A Wheelchair-Bound Cop Out There Being Human

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With the United States continuing to accelerate into insanity, take a moment for some unifying relief by reading Mark Patinkin’s latest article:

[Providence Police Officer Mike Matracia] first noticed something was wrong while playing basketball in 1994. A few times, he fell while running down the court. But he dismissed it — he was 30ish and in great shape.

He kept brushing off the falls. But then came other signs, like being off balance. …

Seven years later, he began using the chair. That’s when a higher-up told him he should come to work in street clothes instead of his uniform.

It devastated him.

“Obviously policemen can’t chase down bad guys in a wheelchair,” he says. But he was still a cop putting in a productive day on the job.

So, Matracia strove for permission to wear his uniform to work, and he’s stayed on the job rather than finding some disability-funded way out.

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Now, it’s entirely possible Matracia might credit a labor union for his continued employment and oppose everything the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity stands for when it comes to public-sector labor, or maybe he’d be interested in MyPayMySay.  It’s also possible that at some point in his past as far back as high school he treated a girl or woman in a way that would bring him condemnation and rejection if he ever tried for some prominent position in the public eye.  Maybe he thinks North Smithfield was right to boycott Nike for its elevation of Colin Kaepernick, wearer of pig-cop socks.  Or maybe he’s sympathetic to the self-proclaimed anti-fascist progressives who see it as their duty to intimidate and silence people with whom they disagree.

I don’t know whether any of these apply.  I list them only because they’ve all been in today’s tide of headlines, posts, and emails.

I do know that Matracia is a human being out there busily being human in a way we can all admire, and that’s one aspect of news stories that we seem to be losing sight of, recently.



  • BasicCaruso

    “t’s also possible that at some point in his past as far back as high school he treated a girl or woman in a way that would bring him condemnation and rejection if he ever tried for some prominent position in the public eye.”

    Using a guy with a disability to defend sexual assault? A new low over here.

    • Rhett Hardwick

      Is there any possibility that you are fluent in the Klingon language?

    • Justin Katz

      Anybody capable of giving what I’ve written here a fair reading would see that I presented Matracia as somebody we should rightly admire and then plucked multiple issues out of current events and juxtaposed them with somebody admirable as a reminder that we shouldn’t lose sight of each other’s humanity. Perhaps that’s what you actually disagree with.

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