11 09 2007

This blog is a chronicle of discriminatory events in the life of Glenn Allen Nolen. I have a severe disability, Dystonia. Discrimination became part of daily life at the early age of ten and from then until now it has remained constant. There are many discriminatory events in any severely disabled person’s life. I will attempt to chronicle the most outrageous and egregious violations, however, keep in mind, that for every discriminatory event outlined in this summary there are many more, which have not been included.

I agree with the assessment that society will not accept people with disabilities in my generation. It may take several generations for societal changes to occur. Discrimination is not a workplace issue for me since I have not been in a work environment for several decades. As a younger disabled job seeker, I can tell you that I faced many discriminatory episodes, which left me perplexed about our market economy and for profit enterprise system. The market economy failed people with disabilities! Corporate America simply excluded the disabled from participating in that mainstream societal goal of rising to the top of the corporate ladder. Historically, government entities are the primary employment source for people with disabilities or the employer of last resort, thus, the for profit market economy failed to benefit most of the disabled population in the United States prior to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Discrimination occurs for me in public venues of daily life. I can relate two incidents of August and September 2007, which are troubling to me. The ADA has definitely not taken root in our society to this point.

Description of Discriminatory Acts:

On 13 August 2007, I was involved in a minor traffic accident at a local Fort Worth Texas grocery store. I have a severe disability, Dystonia, but have driven since 1976. The problem was not the accident in my opinion, but the conduct of all parties after the accident toward my having a disability. The driver of the other vehicle, Melissa Vickers, a young female, from Crowley Texas, obviously did not believe people with disabilities have the right to drive or even have the right to be out in public for that matter. Her barrage against my demeanor and my disability was insulting. And on numerous occasions, I asked the Fort Worth Police Officer who responded to the scene to ask her “to grow up,” but the verbal attitude toward my disability and me persisted.

It was troubling to me how a Fort Worth Police Officer could allow a verbal discriminatory assault to occur in his presence and then offer his services if needed at hearings to that party. I am outraged that Officer Coxum of the Fort Worth Police Department allowed this type of discriminatory conduct in his presence without taking further decisive steps. Officer Coxum stated to me, “You need to calm down,” but he never prevented Melissa Vickers of Crowley Texas from spewing her derogatory remarks.

It was outrageous conduct to me with a forty-year disability. I call her actions a “verbal discriminatory assault.” Someone without a forty-year disability might refer to it differently. This young female, Melissa Vickers, was not happy that she encountered a severely disabled driver. She bordered the line between anger, frustration, and a discrimination of the disabled that I found offensive.

In my opinion, Officer Coxum should have done his job correctly and stopped this verbal and insulting behavior by taking further decisive steps. Officer Coxum could have averted this barrage on the disabled by taking further decisive steps and communicated to Melissa Vickers, of Crowley Texas, that people with disabilities, have rights in the United States. Perhaps, this Fort Worth Police Officer could have prevented her verbal attack on the disabled transmitted to the Crowley Texas Dianne Berryhill State Farm Insurance Agency, who compounded the discrimination later that afternoon.

Staff at the Crowley Texas Dianne Berryhill State Farm Agency, State Farm Agent of Melissa Vickers, gave false and misleading information on how to proceed with a claim. It is my belief that the staff of the Crowley Texas Dianne Berryhill State Farm Agency deliberately gave a false telephone number for the State Farm Claims Department and misleading information on the claims process based upon the description of my severe disability by Melissa Vickers or Kenneth Vickers.

I found the conduct of the Crowley Texas Dianne Berryhill State Farm Agency reprehensible. Melissa Vickers was young, but that is not an excuse for discriminatory behavior. The Crowley Texas Dianne Berryhill State Farm Agency cannot treat people unfairly due to the ranting of an unstable policyholder. And the Fort Worth Police Department should have known that the disabled have the right of equality in the United States with fair non-discriminatory treatment as any citizen demands.

I communicated my dissatisfaction to the regional head of State Farm and Dianne Berryhill directly in telephone conversations held on 15 August 2007. Dianne Berryhill insisted I called her office twice on 13 August 2007 and on both occasions; her staff gave the correct telephone number of the State Farm Claims Department. In fact, I made four telephone calls to the Dianne Berryhill State Farm Agency that afternoon.

Telephone attempts:

1. First call – I was told the woman who answered the telephone (Kay) had someone at her desk and she would get back to me, 2. Second call – Was given wrong telephone number, 888-257-6076, 3. Third call – I asked to speak to agent, then asked to speak to any person available and was told I must call the previously given number and leave a message, 4. Fourth call was to express my dissatisfaction about the bogus telephone number given when the actual number was 888-257-6077. My exact words were “I do not appreciate being given the wrong number,” and she said, “I gave you the right number” then she proceeded to give me the right telephone number of 888-257-6077 for the first time that afternoon.

I am assuming that Melissa Vickers or Kenneth Vickers, both of Crowley Texas, communicated to the Dianne Berryhill State Farm Agency that I was some “retarded” moron who “can’t even keep his head up,” and that they then engaged in their own discriminatory campaign. Why, I do not know, but after forty years of living with disability, you become sensitive to these matters.

I realize to some that this might sound trivial. After all, the correct number and the bogus number are off by one digit; however, this was not a simple mistake. The State Farm Representative at the Dianne Berryhill Agency stated that there was no one to speak to in all of State Farm until I left a message on a bogus telephone number and had someone get back to me. And that would never have happened.

