Man With Cerebral Palsy Sues Over Bogus Drunk Driving Arrest
A Tennessee man with cerebral palsy is suing after he was accused of drunk driving for exhibiting slurred speech and shakiness, both signs of his disability.
Garry Palmer, 59, was on his way home one night in May 2010 when he accidentally hit a dog with his car. The dog ran off, but when Palmer got out to tell those at a nearby home what happened, the men inside called police to report a drunk driver after observing Palmer’s movements.
The officers who responded did not not believe Palmer when he explained that his cerebral palsy was to blame for trouble with a field sobriety test and they booked him in jail.
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Prosecutors filed charges, undeterred even after the Lenoir City, Tenn. man presented a doctor’s note explaining his condition. But soon after urging Palmer to plead guilty, prosecutors backed down.
Now Palmer is suing the local sheriff, the deputies involved and the court clerk, saying that his reputation was damaged as word quickly spread in his small town about the incident. He’s looking for punitive damages and wants new policies in place requiring law enforcement officials to make accommodations for those with disabilities, reports the Knoxville (Tenn.) News Sentinel. To read more click here.