More than half of New York City’s 77 police stations are not accessible, according to an Oct. 17 federal lawsuit filed by the nonprofit organizations Disabled In Action and the Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled against the city.
According to the complaint, 32 precincts lack wheelchair accessible main entrances and have numerous other architectural barriers that bar those with mobility impairments from entering. Instead, people with mobility impairments are forced to wait for someone to escort them through an alternate entrance.
“This not only inconveniences and embarrasses them, but also can directly threaten their safety,” the lawsuit says. The complaint alleges that while some stations have minor hindrances, other precincts lack all wheelchair access, which is in violation of the ADA.
In addition to the nonprofit organizations, wheelchair users Paula Wolff, Jean Ryan, Edith Prentiss and Dustin Jones are also plaintiffs in the suit, each of them experiencing difficulty when trying to visit their local precinct.
“Because she could not enter the building, she was forced to send someone else inside to obtain the police report for her while she waited outside in the cold weather,” the complaint states about Wolff trying to access the 10th Precinct on West 20th Street. “Having to wait outside took away Wolff’s dignity, privacy, independence, and ability to speak for herself, in addition to causing her inconvenience and discomfort.”
A statement from the New York Police Department and city law department said the complaint was under review.