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Man with Disabilities Pushes for ADA Compliance

March 11, 2016
Source: Local 8 News, TN

[Note: The online news story includes a video with available captions (2:50 minutes)]

Since Local 8 News report Wednesday night, the DEA agents have moved their vehicles from the fire lanes and handicap spots that employees have complained about for years. Lee Roy Gilliam said its up the public to make a noise about the issue for there to be change.

"The local communities are supposed to enforce the ADA regulations," said Gilliam.

Gilliam is confined to a wheelchair. He said the agents were not legally wrong for parking in handicap spaces, but in his view, they were morally wrong.

"Its going to take people thats really concerned and more vocal about it," said Gilliam. "Once you become vocal at it, people will be looking at it and make it comply," he added.

The problem is that those handicap spaces were [not] properly marked in the lot. According to the ADA, "signs should be mounted so that the lower edge of the sign is at least five feet above the ground. This helps ensure visibility both for motorists and local enforcement officials."

Regardless, Gilliam said the DEA officials should not have parked in the space out of courtesy.

"You allow people that can come in there and park there and get by with highway robbery," said Gilliam.

According to Gilliam, the only way to fix the problem with these handicap spots is to speak up. He said concerned residents should complain to the property owner and mandate that the signs follow ADA guidelines.

"As long as they sit back and dont do that, just remain quiet, it gives these people the ability to skirt the law," said Gilliam.

Gilliam said speaking out against the issue is the first step toward affecting change.

"Every time you do something, its a starting point with what you do, and its educating the public with all of this," said Gilliam.

Knoxville [Tennessee] Police Chief David Rausch reached out to Local 8 News Friday and said that after meeting with his legal team, he realized that the only thing required for those spaces is the universal handicapped [symbol]. Chief Rausch added that his officers will be trained to recognize this and enforce people parking in the wrong spots.

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