Parties Involved:

Melissa Bernys Vickers

109 Arnold Dr.

Crowley, TX 76036

817-297-3867

Fort Worth Police Officer: Coxum

817-871-7572

Dianne Berryhill

State Farm Agency

508 N. Crowley Road

Crowley, TX 76036

(817) 297-2206

On 7 September 2007, an unknown male approached my slow moving vehicle at the same grocery store parking lot opened my driver’s side vehicle door startling me with the appearance of an attempt to pull me out of my moving vehicle. If not for a fastened seat belt, it appeared this unknown individual would have pulled me directly out of a moving vehicle going less than five miles an hour seconds before turning into a parking space. I immediately put the vehicle in park unfastened the seat belt exiting the vehicle in a threatening advance asking the male: “Who the hell do you think you are?” I halted my threatening advance as the unknown male retreated several steps.

Upon completion of grocery shopping, a Fort Worth Police unit was on scene waiting for my exit as if I were the assailant. I asked if the officer had the name of the “idiot” unknown male and whether there were any charges that could be levied against this individual. The Fort Worth Police Officer responded that the Tarrant County District Attorney would never file charges in this matter refusing to take an incident report. Charges would not be pending since the intent of that unknown male was not to cause harm but to come to the aid of someone who never needed aid to begin with.

My opinion is that people cannot arbitrarily invade another driver’s vehicle. Luckily, no one was hurt in this incident, however, it could have easily turned out differently with me being pulled out of a moving vehicle and the then unattended moving vehicle striking other individuals. Certainly, my safety or the safety of others is not of primary importance in this society. This society allows prejudicial conduct to circumvent privacy and safety issues.

fwpdweb@fortworthpd.com

recruiting@fortworthpd.com

traffic@fortworthpd.com

15 August 2007 e-mail – Discrimination Allowed on Streets of Fort Worth by Fort Worth Police Officer!

7 September 2007 e-mail – Disabled Driver Almost Pulled out of Moving Vehicle – Fort Worth Police Do Nothing!

In the past regarding discrimination towards people with disabilities, I have had my photograph in the local newspaper, Fort Worth Star Telegram, on 24 October 1988. This is a systemic societal prejudice. Local police departments have Internal Affairs Divisions for filing complaints against individual officers; however, this is not an individual officer problem.

Legislators have not written laws with disability in mind. My 7 September 2007 incident for example, the law favors weighing the intent of the unknown male who put my safety at risk and the safety of others at risk when he invaded my moving vehicle. Hypothetically, even if I had been pulled out of my moving vehicle, run over by its back wheels, had the automobile continue unattended striking a woman and her small child, any District Attorney could cite the intent of the unknown male as a positive attempt to help the disabled, even though no help was needed or desired, and refuse to bring any charges at all. Even though now, hypothetically, we have three injured or dying people due to the actions of one individual with societal prejudices toward people with disabilities.

Our laws are a hodgepodge of craziness. We have the Americans with Disability Act on one hand, saying people with disabilities are equal in the eyes of the law, then we have other laws on the books giving any individual in this country the complete right under the law to interfere in that disabled person’s life as he or she sees fit as long as their intent was to help a disabled person who may or may not have needed help in the first place.

This is a systemic societal prejudice I have been fighting for years. I have been to jail in the 1980s for Failure to Display Driver’s License and Failure to Display Identification to a local Arlington Texas police officer. I spent three days in jail, because I refused to cooperate after I had been complaining for months about the way police departments view people with disabilities. My argument then and now was that under their rules any officer at any time can stop my vehicle and ask to see proof of a driver’s license. This was happening very frequently. I was complaining to any one I could complain to and some officers thought it to be funny.

One morning I walked out of my apartment across the parking lot to my automobile and there were two police units waiting for me. Before I even got my key in the vehicle door these police officers were demanding to see my driver’s license. I refused continued about my business and officers of the Arlington Texas Police Department arrested me a few blocks away from my apartment at the time.

People regularly call 911 when I am out in public. I have dealt with more police officers than 99% of inmates in prison. And it all stems from a society that has no reference point for disability other than wheelchair bound mobility issues. If the media portrayed people with disabilities accurately and included anyone other than paraplegic, Down syndrome, or older people with disabilities perhaps things might improve, but otherwise I must stay resigned to dealing with societal prejudices for a long time to come.

When we here the word discrimination most people automatically think of the color barrier that has kept this society enthralled in controversy since the sale of the first Africans in Virginia in the 1600s. That is not the discrimination of the twenty-first century or beyond. Discrimination in the twenty-first century is subtle. Until the day, it hits you over the head.

Discrimination for me is not a black or white issue. It is a people issue, and people of all races experience disability. If our goal is to live in a colorblind society, disability is already there. Disability strikes the young and the old, the rich and the poor, the famous and infamous, but it also happens to the good and the bad elements within our society.

Perhaps someday we will solve then evolve beyond the discriminatory issues of the past based on color and focus on the discrimination of this century and beyond, which through my eyes is the discrimination faced by the disabled. The Americans with Disabilities Act was a good first step. That first step, however, was not enough. We yearn to run free without the shackles of society’s discriminatory views. How dare society label the disabled! Each of us carries some type of disability around everyday whether it is visible or hidden with our DNA.

Disability will always live among us. And as such, we should all prepare to know the discrimination of disability. It is unwise to discriminate against the disabled because in the end, you are discriminating against yourself.

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