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Who's Blind!

Post by Ria on Tue Apr 19, 2016 6:36 am

Sight for sore eyes: NYPD roughly arrests blind man
Published time: 19 Apr, 2016 00:06
Claude Ruffin had no idea why two men grabbed him until he reached out and felt a gun. That was the moment NYPD officers roughly arrested the blind, disabled veteran. Ruffin is now moving forward with a lawsuit.
Ruffin, 62, was minding his own business when he was arrested in the Borden Avenue Veterans Residence. Celebrating New Year’s Eve inside the Long Island shelter, Ruffin was wearing his dark-colored glasses while sitting on his bed when two officers entered his room in 2014, the New York Daily News reported.

Unbeknownst to Ruffin, a Mississippi native who hasn’t had eyesight since 2001, the veterans’ shelter’s security had called the police, thinking he had kicked a door. It was later determined that Ruffin had not kicked the door but bumped into it while walking without his cane.

“I’m not expecting for police to come,” Ruffin told the New York Daily News. “Two people grab my arms. But I was cool. I walked outside with them, but then they began to manhandle me!”

After being grabbed by two unidentified men, Ruffin struggled and pulled his arm away. The two officers fought back and wrestled him to the ground, when he “went to get up and I put my hand on one of their guns,” Ruffin said to the Daily News. “I said, ‘Oh, this is the f---ing police!’”

Two shelter residents were arrested in the confrontation as well. Shabazz Ali and Henry Davis came to Ruffin’s defense.
“We kept yelling, ‘You’re dealing with a blind man! You’re dealing with a blind man!’” Ali told the Daily News. However, it did not help ease the situation, and Davis was pepper-sprayed and “nearly shocked with a stun-gun as he struggled with officers,” according to the Daily News.

The scuffle between the former plumber and two police officers, and resulted in Ruffin begin charged with resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer. Ali and Davis were arrested as well. Now, they are joining Ruffin in a lawsuit against the NYPD.

The charges against Ruffin were dismissed, and the ones brought against Ali and Davis were not stated. However, the charges did prevent Ruffin from finding permanent housing, according to his attorney, David Thompson.

Thompson feels that the city is not doing enough to ensure that blind citizens receive proper and adequate treatment from law enforcement. “[Police] have to identify themselves and they have to do it in a way a blind person can trust,” Thompson said to the Daily News. “Saying that they’re a cop is step one, but it doesn’t necessarily do enough. This was not an emergency situation where they couldn’t take off their badge, hand it to him and say, ‘Feel this.’”

The lawsuit goes beyond the officers who arrested Ruffin. It alleges that the NYPD failed to create protocol to handle arresting visually disabled individuals.

“The NYPD Patrol Guide, which is approximately 2,000 pages, mentions blind people only once,” the lawsuit reads. “It states that police should not take enforcement action against a blind person for violation of the Canine Waste Law.’”

Although the NYPD would not comment on the case, an anonymous police source with knowledge of the case told the Daily News that Ruffin was intoxicated and seriously injured a female police officer, requiring her to be hospitalized. The source claims that the Civilian Complaint Review Board reviewed the case and exonerated the officers.

Guide dog throws itself in front of oncoming school bus to save blind owner

A New York service dog channeled his inner Lassie when he jumped in front of an oncoming mini school bus, protecting his blind owner from serious injury.
Animals, Health, Accident, Vehicles, USA, Education, Police
Golden retriever Figo and his owner Audrey Stone were walking in Brewster, New York on Monday morning as a mini school bus carrying two kindergarteners drove towards them.

As Stone and Figo crossed the street, the guide dog saw the bus heading towards his blind owner.

His training and protective instincts kicked in, and Figo threw himself in front of the vehicle, the Lower Hudson Journal-News reported.

The bus struck the dog, leaving fur stuck to the front driver’s side wheel and in the middle of the road.

"I don't know if [the driver] thought [Stone] was going to move faster, but it looks like the dog tried to take most of the hit for her," Paul Schwartz, who saw the accident and ran to the scene to help, told the Journal-News. Schwartz thought the dog’s name was Bigo.

Figo’s front right leg was cut to the bone.

Stone was also hit. When Schwartz reached her side, she was bleeding from her head and complaining of hip pain, he said.

"There were 15 EMTs and people all around her, and the dog didn't want to leave her side," Schwartz said. "He was flopping over to her and she didn't want him to get away from her, either. She kept screaming, 'Where's Bigo? Where's Bigo? Where's Bigo?' We kept telling her he was fine."

Even as emergency medics tended to the 62-year-old Stone, one took care of Figo, bandaging his injured leg.

"The dog was being a good sport, really calm," Schwartz said. "He sat with me the whole time. He was limping as we put him on a big blanket on the sidewalk and it started to rain. He let us wrap up his leg without any problem. He wasn't barking or crying or yelping. But he kept pulling toward her. After she was put on a gurney and taken away, he stopped doing that. He seemed a little lost after she left."

Stone suffered a fractured right elbow, three broken ribs, a fractured ankle and a cut to her head in the accident, Brewster Police Chief John Del Gardo told the Journal-News.

“The dog did not want to leave the side of the woman at all…it was the same thing with her, she did not want to leave the dog’s side,” Del Gardo told WCBS. “She was very, very concerned about the dog. My officers that were there and the Fire Department assured her everything would be fine.”

Per regulations, Figo was not allowed to join Stone in the ambulance.

Stone was taken to a Connecticut hospital, while Figo headed to a nearby vet in a fire vehicle, where he had surgery to address the deep gash on his leg.

“Figo is on the mend and doing extremely well,” a staffer at Middlebranch Veterinary told the Journal-News. He will remain there “as long as Audrey needs before she takes him home.”

In nearby Danbury Hospital, a Brewster police officer updated Stone on Figo’s condition. She said that friends are working out the details of taking care of the golden retriever while she recovers, according to Del Gardo.

The minibus driver told police he never saw the blind woman and her guide dog as he turned into them in the intersection. He was given a summons for failing to yield to a pedestrian, Del Gardo said, adding that the bus wasn’t traveling very fast and stopped without leaving skidmarks in the intersection.

The kindergarteners were uninjured and taken to school in a different vehicle, Steven Moskowitz, Brewster's assistant superintendent for human resources and technology, told the Journal-News.

The driver was taken off duty and sent for routine post-accident drug and alcohol testing, Moskowitz said.


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