WINNIPEG – It’s meant to show the dangers of speeding. But to some, a recent Winnipeg Police Service commercial displays a completely different message.
The ad shows the aftermath of a crash caused by speeding through the eyes of the driver. The passenger is killed when the car slams into a parked vehicle. The driver is later shown in a wheelchair watching a pick-up basketball game.
“He’s like the social outcast,” said Jared Funk. “That’s what we didn’t like.”
Funk was left a quadriplegic following a car accident in 1992. He has used the power of sports to help change his life. The three-time Paralympian has threatened to file a human rights complaint against the ad because of the way it ends.
“We’re trying to break the stereotypes of people in wheelchairs not being able to do stuff,” said Funk. “Sports is being one of those things.”
On Friday, Winnipeg’s police board urged the city’s top cop to remove the final few seconds of the commercial.
“People will still get the shock value message which is important,” said Scott Fielding, the board’s chairperson. “It just doesn’t give the lasting impression that if you’re disabled, you cant participate.”
“We’ll never be able to please everyone,” said police Chief Devon Clunis. “I will always be willing to listen. If it’s impacting any segment of our society, certainly I want to look at it.
Funk is happy the chief is considering changing the commercial but demands it be pulled until he actual does.
The ad has ended its run on TV but can still be viewed online.