A disabled Chiefs fan is fed up with other fans he believes are parking illegally at Arrowhead Stadium and says it's time someone started closely policing handicapped parking spaces around the stadium.
In Lot F outside of Arrowhead, Chris Sampson said he watched what appeared to be able-bodied fans park in handicap spots, hop out and lift heavy coolers and grills. Sampson said it's time someone makes sure the people parking in the handicap spots at Arrowhead are doing so legally.
"Something told us, ‘well here comes another one' so my buddy got on his camera on his phone," Sampson said.
The cell phone video computed something that shocked Sampson. He had a hunch the group lifting heavy supplies didn't need their handicapped parking space.
"(They) get out and appear not to have disability whatsoever. Younger people get out of their car and pick up 50-pound coolers, grills, throw the football," he said.
Sampson would like to throw a football. He'd like to do a lot of things he once did with ease before a car crash, but now he relies on a wheelchair to do everyday tasks. He said he couldn't believe what happened when the same group of people pulled out a wheelchair.
"They just unfolded the chair and got beverages out, put it in the chair. They pushed the chair, loaded up with tailgating supplies, to another part of the parking lot," Sampson said.
As a lifelong Chiefs fan, Sampson appreciates the fact that officers check to make sure people have handicapped plaques or plates, but he would like to see them and the Chiefs go one step further. He said, over the years, the number of people possibly illegally parking in handicapped spaces has increased, and since you can't always tell by looking at someone whether they have a disability, he'd like to see officers check.
"That's what that paperwork is for. It's part of the law to have it (the handicapped sign) in the vehicle, yet no one is asking for it," he said.
He said he knows many handicapped people don't have visible signs or necessarily use a wheelchair. He said he believes checking photo identification will ensure the spots go to those who need them and create a fair system.
By 10:30 a.m. Sunday before the Chargers game, attendants said all handicapped spots were taken in the lots outside Gate D. But a KCTV5 employee noticed that a number of spots were open with no one parking in them.
Sampson said those who illegally park in handicapped spaces should consider what life is like for the person who truly needs that spot.
"Just be lucky you don't actually need it, and God forbid, a day comes that you actually do," he said.
The Chiefs said in a written statement this is something they are continually working to police.
"We have procedures and policies in place to deal with this issue. We continue to revise and enhance those procedures. We will do everything in our power to make sure people are in the right spots," according to the statement.
A Jackson County Sheriff's Department spokesperson said the Chiefs hire Kansas City, MO, police officers and Jackson County deputies for each game. The officers who work are off duty.
A spokeswoman for Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said, in this case, the stadium authority is in charge of enforcing parking laws. A Truman Sports Complex authority spokesperson said, per their lease agreement, the Chiefs are in charge of hiring officers to enforce parking laws.
In Missouri, the most a person can be fined for illegally parking in a handicapped spot is $300.
The Kansas Speedway does require anyone with a handicapped tag to show photo identification to prove the person who is disabled is inside the vehicle using the parking space.
"People abuse it and that's really the problem," said Pat Warren, Kansas Speedway president. "It is not how it is enforced. The problem is the abuse by people who are trying to get a better parking space who shouldn't be."
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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