ATLANTA — An elderly veteran says he was attacked and beaten at an Atlanta Department of Veterans Affairs clinic.
The attacker was a VA employee.
The victim spent three days in the hospital because of a head injury. The VA is refusing to provide even basic information on the attack.
Sources within the VA tell Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray that the brutal attack was all captured on surveillance video at the Ft. McPherson VA clinic on April 28.
The attacker worked in the advocacy department. His job is to advocate within the VA on behalf of veterans.
“He said, ‘Man, I’ll go upside your head,’ and I told him, ‘No you won’t.’ And that’s all I remember,” said Philip Webb, 73.
When the Vietnam veteran regained consciousness, police and paramedics were there.
“I was trying to figure out why did he hit me. I’m still trying to figure out why did he hit me,” Webb told Gray.
Webb was rushed by ambulance to Atlanta Medical Center. He remained hospitalized there for three days because of fears of a brain bleed.
He went to the advocacy office because he needed a VA consultation for his hernia.
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Webb said while waiting to speak with someone, he knocked on an office door to tell the VA employee he was going to the restroom. That is when he said the man charged out of the office and seconds later hit him in the head.
“All this happened in a short time. I didn’t even get a chance to tell him I was going to the bathroom because he came out angry,” Webb said.
It was Department of Veterans Affairs police who responded.
For five days, Channel 2 Action News repeatedly asked for an incident or police report on the attack. The VA refuses to provide it.
Sources told Gray that an arrest was made, but the VA refuses to confirm that or share any information about the employee.
Web said VA police told him they made an arrest after watching the surveillance video of the attack.
“He just told me he going to jail. That’s what he said,” Webb said.
The only information VA leadership would provide us is this statement:
“The Atlanta VA health care system takes these accusations very seriously and has zero tolerance for any behavior contrary to our core values. Our leadership team is fully cooperating with law enforcement. Because these allegations are still under review and investigation, we cannot comment further on this matter.”
“He could have killed me because he hit me close to my temple. I know it’s hard for you to understand what happened because I’m trying to figure out myself,” Webb said.
The Atlanta VA said to get information on the attack and arrest we must wait on a Freedom of Information Act request. Those take a minimum of several weeks and more often they take months, or even years.
The attorney for Channel 2 Action News is now involved in our effort to get the VA to provide this public safety information.
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