A tussle between a disabled veteran and a cop who thought he wasn’t disabled enough to use a handicapped spot is making national news — and getting the police officer some unexpected administrative leave.
The incident occurred Sunday in Riviera Beach, Florida, when Sgt. Garry Wilson ordered army veteran Isiah James to move his car from a handicap parking spot despite Wilson’s having valid credentials, the Palm Beach Post reported.
James recorded the incident on video and later posted it to Facebook — where it has gone viral.
James explained repeatedly that he is a disabled veteran.
But Wilson wasn’t buying it.
“Do that make you any better than a citizen or old lady in a wheelchair that really needs that plate?” Wilson said according to the Post. “I’m just saying. You walking.”
“You’re not the arbitrator of my handicap,” James told the officer.
According to the Post:
James served three tours with the Army in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2006 and 2011. He was injured multiple times by improvised bombs and other explosives. He sustained a traumatic brain injury and other elements, and today wears braces on both legs, has numerous screws in his legs and struggles to walk long distances.
Wilson can be heard arguing with James until he apparently knocks the cell phone from James’ hands.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!” James said as the officer slapped his phone away. “You don’t have any right to do that, officer!”
The incident is now under investigation and the Riviera Beach Police Department is busy doing damage control via its Facebook page.
The public isn’t going easy on the department or Officer Wilson:
But at least one person thinks that Wilson’s actions could have been justified:
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