Disability Advocates Arrested At White House
Dozens of disability rights activists were arrested Monday amid a series of protests in the nation’s capital calling for greater access to community-based services.
Forty-nine demonstrators were issued citations outside the White House for blocking the sidewalk, according to Sgt. Anna Rose with the U.S. Park Police.
The protesters were at the White House as part of an action organized by the disability rights group ADAPT to ask the Obama administration to take steps to move away from institutions and nursing home placements for people with disabilities.
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In addition, ADAPT wants the president to support legislation strengthening the integration mandate in the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“Everyday under the watch of this president, disabled Americans are denied their most fundamental and inalienable rights when they are locked away in nursing facilities and other institutions,” said Bruce Darling, an ADAPT organizer from Rochester, N.Y. “We are urging the president to defend our civil rights instead of looking the other way.”
White House officials told Disability Scoop that the president remains committed to “expanding opportunities” for people with disabilities, but declined to comment on any specific legislation.
Those cited were among about 200 activists from across the country who are in Washington this week for the protests. They were all released, but each charge carries a $50 fine.
In addition to the White House, advocates with ADAPT also protested Monday at the U.S. Department of Justice and outside the Arlington, Va. home of Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
ADAPT is calling on the agency to more aggressively enforce the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Olmstead v. L.C., which found that unnecessarily segregating individuals with disabilities in institutions is a violation of the ADA.
(Updated: April 12, 2016 at 11:24 A.M. ET)