Man Thrown From Wheelchair After Asking Woman Not To Use Accessible Space

by Valerie Williams
Pleasant Hill Police Dept

A man in a wheelchair asked an able-bodied woman not to park in an accessible space and her boyfriend attacked him

A Pleasant Hill, California Target store was the scene of a disturbing encounter between a wheelchair user and a couple who seem to think they’re entitled to use parking spaces meant for those who need accessibility. A man who uses a wheelchair nicely told a woman in an SUV that she shouldn’t park illegally in an accessible spot — and her boyfriend decided to follow him into Target and escalate the situation to violence.

According to The Washington Post, on January 11, Philip Kinstler rode into the Target parking lot behind the wheel of his hand-controlled van. He spotted a black SUV illegally parked in an accessible spot and decided to say something.

Kinstler used his metal ramp to get out of his van and approached the woman sitting inside the SUV. He tells The Washington Post, “I thought I would ask her kindly if they could not park there again, in a handicapped spot.”

Frankly, a reasonable request for someone thoughtlessly taking up an accessible space they don’t appear to need. Apparently, her partner didn’t think so. After Kinstler entered the Target store to return a shirt, he was approached by Jimmie Tiger, the woman’s boyfriend. The attack was caught on the store’s surveillance video — and it’s not easy to watch.

Target employees and customers watch as a verbal altercation, where Kinstler refused to leave the store, turned into a physical one. “Mr. Tiger demanded the victim go back out to the parking lot and apologize to his wife regarding the parking disagreement,” the police report read (Kinstler says the woman was Tiger’s girlfriend). Kinstler states that Tiger told him, “You scared my girlfriend,” over and over.

Kinstler told his attacker that they could talk once he finished making his return, and that only seemed to make Tiger’s temper worse. Eventually, according to police, Tiger “attempted to forcibly wheel the victim out of the store against his will,” as he “violently lifted the victim’s wheelchair from the side.”

“I went out of the chair like I was in a car accident,” Kinstler recounts. “I fell like a rag doll on top of my wrist.”

The attack left Kinstler with a broken wrist, which is now greatly affecting his ability to live independently. He’s paralyzed from mid-chest down and his arms are how he moves himself from his wheelchair to his bed without anyone else’s help, and how he moves his wheelchair. Now, he’s confined to his bed from 6pm until the next morning when a nurse comes to help him. “I was in shock,” he said. “I looked down at my wrist, and it was all askew, and then the pain hit and I thought, my life is over.”

“If someone had hired him to do this to me, he could not have done a better job,” Kinstler said.

Tiger was charged with felony assault “by means likely to produce great bodily injury” and attempted kidnapping, but was released on $180,000 bail.