International Disability Rights News Service
Your quick, once-a-day look at disability rights, self-determination
and the movement toward full community inclusion around the world.

Friday, April 16, 2004
Year V, Edition 915

Today's front page features 8 news and information items, each preceded by a number (#) symbol.
Click on the"Below the Fold" link at the bottom of this page for 35 more news items.

"This is a little justice. It's a little justice."

--Helen Childs, upon learning that James Turney, the Denver Police officer who shot her son, Paul, is suspended without pay for 10 months and will never return to the streets (First story)

"For once, we were on equal terms with hearing members of the audience."
--Bob McCullough, who is deaf and who recently saw "The Passion of the Christ", in which the actors speak Aramaic and Latin while English subtitles flash on the screen (Fifth story)



Turney Receives 10-Month Suspension For Childs' Shooting

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 16, 2004

DENVER, COLORADO--James Turney, the Denver Police officer who shot and killed Paul Childs III, has been given a 10-month suspension without pay, effective immediately. If he returns to the force, he will not be allowed to patrol the street, but will instead be offered a desk job.

The disciplinary action, handed down Thursday by the city's Manager of Safety Al LaCabe, is considered the toughest given to a Denver cop in several years. LaCabe said that Turney, 30, violated the department's "efficiency and safety" rules when he shot and killed 15-year-old Childs last July.

Denver Police Chief Gerry Whitman had recommended a 20-day suspension. Community members had called for Turney to be fired.

Turney's lawyer said he would appeal the ruling. The union representing police officers called the punishment "politically motivated".

The Childs family called 911 on July 5 in the hopes that police could help calm Paul, who had mental retardation and epilepsy, after a series of outbursts in his home. Turney arrived at the home and drew his firearm even though two other officers, who were on the scene before him, had non-lethal Tasers. Turney shot Childs four times in a doorway when the teen failed to follow police instructions to drop an 8 1/2 inch kitchen knife he was clutching to his chest.

LaCabe, a former police officer and former deputy district attorney, wrote in his report: "By immediately forcing a confrontation with Mr. Childs, Officer Turney exposed himself and others to an immediate risk of harm, placing Mr. Childs only six to seven feet away from Officer Turney, and creating a likely deadly force situation."

"I feel a little relief," Paul's mother, Helen Childs, told reporters. "At least I know this cop will never go out and kill somebody again."

"This is a little justice," she added. "It's a little justice."

Child's death was the second fatal shooting by Turney since he joined the department in 1998. On January 30, 2002, he shot and killed 18-year-old Gregory Smith Jr., in the home of Smith's mother. Turney shot the partially deaf Smith after the teen failed to follow orders to drop a pocket knife.

Turney was cleared of criminal wrongdoing in both cases.

"No one supports the police force more than I do; I recognize what they go through," said Mayor John Hickenlooper about Turney's suspension. "But in a case where there has been such a serious lack of judgment, I think there has to be punishment."

Child's death has prompted legislators to consider "Paul's Law", a measure that would require all law enforcement officers and dispatchers in Colorado to undergo crisis-intervention training, along with specific instructions on dealing with suspects who have mental illness or developmental disabilities. It also prompted the family to prepare a federal civil rights suit against the police department, led by famous trial attorney Johnnie L. Cochran Jr.

Turney gets 10-month ban (Denver Post)
Childs family, neighbors pleased, not satisfied (Denver Post)
Taking cop off the street empowering (Denver Post)
Council members want change in police discipline rules (Denver Post)
"The Death of Paul Childs III" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)



State Campuses Don't Provide Voter Applications, Feds Claim

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 16, 2004

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK--The state of New York is violating federal law by failing to provide voter registration applications at offices for students with disabilities in state-funded college campuses, the U.S. Department of Justice claims.

In a suit filed Thursday in federal court at Syracuse, the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division accused the state of not complying with the 1993 National Voter Registration Act.

The federal law requires all state-funded offices that primarily serve people with disabilities to provide applicants with voter registration forms, declination forms, along with assistance in completing the forms and forwarding completed applications to the appropriate state officials.

The suit names Governor George Pataki, City University of New York, State University of New York, the Board of Elections and other state agencies. It joins a similar suit, filed in 2000 against the state on behalf of New York members of the National Coalition for Students with Disabilities.

A SUNY spokesperson told the Associated Press Friday that the campus is in full compliance with the federal law.

National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (U.S. Department of Justice)
National Coalition for Students with Disabilities



"Milkshake Man" Honored As "Person Of The Week"

April 16, 2004

WASHINGTON, DC--The ABC News program "World News Tonight" named Jim Mayer its "Person of the Week".

Mayer is known as "Milkshake Man" to the 70 men and women at Walter Reed Medical Center who have lost a limb since the war in Iraq began last March.

"It's just an icebreaker," he said of the milkshakes he delivers to injured veterans. "And then I can start listening and hear what's on their mind and start to become a friend. Nothing really heavy at first."

Mayer believes it's important for injured vets to maintain contact with the outside world. For young soldiers traumatized by their experience, it is easy to lose hope.

Mayer should know. He lost both legs 35 years ago after stepping on a land mine in the Vietnam War.

"I've seen so many amputees and families, and I get an internal sense of reward that makes me feel like a rich guy," Mayer said.

