Watch out where you park at the Veterans Administration hospital. You never know, you might just get trounced by security.
At least that’s the lesson Jimmy Claude Williams claims he learned one morning.
Williams, a disabled veteran who uses a wheelchair, filed a lawsuit in federal court last week claiming that a pair of VA employees beat him up and locked him up.
According to Williams’ lawyer, John Powell, for trying to park his car in a spot closer to the hospital entrance.
Powell says that Williams had permission from the hospital to park in a reserved spot because of his disability, but apparently, no one told two security guards who were on duty that morning.
After Williams pulled into the parking spot, the two guards went over to Williams and began verbally assaulting the veteran, according to the lawsuit. When Williams tried to explain that he had permission to park there, Williams claims that the guards would not listen.
“They sprayed Mr. Williams in the eyes and face with pepper spray,” the lawsuit states, “forcefully removed him from his vehicle, threw him on the ground, and handcuffed his hands behind his back. When he could not get up, they cursed and kicked him. Then they dragged the old veteran … into the VA Hospital in front of witnesses like a common criminal, put him in a hold-over cell and locked him up.”
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Support Our Journalism
VA spokeswoman in Houston, Kathy Salazar, said she is aware of the lawsuit and that the hospital’s policy is not to comment on pending litigation.
“The thing that crosses my mind when an old veteran tries to tell them something,” says Powell, “is why not do whatever’s necessary to see if what he’s saying is valid before they start jerking him out and macing him.”
Williams is suing for more than $400,000 in damages, according to the lawsuit.
-- Chris Vogel