“Oregon police officer fired after drunken driving crash sues city, cites disabilities law”

by Walter Olson on May 3, 2013

“A police officer fired for driving drunk in an unmarked police car while off-duty has filed a $6 million lawsuit against the city of Gresham, the police chief and others, alleging his rights were violated under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The lawsuit filed in Portland alleged the officer, Jason Servo, was suffering from alcoholism, a recognized disability under the act, and shouldn’t have been dismissed.” [AP] In my book The Excuse Factory I sketched some of the history of how alcoholism (at least when the subject declares a willingness to participate in rehab) came to be protected under the ADA.

{ 3 comments }

1 JuliaV 05.03.13 at 9:35 am

Alcoholism is a disability???? Tuesday night, a 16-year-old girl and her gramma were on their way home from my friend’s house when they were hit head on and killed by a drunk driver on the wrong side of the road.

2 Black Death 05.03.13 at 11:25 am

JuliaV, you need to get with the spirit of the times here. The incident you describe is a “tragic mishap” – not really anyone’s fault. How could you believe otherwise? Obviously alcoholism (and other forms of substance abuse) are illnesses, for which the suffering individuals bear no responsibility. Why, the person driving the car was just as much a victim as the people he (or she) killed. If there’s any fault, it lies with society, for callously ignoring the plight of these dependent individuals; and if such individuals repeatedly ignore or fail attempts at rehabilitation, it’s perfectly clear that the fault must lie with the rehabilitation programs themselves, which were obviously underfunded. Don’t you feel better now? I’m sure this will be a great comfort to the grieving friends and family of the deceased.

3 Paul 05.03.13 at 8:30 pm

The only time alcoholism should come into play is if you seek help for it *BEFORE* you break the law. Once you’ve broken the law, especially as a police officer, your employer should have no obligation to keep you.

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