Yesterday, I wrote a story of an overweight and out-of-control cop who taunted, harassed, and ridiculed a disabled man for parking in a disabled parking spot. Today, I’m happy to report that the officer is now on administrative leave. Thanks to the overwhelming support of our readers, who flooded the department with angry messages and social media posts, the police department was forced to take action against this dangerous and belligerent public servant.
Sgt. Gary Wilson, a 20-year veteran of the Riviera Beach Police Department, is on administrative leave after being caught on camera harassing and ridiculing a disabled man for parking in a disabled parking spot. Wilson, whose physique would barely qualify anyone to be a cop, questioned the legality of Isiah James’ decision to park in a handicap parking spot, saying the combat-wounded veteran is “in the wrong” because he “can walk.”
“You are not the arbitrator of my disability; you don’t get to decide if I’m disabled or not,” says James.
James, who revealed to the irate officer during the exchange that he served tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, also explained that he has screws in his leg, wears a brace on his leg, and suffered a traumatic brain injury. However, the officer refused to believe any of it – even when he was given a medically-retired military ID card, a Veterans’ Affairs identification card, and could clearly see the disabled parking permit.
The Riviera Police Department posted on its Facebook page Sunday:
Many of you have expressed your concerns, passion, and support for Veterans as it relates to an incident involving one of our Police Officers and a Veteran. We, as an organization, share the same gratitude and respect for Veterans. We support Veterans and appreciate their commitment to serve our country. Although the department has not yet received an official statement regarding the incident in question, an Internal Affairs Investigation is already in effect. As a Department, we ask that you allow opportunity to complete the investigation. You can remain certain that the investigation will be thorough and transparent. The Office of the Chief of Police is always open, and takes seriously all customer service issues.
I know I may be a little hard on the officer by calling attention to his anger management problems, his inability to articulate an intelligent exchange of words, his morbid obesity, his utter contempt for disabled people, and lastly, his inability to know/read/follow Florida law – BUT, I think that’s exactly what this officer needs, as he saw no problem doing the same exact thing to James.