Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Stand up and be heard...Dick, 1960


The main reason I started my blog in 2006 was to chronicle the memories of my life and to compile them into a book for my three children. I wanted them to be intimately connected to their past and to have some wonderful remembrances of their dad who passed away in 1990. This is one of those instances:

In the years 1958 through 1962 my husband Richard and I lived and worked in New York City. Dick was a free lance photographer and he collected a large amount of parking tickets due to double parking while delivering photos to clients.

When he was summoned to court to pay these tickets he had no idea that they would not accept a check. They demanded cash and, when he didn't have this on him, they threw him into a tiny holding area. The place was filthy … vermin on the walls, a strong smell of urine and close proximity to criminals in shackles. Dick was a Type 1 diabetic and almost went into insulin shock because they would not give him anything to eat. (he was to die at the age of 59 because of this disease.), After many hours he was finally allowed one phone call and he was released after a good friend brought in the cash.

Dick was furious and he got in touch with the New York branch of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). They asked him to document his ordeal and he did this in writing as well as in photos that he took of the holding area. It was the start of a good relationship and a few years later one of the ACLU officers called Dick and invited him to lunch. He congratulated him about his diligence in documenting his treatment and said that the rules had been changed, thanks to Dick and others like him. No longer would a person be subjected to such treatment for a misdemeanor.

11 Comments:

Blogger Marie Smith said...

How wonderful! Love this story. I love the stories you tell about your lives. I can imagine how important the stories will be to your children.

5:28 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Ah ... the good, old days.

5:56 AM  
OpenID schmidleysscribblins.com said...

Obscene treatment. Good for Richard. Thanks for sharing this. Youngsters don't always realize how far we've come.

10:58 AM  
Blogger troutbirder said...

Bravo for him. :)

11:42 AM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

It is wonderful when you can be heard and make a change. Dick's experience was awful but it did precipitate change.

11:51 AM  
OpenID schmidleysscribblins.com said...

I thought I left a comment, but perhaps not. Outrageous treatment. Happy to hear Dick stood up and got the rules changed. Less educated people can't do this.

9:41 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

How proud he must have been of making such a difference.

1:38 PM  
Blogger possum said...

Bravo, bravo. And how fortunate he was to have had someone who could show up and "bail" him out!
I have wondered about the number of people who do die in these cells in this country from having their medical needs ignored.

I DO understand that there are those who fake medical needs to get special attention - or any attention at all, and I can see how some police departments might get tired of people faking it - but then there are those who DO have real life and death conditions like Dick.
How great that he was able to document what happened and be part of the Change that was needed. Bravo for the ACLU, too.

8:20 AM  
Blogger joared said...

That was horrible treatment. One person can make a difference!

1:08 AM  
Blogger joared said...

That was horrible treatment. One person can make a difference!

1:09 AM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

While this was a terrible experience, the fact that Dick turned his ordeal into helping others was a good outcome.

3:26 AM  

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