Paralyzed Man Claims CHP Officers Left Him Stranded in His Wheelchair After Towing His Car
When a law enforcement officer tells you to get out of the car, if you've ever seen even just one episode of "COPS," you know you'd damn well better get out. But what if you are a disabled motorist? Should you be treated any differently? A 23-year-old Orange County man says that California Highway Patrol officers mistreated him "when they left him stranded off a freeway exit after his vehicle was towed away," according to the OC Register.
Jamal Aldaoudi was driving north on the 57 freeway Friday night, when he was pulled over by the CHP for having expired registration tags. Aldaoudi says he immediately informed the officer who approached his vehicle that he was driving on a suspended license. The officer also determined Aldaoudi was uninsured.
The law is clear in regards to the violations Aldaoudi had committed, and Aldaoudi does not dispute his wrongdoing, and says he's not upset he was cited, and that his vehicle was towed. However, Aldaoudi is filing a complaint against the officers because he claims he was treated badly, and left stranded.
The OC Register offers details of what Aldaoudi says happened when he was pulled over:
According to Aldaoudi, the officer who pulled him over requested backup when he found out Aldaoudi was driving with a suspended license. The backup officer arrived within a few minutes. When Aldaoudi told the officer he was disabled and unable to get out of the car, the backup officer stepped in, opened Aldaoudi's car door and told him to get out. "He straight up opened my door and said, 'You're wasting my time,' " recalled Aldaoudi. "I told him I was paralyzed. He told me to get the (expletive) out of the car. He said stop playing games."
Aldaoudi said he told the backup officer that his wheelchair was in the trunk, but the officer saw his cane inside his car and probably assumed he could walk. He showed the officer the controlled steering wheel that allows him to control the vehicle.
"He just felt like I was lying to him, like I didn't want to get out of the car," Aldaoudi added.
Meanwhile, the other officer grabbed his wheelchair from the trunk and placed it next to Aldaoudi.
"I transferred to the wheelchair and I said, now do you believe I can't walk?'"
"He just looked at me and said, 'That's all you had to tell me,' " Aldaoudi said.
The disabled motorist says the officer did offer to call him a cab, he had to refuse because he did not have enough money to pay. Aldaoudi was ultimately left on the sidewalk near the front of an area Target store. The CHP claims that their policy is to leave motorists whose vehicles are towed in "a well-lit area with people around," according to CHP Lt. Edward Hofer, adding: "A shopping center with open businesses will be considered a safe location."
Aldaoudi adds an injury to what he says is an insult: He claims that he fell from his wheelchair on the sidewalk where the CHP left him, which resulted in a leg sprain, and the need for assistance from some strangers passing by.
Hofer says the CHP takes complaints like Aldaoudi's "seriously," and the incident is under investigation.