SEATTLE - All Henry Revelez wanted to do was park to go shopping at a West Seattle grocery store. That may sound simple, but not for the Iraq War vet, whose time in the Army left him with serious breathing trouble, making it hard for him to walk long distances.
Revelez relies on handicapped parking spaces to do simple things, like shop. So he says it was a slap in the face to find the handicapped space taken up by a Seattle Police patrol car.
“Shame on you, shame on you,” was his first reaction. SPD investigated and found the officer was not on official business, and had no business parking in the handicapped spot.
“It is just disrespect,” Revelez said, adding, “Having a (handicapped parking) placard is not a choice. I don’t choose to have that placard.”
“We’re embarrassed,” Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, the department’s top spokesperson told KING 5 News.
“The officer involved will get a stern talking to from his chain of command,” Whitcomb said.
Revelez says that is a start, but he opines if he illegally parked in that spot, he would most likely get a ticket, and not a lecture. The fine for illegally parking in a handicapped spot in Seattle is $250 plus an additional $200 administrative fine.
From time to time, police departments find themselves in the middle of this very situation. Seattle, hoping to turn this into a teachable moment for its officers says the precinct captain will brief patrol staff on where not to park while not on official business.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Before anyone races to start calling the kettle black when it comes to news crews finding creative parking spaces at the scene of stories, at least here at KING5, handicapped spaces are off limits. Period, plain and simple, we don’t do it. If you catch one of our cars or live mobile units in a handicapped spot, send us the picture, for we too, would be what the Seattle Police Department is - embarrassed.