According to a VA official, a Department of Veterans Affairs staffer who was seen on security footage abusing a veteran patient at Fort McPherson in Georgia has been fired without pay.
For allegedly attacking 73-year-old Vietnam veteran Phillip Webb earlier that day, Lawrence Gaillard Jr., a patient advocate at the VA outpatient facility in downtown Atlanta, was detained and prosecuted on April 28.
The altercation was seen on tape, which Atlanta's WSB-TV released on Tuesday.
According to VA Press Secretary Terrence Hayes, the employee has been placed on indefinite leave without pay. We cannot speak further because the situation is still being investigated, but the indefinite suspension is in effect.
A VA employee, identified by the prosecution as Gaillard, is shown in the assault taking Webb by the hands, dragging him across the room, choking him, and then kicking him in the head after knocking him to the ground.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia initially accused Gaillard of criminal assault. Due to jurisdiction issues, the case was later transferred to the Fulton County District Attorney's Office.
I apologize to that veteran and his family on behalf of VA, McDonough said. "We are completely working with the criminal investigation in Fulton County."
Gaillard attacked Webb, and Webb said he had no idea why. He knocked on Gaillard's office door to let him know he planned to use the restroom, and he told WSB-TV that he was at the VA to get instructions for an upcoming hernia operation.
Gaillard can be seen pointing his finger in Webb's direction in the footage, to which Webb responds by smacking Gaillard's finger.
"Man, I'll go upside your head, he said. The last thing I recall saying was, "No, you won't," "To the station, Webb spoke. "I'm still attempting to understand why he struck me."