A disabled Marine vet was arrested for using a handicapped parking space. He sued the US government and won

news

A disabled U.S. Marines veteran has received a $250,000 settlement from the U.S. government after a national park park ranger allegedly used excessive force to arrest him over the use of a handicapped parking space.


Dominic Esquibel of San Diego sued the Department of Interior and the National Park Service, among others, for assault, false arrest and false imprisonment over the 2012 incident at Sequoia National Park east of Fresno, California. The civil rights case was scheduled to go to trial last week in U.S. District Court but was recently settled.

Esquibel, who received the Navy Cross for heroism during Operation Iraqi Freedom, was satisfied with the settlement, said his Fresno attorney, Nicholas "Butch" Wagner.

"He feels vindicated," Wagner said. "And he is glad this is over."

Wagner said Esquibel, who sustained major injuries to his right leg and arm during the war, did not want the arrest on his record and was determined to clear his name. Wagner said Esquibel was also injured during the arrest by the park ranger and it may have contributed additional damage to his war-related injuries.

"He was having trouble sleeping and his condition was getting worse," Wagner said.

Esquibel's troubles began Dec. 22, 2012, when he and his family were visiting Sequoia National Park. As they entered the gate, a park employee (not named in court papers) asked him to wait at the entrance until traffic thinned out.

Esquibel parked in a nearby handicap space so he could use the restroom while the line of traffic went down. He placed his handicap placard on his rear-view mirror and began walking from his vehicle when the park employee at the entrance booth yelled at him: "You can't park there."

When he said he was disabled, the park employee replied: "I can see that you're not," the lawsuit states. The park employee called a park ranger, who arrived a short time later and began questioning Esquibel.

Court records show that the park employee later admitted to trying to stop Esquibel because she wanted to save the parking space for a co-worker who was coming to replace her at the end of her shift.

The ranger demanded that Esquibel show him a handicapped driver's license. Esquibel told the ranger he did not have or need one to drive his vehicle because he did not have any adaptive equipment. He offered to show the ranger the paperwork for the handicap placard, but the ranger was unwilling to listen, the lawsuit says. The ranger forcibly arrested Esquibel for failing to follow a lawful order, the lawsuit says.

The charges were dropped in 2014.

———

©2019 The Fresno Bee (Fresno, Calif.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

SEE ALSO: A US Marine Veteran Built A Massive Cocaine Pipeline As A Mexican Drug Kingpin, Prosecutors Say

Sgt. Dominic Esquibel stands to be recognized for his service at the 32nd Annual Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation West Coast Campaign Celebratory Gala, at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Dana Point, Calif., Oct. 25, 2014. (U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Garrett White)

On Nov, 10, 2004, Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia knew that he stood a good chance of dying as he tried to save his squad.

Bellavia survived the intense enemy fire and went on to single-handedly kill five insurgents as he cleared a three-story house in Fallujah during the iconic battle for the city. For his bravery that day, President Trump will present Bellavia with the Medal of Honor on Tuesday, making him the first living Iraq war veteran to receive the award.

In an interview with Task & Purpose, Bellavia recalled that the house where he fought insurgents was dark and filled with putrid water that flowed from broken pipes. The battle itself was an assault on his senses: The stench from the water, the darkness inside the home, and the sounds of footsteps that seemed to envelope him.

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Army/Pvt. Stephen Peters)

With the Imperial Japanese Army hot on his heels, Oscar Leonard says he barely slipped away from getting caught in the grueling Bataan Death March in 1942 by jumping into a choppy bay in the dark of the night, clinging to a log and paddling to the Allied-fortified island of Corregidor.

After many weeks of fighting there and at Mindanao, he was finally captured by the Japanese and spent the next several years languishing under brutal conditions in Filipino and Japanese World War II POW camps.

Now, having just turned 100 years old, the Antioch resident has been recognized for his 42-month ordeal as a prisoner of war, thanks to the efforts of his friends at the Brentwood VFW Post #10789 and Congressman Jerry McNerney.

McNerney, Brentwood VFW Commander Steve Todd and Junior Vice Commander John Bradley helped obtain a POW award after doing research and requesting records to surprise Leonard during a birthday party last month.

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Marine Corps/Staff Sgt. Andrew Ochoa)

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Hundreds of Marines will join their British counterparts at a massive urban training center this summer that will test the leathernecks' ability to fight a tech-savvy enemy in a crowded city filled with innocent civilians.

The North Carolina-based Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, will test drones, robots and other high-tech equipment at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville, Indiana, in August.

They'll spend weeks weaving through underground tunnels and simulating fires in a mock packed downtown city center. They'll also face off against their peers, who will be equipped with off-the-shelf drones and other gadgets the enemy is now easily able to bring to the fight.

It's the start of a four-year effort, known as Project Metropolis, that leaders say will transform the way Marines train for urban battles. The effort is being led by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, based in Quantico, Virginia. It comes after service leaders identified a troubling problem following nearly two decades of war in the Middle East: adversaries have been studying their tactics and weaknesses, and now they know how to exploit them.

Read More Show Less
(Reuters/Carlos Barria)

WASHINGTON/RIYADH (Reuters) - President Donald Trump imposed new U.S. sanctions onIran on Monday following Tehran's downing of an unmanned American drone and said the measures would target Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Trump told reporters he was signing an executive order for the sanctions amid tensions between the United States and Iran that have grown since May, when Washington ordered all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil.

Trump also said the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of the incident over the drone. He said the supreme leaders was ultimately responsible for what Trump called "the hostile conduct of the regime."

"Sanctions imposed through the executive order ... will deny the Supreme Leader and the Supreme Leader's office, and those closely affiliated with him and the office, access to key financial resources and support," Trump said.

Read More Show Less