Disabled veteran says mainstream news crew blocked him from parking at the polls

HOUSTON, TX – A disabled Air Force veteran takes to Facebook after witnessing mainstream news media company MSNBC blocking a handicap parking spot at The Bayland Community Center.

Last week MSNBC made a poor decision when their crew decided to unlawfully unload their gear in the only van accessible parking space outside a polling site in Houston Texas. This was the polling site of James Berrie, a United States Air Force Veteran with multiple sclerosis.

According to the local news station in Houston, the crew used two handicap parking spaces and one handicapped loading zone to park a camera, lights, equipment and correspondent Mariana Atencio.

Outraged and disheartened, Berrie took to Facebook in order to bring awareness to a “different kind of voter suppression”

In his Facebook post he says,

“Went to vote, and found this waiting for us. The only van accessible spot and they’re filming in it. We asked them to move, pointed out how it was wrong, then went to vote, because it takes time to load up. But came out and still there. Not even packing up, still getting ready for their shot. Then Sarah made a big scene and did not back down. They claimed they had a live shot, so Sarah walked into the shot. They cut the feed and got pissed. Fortunately other people joined in, plus firefighters who where there for Prop B. We finally left once their van was loaded. But there were plenty of witnesses and pictures/video taken by others.

This is suppression. If I couldn’t park I couldn’t vote. Their van had no handicap placards. And this happens all the time. Handicap spots are not loading zones for gear and equipment. Figure something else out. Especially at a public event where people are going to need the spots. This is not OK, and the station needs to be made aware. All of them.”

In an interview with KHOU11, Berrie tells them “They had made no effort whatsoever to move,” he said. “Their job is more important than accessibility. There were so many other places to do (their live shot). But you chose to do it here. We’re like, ‘No. We gotta stand up.'”

After asking the crew to move from the handicap parking space – several times, Berrie said “(The MSNBC crew) kept coming back like we’ll move in two minutes,” he said. “We’ll move in like three minutes. We’re going live. We’ve got a shot. We’re going live in like three minutes. We gotta do this and we’re just like, ‘No. You have to move. It’s not right. You know it’s not right.’”

So desperate for more time in the handicapped accessible spots, Berrie’s wife told KHOU11 that the producer even knelt on the ground and begged.

Later the MSNBC news reporter, Maria Antencio, made a not so apathetic apology on Twitter saying this:

“We made the wrong call [Tuesday] by using a disabled parking spot for our live shot in TX [Texas].” She continued, “There’s no excuse. I apologize to the two people who were on their way to vote as it’s one of the most important parts of our democracy; we’d never want to jeopardize anyone’s ability to do so.”

After his post picked up traction, Berrie added to it – encouraging others to speak out and stand up for the disabled community. It’s especially important because this is a big voting year. There will be a lot of voter turn out and a lot of media coverage. Berrie notes, “if you see something, say something.”

Berrie has also given a shout out to Maria Atencio with a chance for redemption on her part. He has requested via social media to sit down and discuss this over looked issue of Accessibility in our country. He says the conversation would be ” Not to bring shame, demand an apology, or anything like that. But to bring awareness to the issue, and discuss what’s going on.”


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