Soldier fights back against panhandling accusation by police - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Soldier fights back against panhandling accusation by police

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A wounded soldier is fighting back after Louisville, Kentucky police officers harassed him and used excessive force against him.

Their reason: they thought he was panhandling because of the clothes he was wearing.

Lieutenant Colonel Donald Blake Settle has served six tours overseas with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan, Iraq and Jordan.

He's earned two bronze stars and a purple heart.

But, during his combat, he suffered physical injuries including a traumatic brain injury which affects his short term memory.

"Every day is kind of like a new challenge, said Lt. Colonel Settle.

Flash back to January.

Settle says he was at a mall running an errand for his wife when he says an officer asked him to leave the mall.

"I said 'have I done something wrong?' He said 'well, there's no panhandling in here," Settle reports.

Settle says he was wearing a sweatshirt and Wounded Warrior sweat pants with an arm cast and some drywall dust.

"He said 'you need to get your hands up out of your pockets up in the air where I can see them.' When I looked back, he had his taser up in my face."

Settle says five or six officers then forced him down to the ground and used excessive force against him.

He says the officers asked him all sorts of questions, but he had trouble answering because of his brain injury.

He says he tried to explain to them he was a Ft. Knox soldier.

"It's probably the greatest challenge that I'm going through right now," Settle said.

Attorney Thomas Clay says Settle filed a complaint with the department, but enough wasn't done, and now they are considering filing a lawsuit.

"It did strike a chord with me. I think people who have been placed in harm's way by the military deserve special treatment. They certainly don't deserve to be treated like pan handlers."

"The first thing is accountability. Accountability with people's actions," said Clay.

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