Entire article, with link to video clip:
"Soldiering On: Jim Mayer Helps Injured Soldiers Recover, Readjust" (ABC News)



Judge Appoints Temporary Guardian For Injured Infant

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 16, 2004

AKRON, OHIO--A judge gave limited guardianship for 5-month-old Aiden Stein to an Akron attorney Friday, with instructions to make medical decisions for the infant, but not to end his life support, the Beacon Journal reported.

Summit County Probate Court Judge Bill Spicer appointed temporary guardianship to Ellen Kaforey at least until Wednesday. In a hearing set for that day, Judge Spicer is expected to consider Kaforey's recommendations regarding the boy's future, and to decide whether he should hear from a medical expert selected by the child's parents.

Aiden has been in a coma since March 15.

Physicians at Akron Children's Hospital claim that the infant is "brain dead" from shaken baby syndrome. They have argued that Aiden would remain blind, deaf and unaware of his surroundings -- in a "persistent vegetative state" -- if allowed to live. They recommend his ventilator and feeding tubes be removed so he will die.

Aiden's parents, Matthew Stein and Arica Heimlich, both 21, are fighting to keep their son alive. Mr. Stein denies allegations that he injured the child by violently shaking him.

The doctors have suggested that the parents want Aiden to say alive because one or both could be charged with murder if the infant dies.

At Friday's hearing, a child abuse investigator with Richland County Children Services Board testified that the agency has ordered a psychological evaluation for Mr. Stein. Among other things, the agency is concerned about his history of mental illness and assaultive behavior toward adults.

Stein testified that he stopped taking medication for bipolar disorder last year.

"My doctor had me on the stuff," he said. "I didn't need it."

Mr. Stein testified that he accidentally bumped his son's head on the rail of a bassinet. He also said that the infant's 13-year-old aunt held Aiden too high over her head, causing the boy to be struck by a ceiling fan the night before the baby's symptoms appeared.

Dr. R. Daryl Steiner of Children's Hospital testified that the injuries could only have occurred immediately before the symptoms showed up. He rejected suggestions that the injuries could have been caused by earlier accidents, such as hitting a ceiling fan or falling off a couch.

Aiden's mother said she believes his father is innocent.

"If I would have seen him hit my child, I wouldn't be with him," Heimlich said.

"Fate of 5-month-old rests in judge's hands" (Akron Beacon Journal)



"On Equal Terms, For A Change, With The Audience"

April 16, 2004

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND--The following four paragraphs are excerpts from Bob McCullough's Deaf Talkabout column in Friday's Belfast Telegraph:

Evelyn and I saw The Passion of the Christ at a packed Strand cinema on the Holywood Road in Belfast.

It felt a bit strange taking our seats since we knew the film would be sub-titled because the dialogue being used was the Latin and Aramaic of Bible times.

For once, we were on equal terms with hearing members of the audience.

It was our first visit to a cinema for years as, like most other deaf folk, we had long given up trying to follow the action on the big screen and had become spoiled by the abundance of subtitled TV programmes.

Entire article:
"On equal terms, for a change, with the audience" by Deaf Talkabout columnist Bob McCullough (Belfast Telegraph)



Sterilisation of Women And Young Girls 2001 Report (Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission -- Australia)

It is common in the legal commentary to refer to child sterilisation as if it is a gender neutral issue, but the overwhelming majority of sterilisations and certainly all the cases heard by relevant Australian courts and tribunals, involve female children with intellectual disabilities. There is social problem at the centre of the debate about sterilisation. Sterilisation is a procedure that is notorious for having been performed on young women with disabilities for various purposes ranging from eugenics through menstrual management and personal care, to the prevention of pregnancy, including pregnancy as a result of sexual abuse.

Sterilisation of children in the Australian context is related primarily to two characteristics - gender and disability.


# EXPRESS EXTRA!!! From the Inclusion Daily Express Archives (One year ago):


Easley Signs Law Ending State's Eugenics Era

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 17, 2003

RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA--Governor Mike Easley signed a law Thursday that officially puts an end to forced sterilizations in North Carolina.

"To the victims and families of this regrettable episode in North Carolina's past, I extend my sincere apologies and want to assure them that we will not forget what they have endured," Easley stated as he signed the measure to repeal the 1929 sterilization law that had not been used since 1974.

Among those present at the signing were Elaine Riddick Jessie and Nial Cox Ramirez, who received a standing ovation from state House members and onlookers when they were introduced.

"It was a very joyful event to see that someone actually took the time and heard our cries ... took the time and paid attention," Jessie said.

"No one should ever feel the pain and agony of not being able to have children," she said. "It's a God-given right: Be fruitful and multiply and fill the world with images of thyself. This is something they took away from us."

The sterilization law had given power to the Eugenics Board of North Carolina to sterilize 7,600 people, most of whom had mental retardation or mental illness, most against their will. Only California and Virginia performed more sterilizations.

The eugenics movement in the early and mid- 20th century was based on the belief that keeping "undesirable" people from having children would be a good way to correct society's problems. More than 66,000 people in 33 states and two Canadian provinces were legally sterilized under eugenics laws passed by lawmakers. In North Carolina, most of those sterilized during the 1960s were young black women and girls -- some as young as 10 years of age.

Governors of North Carolina, Oregon, Virginia, South Carolina and California have officially apologized for their states' involvement in the eugenics movement. In February, Gov. Easley set up a committee to investigate his state's eugenics program and consider reparations or counseling for its victims.

"North Carolina's Eugenics Past" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)
"Against Their Will" (Winston-Salem Journal)


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