A wheelchair-bound man was taken to the ground face-first and handcuffed because he rode his motorized scooter on the shoulder of a road against traffic, the way pedestrians are legally supposed to. Police impounded his scooter and took him to jail.
Paralyzed from the chest down, 52-year-old Larry Wayne Dodson has limited transportation options. He said that he has used his scooter hundreds of times to take himself the short distance to the local grocery store without incident.
The law says that pedestrians are to travel on the shoulder, against traffic. This allows both the pedestrian and the oncoming vehicles to have their eyes on each other. Mr. Dodson rides this way, considering himself the same as a pedestrian.
On April 25, 2014, he was rudely informed by a local law enforcer that he is no pedestrian. Roanoke County Police Officer C.A. Jacobs stopped Mr. Dodson and told him that by the letter of the law, his scooter is considered a vehicle.
The government would prefer that he make make a near-suicidal attempt to cross 5 lanes of traffic with his scooter, than just ride along in the same manner as all other pedestrians.
Mr. Dodson became understandably upset. After some heated dispute, Officer Jacobs called for backup.
A male officer ordered him to stand up, Dodson recalled. “I said, ‘I can’t stand up. That’s why I’m in this wheelchair.’”
A second officer literally slammed the paralyzed man face-first on the ground and handcuffed him behind his back, the Roanoke Times reported.
Mr. Dodson was charged with driving the wrong way, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. He was taken to jail on a stretcher and his scooter was impounded. His bond was set at $1,000.
“They have to pick on a little old man in a wheelchair,” Dodson told the Roanoke Times.
Police have disputed Dodson’s side of the story, but have yet to release the dashcam video as he requested, over 8 weeks later.