A disabled veteran in Houston took to his Facebook page to post a photo of the “voter suppression” he faced when he arrived to vote early on Tuesday and found an MSNBC news crew blocking access to the handicapped-accessible parking spots.
“Went to vote, and found this waiting for us. The only van accessible spot and they’re filming in it,” James Berrie wrote, who uses a wheelchair after his service in the Air Force. “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.”
The photo posted by Berrie shows MSNBC anchor Mariana Atencio preparing for the live shot with lights, a camera, and the crew all blocking the handicapped-accessible parking spot. Ultimately, the vet and his wife, Sarah, called it “suppression.”
“If I couldn’t park I couldn’t vote,” he wrote. “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.”
MSNBC didn’t immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment. However, Atencio took to Twitter to apologize.
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
Although Berrie initially addressed the issue with the news corporation and asked that media pay more attention to where they’re setting up, he later pointed out that having people take up handicapped-accessible spots is an issue he faces every day.
Berrie didn’t immediately reply to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment. But he posted an important message to bring awareness to these further limitations when looking for a handicapped-accessible parking spot.
“Today. If you see something, speak out,” he wrote. “Sarah and I will be sharing examples like this as we see them. Not to shame anyone, but to raise awareness of how rampant the problem really is.”
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