CALIFORNIA—Surveillance footage released by the Pleasant Hill Police Department on January 28, displays a man being pushed over in his wheelchair. On January 11, Philip Kinstler, 52, who has been wheelchair-bound for over 30 years, pulled into a Target parking lot on Contra Costa Boulevard in Pleasant Hill in a hand-controlled van.
He later told authorities he noticed a black van parked in a handicapped parking space without a visible disabled parking permit and asked the woman sitting inside to move.
The woman’s husband, Jimmie Tiger, 32, of San Ramona, found Kinstler inside the Target. He asked Kinstler to come outside and apologize to his girlfriend, Kinstler told police. He was at the front of the line at the guest services counter returning a shirt and refused to leave, saying he told Tiger they could talk after he was finished in line. Video footage shows Tiger taking Kinstler’s wheelchair as he tries to hold the wheels still, then pushing it away from the front of the line, getting stuck on a structure a few yards away, which Kistler held onto, and tipping over the wheelchair.
Witnesses were able to recite a partial license plate number for the car parked in the handicapped parking spot for police once they arrived. Tiger was arrested on January 19 following an investigation by Pleasant Hill Police detectives and a review of the case by the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office. He was charged with felony assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury, and attempted kidnapping for wheeling Kinstler away a short distance. He had a preliminary hearing on January 21.
Kistler, who was already paralyzed from the chest down, went to the hospital with a broken wrist after the fall and later required aid of a nurse at home for daily life. He recovered in his East Bay home.
A spokesperson for the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office told NBC that Tiger pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released on a $180,000 bail.