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'VERY UNFAIR': Differently-abled Christabell Drayton is assistedby her father, Christopher Drayton, at the Express Office in Portof Spain yesterday. —Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY
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Disabled womanplans legal action
Allegedly assaulted by police at CityGate...
By Julien NeavesStory Created: Mar 15, 2012 at 10:53 PM ECT
(Story Updated: Mar 15, 2012 at 10:53 PM ECT )
A DISABLED woman is planning to take legalaction after she was allegedly assaulted by apolice officer yesterday at City Gate, Port ofSpain.Twenty-eight-year-old administrative assistantChristabell Drayton told her story during a visitto the Express offices in Port of Spain yesterday.She has been disabled since she was sevenyears old. Her left leg was amputated above theknee due to cancer and she has to move aroundon crutches. She travels from La Horquetta toPort of Spain for work, using the same maxi taxiand driver who is familiar with her condition.She arrived at City Gate yesterday in the maxi alittle after 7 a.m. To accommodate Drayton, the driver had made a request of the Transit Police officeron duty that he be allowed to go straight to the main off-loading bay, opposite the entrance to the mainbuilding, instead of the Maloney off-loading bay which was further away.She recalled in the past some officers would allow him to do so when informed there was someonedisabled in the maxi, but yesterday the officer refused.Drayton explained that to exit City Gate from that point one cannot use the stairs and the other routeto the east was circuitous, as she would have to walk through one area and go around to exit CityGate. She would usually attempt using the short route to the west, which was restricted to pedestriantraffic as maxi taxis drive along that area. In the past some officers would allow her, with the caution tostay close to the wall, and others would restrict her and make her take the long way around to theeast.Drayton claimed that yesterday when she alighted from the vehicle a female officer in a reflective vest,who she assumed to be a member of the Transit Police, told her to "go this way" and directed her tothe east."I can't walk around that way," she said she told the officer.The officer repeated that she could not pass there and Drayton continued to plead her case. Theofficer asked if she saw the sign about restricted access.Drayton further claimed that the officer held the fence to block her and when she attempted to passthe other way she blocked her again. She alleged that when she attempted to pass under the officer'sarm she grabbed onto her arms and began pulling her back."I said let me go. Why this woman doing this to me," she protested.Drayton reported that a male officer then arrived and told me (Drayton) to calm down. She saidbystanders questioned why they were doing that to her and "advantaging" her.She said an acquaintance asked the officers to leave her alone and the male officer told him to "stayout of this". Drayton reported that she began experiencing a panic attack, crying and unable tobreathe.She claimed that, after protests from the public, the female officer eventually let her go and she exitedto the west as she had been attempting to."They always fighting me down," she said.Drayton said the situation was "very unfair" and some provision should be made for the physicallydisabled at the City Gate maxi taxi area."They say I'm wrong to make my life easy and make me comfortable. How can you say I wrong and I
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