Disabled vet says MSNBC blocked handicap parking at voting location, refused to move

James Berrie/Facebook

A disabled US Air Force veteran’s mission to cast his ballot was hindered last week, after an MSNBC news crew set up shop in a handicapped parking spot.

Houston-area veteran James Berrie and wife Sarah were attempting to cast their ballots last Tuesday when they discovered he had a peculiar obstacle in their way- the mainstream media, in the form of MSNBC reported Mariana Atencio and her camera crew, who

“Went to vote, and found this waiting for us,” Berrie recounted on Facebook, posting a photo of Atencio in the spot he needed to park in. “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.”

Upset, Mrs. Berrie decided to intervene, in order to prevent the same inconvenience for other disabled people try to vote.

“Sarah made a big scene and did not back down,” he wrote. “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 were there. We finally left once their van was loaded. But there were plenty of witnesses and pictures/video taken by others.”

Berrie noted that what the MSNBC crew did was not only illegal, it was a form of voter suppression in its own right.

“This is suppression,” he wrote. “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.”

Despite making a spectacle on the day of the incident, Mariana Atencio, went to Twitter and apologized, all while mistakenly referring to the United States as a democracy.

“We made the wrong call today by using a disabled parking spot for our live shot in TX,” she tweeted. “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.”

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