A Veterans Affairs employee was caught on video choking, kicking, and body-slamming a 73-year-old Vietnam vet.
WSB-TV released surveillance video from a violent altercation between a VA patient advocate and an elderly man on April 28 at the Department of Veterans Affairs Clinic at Fort McPherson in Atlanta, Georgia. WSB-TV investigative reporter Justin Gray filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to acquire the surveillance video of the physical confrontation.
Phillip Webb was at the VA clinic to discuss a hernia surgery with a patient advocate named Lawrence F. Gaillard Jr.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website defines a patient advocate as "an employee who is specifically designated at each VHA facility to manage the feedback received from veterans, family members, and friends." The patient advocate "works directly with management and employees to facilitate resolutions."
Webb said he simply knocked on the door in the waiting room to inform Gaillard that he was going to the bathroom before the appointment.
“I guess he got upset because I hit at his door,” Webb told WSB-TV.
The two men are in an office when Gaillard puts his finger in the face of Webb – who quickly slaps his hand away. Gaillard escalates the tense situation by brutally attacking the Vietnam veteran.
They tussle for a few seconds until Gaillard fiercely slams Webb up against the wall, as seen in the shocking video. The patient advocate angrily chokes the veteran, then viciously body slams the elderly man as eyeglasses soar across the room.
Gaillard then stomps the helpless man in the throat and back of the head. The VA employee then wound up and kicked the defenseless man in the head.
The Veterans Affairs employee retrieves the eyeglasses and leaves the room.
"He was Mike Tyson-ing me there," Webb told WSB-TV. "I'm just stunned. I don’t know what to say."
Following the attack, Webb was hospitalized for three days with a brain bleed.
The VA issued a statement: "We are horrified at the video of a V.A. employee assaulting a Veteran at the Atlanta VA Health Care System on April 28. This disturbing behavior is contrary to our core values of treating Veterans with the dignity and respect they deserve. We take this matter seriously and will cooperate fully with Fulton County law enforcement.”
Gaillard was arrested and charged with felony assault. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is investigating the brutal assault.
VA Press Secretary Terrence Hayes told Military.com, "The employee has been indefinitely suspended without pay. The indefinite suspension is in place, and we are unable to comment further as the matter remains under investigation."
(WARNING: Graphic video)