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Protesters Gather After Blind Woman Says She Was Mistreated

Blind Woman Protest
Posted at 7:53 PM, Oct 10, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-10 19:53:00-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL)-- Protesters gather at the Museum of Florida History Friday after a blind woman says she was mistreated by a security guard.

Members of the National Federation of the blind gathered outside of the museum in support of Tiffany Baylor. Baylor can be seen in surveillance video interacting with a security guard at the R.A. Gray building. She says she was there for a special tactile quilt exhibit when the security guard told her she needed more proof that she was with a service dog, despite the fact the harness was marked with "guide dog for the blind."

"We are the blind. We have been elected to represent the blind and we expect to be sitting at the table with the State of Florida as we resolve this issue together," said Marion Gwizdala, President of the National Association of Guide Dog Users.

The protest today demanded that criminal charges be brought against the offending officer, clear, written policies be created and all staff trained on these policies and laws concerning service dogs.

"For security at a state building to behave that way and to not understand once told it's a service animal it has a right to be here-- to continue to harass the person, that's very alarming to me," said Toni King from the Tallahassee Chapter of the National Federation for the Blind. "I just don't understand how that can happen."

The blind woman at the center of the issue, Tiffany Baylor, was not at the protest.

We reached out to the Department of Management Services, who manages the R.A. Gray building. They released the following statement about the issue: "Capitol Police are currently looking into the matter and DMS has directed the private security company to review its protocols with respect to training. The company is apologizing and we feel that is the right thing to do."