Published November 03, 2012
A Marine was arrested after he allegedly attacked a paralyzed Army veteran he thought was wearing the uniform and using the wheelchair as a Halloween costume, Ocala.com reported.
Dan Priotti, 35, a wheelchair-bound Army veteran, was hit twice in the head at a Gainesville, Fla., restaurant on Halloween while he was ordering food, News4jax.com reported. He said he was approached by another man who began yelling, indicating that he was faking the injury.
"He swung, slapped me, and I backed up and he missed," he told the station. "And he came at me like this, and put me right back, and I whacked my head on the concrete floor. I remember just seeing a guy in a pink tutu. I don't remember saying anything to him. I literally lost 10 minutes."
The suspect was identified by police as Christopher Dabney, a Marine veteran police said took offense at Priotti’s outfit. Dabney, 22, reportedly refused to make any statements about the incident.
Alejandro Lemoine said Dabney walked away before being stopped by patrons in the restaurant, Ocala.com reported.
"As he was leaving I stopped him and said, 'Man, you have to own up to this. You just hit a handicapped person twice. You made him fall over,'" Lemoine reportedly said.
He went on, "He was out cold. He was not responsive for at least 10 seconds. His eyes were wide open, staring at the ceiling out cold. It was really sad. I couldn't fall asleep. I felt anger."
Priotti told News4jax.com that he is recovering and does not want Dabney to go to jail.
"They should make a mockery out of him, put him in his pink tutu and put him up and down University Avenue and 13th Street, right in front of the school, with a sign that says, 'I beat up people in wheelchairs, veterans in wheelchairs,' something like that," Priotti told the station.
Dabney, meanwhile, was reportedly charged with abuse of a disabled adult without great harm.