JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A day after a Jacksonville amputee told News4Jax he was banned from a Jacksonville Walmart, an attorney said he’s investigating whether the man’s rights were violated.
Carlos Mattei, a man who lost his leg in a 2015 crash, said he got into a disagreement with a security guard at a Walmart on 103rd Street. Mattei said the security guard told him he wasn’t eligible to park in the spot.
“She said she was going to call the police because I was using handicapped parking with a fake tag,” Mattei said.
News4Jax verified with the city that it was a valid tag. Mattei was given a warning from an officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and told he would be arrested if he returned to the Walmart.
Brent Latour is the attorney who represented Mattei after the crash in 2015. He’s investigating what happened outside the Walmart.
“Our disabled people deserve to be treated with respect, and at the very basic level, I think the security personnel at the Walmart failed to treat Mr. Mattei with respect,” Latour said.
Mattei said he contacted Jacksonville’s disabilities coordinator, but said he’s gotten no acceptable response from Walmart. News4Jax has learned that Mattei was first approached because he was idling in the fire lane, which is not authorized.
News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said as the story stands, it appears the security guard and officer mishandled the situation.
Vic Micolucci: “Does the officer have discretion to say, ‘I don’t want to issue a trespass warning?’”
“If he approached management as opposed to just a security officer, I’m pretty sure the manager being customer-oriented would agree, OK, we had a disagreement. Let’s allow this person to shop here,” Jefferson responded.
News4Jax has requested comment from Walmart’s corporate office, Brosnan Security and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. Requests were not returned as of Wednesday evening.