ATLANTA — Disturbing video shows the moments a Veterans Affairs’ employee pushed an elderly Vietnam veteran into a door and body-slammed him to the ground.
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Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Justin Gray first reported on the attack in May. Phillip Webb, 73, said he was attacked at the Department of Veterans Affairs Clinic at Fort McPherson in Atlanta on April 28.
Gray had to file a Freedom of Information Act request and wait more than a month and a half to get the surveillance video, which shows a VA patient advocate viciously hit and kick Webb.
VA employee Lawrence F. Gaillard Jr. was arrested and charged with the brutal beating.
On Monday, Gray showed Webb the video of the moment he was assaulted.
Webb said he doesn’t remember much about the attack.
In the video, the two men appear to have a brief argument and Gaillard puts his finger up to Webb’s face. When Webb tries to push it away, Gaillard charges, shoving him against the wall, choking him with both hands around his neck, then body-slamming the elderly veteran to the ground, where he stomps on his head. He then kicks Webb in the head a second time.
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Webb said he knocked on the door in the waiting room to let Gaillard know he was going to the bathroom. He was waiting to discuss scheduling hernia surgery.
“I guess he got upset because I hit at his door,” Webb said.
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Webb was hospitalized for three days with a brain bleed.
“He was Mike Tyson-ing me there,” Webb said. “I’m just stunned. I don’t know what to say.”
The latest information the Atlanta VA has provided on Gaillard is that he is still employed at the hospital, despite his arrest.
“For them to let him come bac to work, that’s dangerous,” Webb said.
The VA issued a statement, saying
“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 bonded out on the initial charges, which were filed in federal court. In the past few days, the U.S. Attorney’s Office dropped the charges because of jurisdictional issues and turned it over to the Fulton County District Attorney, Fanni Willis, whose office is now leading the investigation.
We’re hearing from the man who was attacked and show you the video, on Channel 2 Action News at 4 p.m.
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