MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A huge fight that broke out in front of a liquor store between customers, store employees and a man in a wheelchair is receiving plenty of attention on social media.
The fight happened outside of Buster’s Liquor and Wines on New Year’s Eve on South Highland Street.
In the video you can see a man in a wheelchair sitting behind a car that’s parked in a handicap spot. According to a Memphis police report, Steven Collins wanted to advocate for people with disabilities.
He wanted to know why a group of women parked in a handicap spot and followed them into the store.
Collins then decided to sit behind the parked car and wait until police arrived.
In the video you can hear the driver and two other women asking Collins to move and cursing. Employees at Buster’s came out of the store to convince him to move as well.
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The driver, Tranece Perkins, said the employees from Buster’s made the situation worse when they grabbed her keys and started pulling boxes out of her car.
In the video you can see her in the white shirt hitting employees outside the store and throwing a basket on the ground. Perkins told FOX13 she didn’t want to hurt the man in the wheelchair.
She explained the car backed up when the man in the wheelchair moved out of the way.
In the video, it appears that he grabbed the car handle and fell out.
Perkins said what upsets her the most is when an employee grabbed her friend, Jakeria Lartdale, and threw her on the ground.
Lartdale was arrested later for disorderly conduct.
FOX13 spoke to the owner of Buster’s, Joshua Hammond, about the incident.
Hammond said his employees were worried the driver was going to run over the man in the wheelchair. He said the employees did the right thing and didn’t mean to hurt anyone.
Hammond said his employees wanted to keep the women at the store until police arrived.
However, both parties are not happy with the outcome of this incident.
Perkins and her two friends believe they are the true victims because they were assaulted.
Hammond said he wants to press more charges against the women because they assaulted his employees.
Buster's released the following statement regarding the incident:
"This is an extremely unfortunate incident involving several customers that included an older male in a motorized-wheelchair and two younger females who parked in a handicap spot.
It is not clear if the ladies had a handicap sticker or not, but it is clear they became very upset with him for asking if they did. They immediately began yelling and cursing at the man just outside the store.
The yelling ensued as all three participants entered our store. At this point, our management asked for all parties to leave. However, the confrontation continued outside where the man ultimately barricaded his wheelchair behind the woman's vehicle preventing them from leaving.
This enraged the female driver who began backing her vehicle into the man and his wheelchair on several attempts for him to move. Our employees tried to maintain the peace by keeping her from assaulting the handicap person which she clearly was doing. Meanwhile, another employee can be seen on video asking the man to please move his wheelchair, but he refused.
Things escalated as the female driver exited the vehicle and ended up physically assaulting three of our employees throughout the entire incident. She first struck one employee in the face with her fist after he briefly confiscated the keys from her vehicle. A second female employee was hit over the head with a shopping-handbasket as others nearby prevented the lady driver from assaulting the handicap man. A third employee had his face scratched up after trying to keep her from entering the vehicle and detain her for the police. This injury is why the same employee pushed her away and to the ground abruptly.
Eventually the ladies left and the cops arrived soon after. Moments later, the ladies returned to explain their side of the story. However, yelling resumed by the ladies and that's when police backup were called. Eventually, sixteen police cars were in the Buster's parking lot on Monday evening responding to this incident. No charges were made but the passenger female was taken into custody for other reasons.
Today, we have been on the phone with Colonel Jolly at Tillman precinct of The Memphis Police Department. A detective has been assigned to the case and charges may be forthcoming after an investigation with all parties involved.
While the handicap man's motives are valiant, we wish there was a better way for him to make his protest. Unfortunately, the ladies involved responded worse with aggression, yelling, cursing, and violence.
Our employees were admirable in trying to maintain the peace. They did not throw any punches and at all times were trying to protect all the parties involved throughout this entire incident until the police arrived. Unfortunately, incidents like this will occur when individuals don't remain civil and resort to aggression and violence.
In the end, we are thankful it did not lead to more serious injuries. We hope all parties involved will take a step back, learn from this, and in the future, will respond to conflict with more civility.
At this point, we will wait for the authorities to investigate and see what further action is warranted."
Cox Media Group