A wheelchair-bound man from Texas claims reporters for MSNBC suppressed his right to vote after they set up a live shot in a handicap parking space and would not move.
Writing on Facebook Tuesday, Houston resident James Berrie described arriving at a polling place to cast his vote in the midterm elections, however a news van was parked in the space reserved for disabled persons.
Berrie, a Multiple Sclerosis sufferer according to The Daily Mail, says after the crew refused to move when asked, his wife Sarah walked into their live shot, at which point “they cut the feed and got pissed.”
Read Berrie’s account, via Facebook:
Went to vote, and found this waiting for us. The only van accessible spot and they’re filming in it. We asked them to move, pointed out how it was wrong, then went to vote, because it takes time to load up. But came out and still there. Not even packing up, still getting ready for their shot. Then Sarah made a big scene and did not back down. They claimed they had a live shot, so Sarah walked into the shot. They cut the feed and got pissed. Fortunately other people joined in, plus firefighters who where there for Prop B. We finally left once their van was loaded. But there were plenty of witnesses and pictures/video taken by others.
Berrie added that the van did not have the proper handicap placard to be parked in the space, and that he believed this to be a form of voter suppression.
“This is suppression. If I couldn’t park I couldn’t vote. Their van had no handicap placards. And this happens all the time. Handicap spots are not loading zones for gear and equipment. Figure something else out. Especially at a public event where people are going to need the spots. This is not ok, and the station needs to be made aware. All of them.”
Berrie reportedly contacted Democrat Beto O’Rourke’s campaign and says “they gave me a number for voter issues in Austin. Called and reported and they’re going to investigate.”
His wife Sarah added on Facebook that “Preventing the disabled from being able to park in order to vote is voter suppression. And blocking access to a handicap parking spot is illegal.”
A photo of the shot posted to Facebook by Berrie showed MSNBC reporter Mariana Atencio waiting to film a report.
Atencio later released an apology on Twitter claiming the crew “made the wrong call.”
We made the wrong call today by using a disabled parking spot for our live shot in TX. There’s no excuse. I apologize to the two people who were on their way to vote as it’s one of the most important parts of our democracy; we’d never want to jeopardize anyone’s ability to do so
— Mariana_Atencio (@marianaatencio) October 30, 2018
“We made the wrong call today by using a disabled parking spot for our live shot in TX. There’s no excuse,” Atencio wrote. “I apologize to the two people who were on their way to vote as it’s one of the most important parts of our democracy; we’d never want to jeopardize anyone’s ability to do so.”
Atencio also made headlines from Houston Tuesday after she was stunned to learn that several Hispanic voters she’d interviewed were voting red.