehicle is seen partially in a handicap parking space at the headquarters for the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition on Feb. 24.

A Denver police officer parked a marked patrol vehicle partially in a handicap spot at the headquarters for the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition last month, blocking access to a van driven by the coalition’s legal director, who uses a wheelchair.

Legal director Kevin Williams said Thursday he wanted to draw attention to the incident because he routinely receives complaints about Denver police parking in handicap spots.

“It really is flipping a middle finger to the disability community,” he said. “And the irony of it is this was at (our) office. And who did they block? The guy who sues people for violating the (Americans with Disabilities Act).”

Denver police public information officer Doug Schepman said in a statement that the officer who parked the vehicle was responding to a call for a hold-up or panic alarm, and said the call is “one of the highest priority calls indicating a person’s life is potentially endangered.”

Police investigated the Feb. 24 parking incident after an earlier complaint and the involved officer will not face discipline, Schepman said Thursday. The vehicle was moved from the spot within minutes, the statement said.

Josh Winkler, a board co-chair for the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, spotted the Denver police vehicle and snapped a photo in the Empire Park business plaza around 2:30 p.m. Feb. 24.

The image shows a Denver police SUV stopped partially in a clearly marked handicap spot and partially in the orange-striped area adjacent to the spot. The striped area is labeled with a sign that says, “Wheelchair Access Aisle / Absolutely No Parking.”

The SUV was parked on the right side of Williams’ van, which is specially equipped so that Williams can drive it. The van has a wheelchair lift on the right side, and it was impossible for Williams to get into his vehicle while the police SUV was parked next to it, he said.

Williams said Thursday he did not need to use his van while the SUV was parked there.

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