(trigger warming: ableism) Disabled Man Ends Up in Court for Laughing Too Loudly
Robert Schiavelli came up with a unique way of dealing with the verbal abuse from his neighbor: he laughs it off. The 42-year-old man has neurological impairments and experiences frequent seizures, something that’s made him a target for his neighbor, who taunts him and hurls slurs like “retard” at him. After years of abuse, Schiavelli’s approach is certainly creative, and it certainly highlights both the ludicrousness and childishness of his neighbor’s behavior.
However, his ever-creative neighbor has come up with yet another way to torment Mr. Schiavelli. He phoned the police to call in a noise complaint, and now Schiavelli’s facing a summons to court and multiple fines.
He could pay up to $500 in fines or spend 30 days in jail, a harsh punishment for something that seems so benign. As Schiavelli himself said at his arraignment, “I didn’t know it was a crime to laugh out a window.” Astoundingly, a judge is actually taking the case seriously, while Schiavelli and his mother are appalled that the situation has come to this point; one might suspect, given the bad historybetween the defendant and his neighbor, that the police reports may have been of a retaliatory nature…..