Veterans Affairs employee filmed Vietnam vet slamming body at VA clinic
A Department of Veterans Affairs patient advocate who was recorded on security camera assaulting a veteran patient still has his job.
Video of the meeting, published by WSB-TV, shows Phillip Webb, a 73-year-old Vietnam veteran, suffocated, punched in the body and thrown to the ground at the Department of Veterans Affairs clinic in Fort McPherson. The attack took place on April 28, 2022.
Lawrence F. Gaillard Jr., a patient advocate at the clinic, was arrested that day and charged with felony assault.
In the video, Webb can be seen in a waiting room. After Gaillard points his finger in Webb’s face, he grabs Webb and throws him against a wall, choking him with both hands. He then throws Webb to the ground and kicks him several times in the head before leaving the room.
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The initial charging document from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia notes that Webb was first treated by a doctor at the clinic who observed multiple injuries, including a large bruise on his right eyebrow and a bruise on his his elbow. Webb was then hospitalized for three days with a “brain bleed”, according to WSB-TV.
Webb was at the clinic for an appointment to discuss hernia surgery. He told WSB-TV he didn’t remember much of the attack itself, but the incident began when he knocked on the door to the waiting room to tell Gaillard he was was going to use the toilet.
“It was Mike Tyson who sent me there”, Webb told the news station. “I’m just stunned. I do not know what to say.
Gaillard was later released after posting bail following the initial charge.
The Atlanta VA office confirmed to Task & Purpose that Gaillard remains on the job.
The case has since been assigned to the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office due to jurisdictional issues. This office is now leading the investigation.
Department of Veterans Affairs press secretary Terrence Hays told Task & Purpose, “We are horrified by the video of a VA employee assaulting a veteran in the Atlanta health care system on April 28. This disturbing behavior is contrary to our core values to treat veterans with the dignity and respect they deserve.We take this matter seriously and will cooperate fully with Fulton County law enforcement.
According to the VA, a patient advocate is “a specifically designated employee at each VHA facility to handle feedback received from veterans, family members, and friends. The Patient Advocate works directly with management and employees to facilitate resolutions.
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