#SaveMedicaid: ADAPT Arrested in Colorado

Colorado ADAPT staged a nearly 3-day sit-in in Senator Cory Gardner’s office before he had them. Here’s the statement from Carrie Ann Lucas on what it’s like to be arrested as a wheelchair user with a non-standard wheelchair and a trach. A small quote, but go read Lucas’ whole statement and follow them on Twitter @disabilitycubed

My control was sitting in my lap the entire time, but because it just looks like a button on a wire, they couldn’t figure out that was how I control my chair. Rather than simply disengaging the motors to push the chair, the police and paramedics spent a great deal of time trying to find a joystick on my chair. They kept moving my ventilator tubing around, as if plastic tubing would drive my chair. Because I am trached, moving the tubing moves my trach and causes pain (and causes me to cough), They stopped doing that after I complained. In their search for a nonexistant joystick, they disconnected the display (where I can see what mode the chair is in), which renders the chair inoperable. They also disconnected the switches for my head array, which also prevents anyone from operating any part of my chair. They kept threatening to take me from my chair and take me out of the building by ambulance,and bring my chair at some later date. I resisted all efforts to do that. First, separation from one’s chair can be deadly to people with severe disabilities. Chairs get damaged, and sometimes “lost” for long periods of time. They way the officers and paramedics were wanting to transfer me would cause injury, and risk broken bones.

Ultimately, they charged Lucas with trespassing, but also with interference with a police officer because Lucas wouldn’t tell them how to operate the chair.

I do not believe one is legally required to tell police how to arrest you without hurting you, but I’ll leave that to the lawyers. I’m glad Lucas is safe. In the meantime, ADAPTers are still under arrest and being processed. Remember to donate if you can.

Leave a Reply