Wounded military veteran says parking violation turned into ugly takedown
Jesus Seineke says incident led to him losing job
Last Updated: 82 days ago
SAN DIEGO - A wounded war veteran is outraged after he claims military police beat him when a parking violation went terribly wrong.
Jesus Seineke said a simple parking ticket turned into an ugly incident earlier this year, and when he tried to complain about it, it cost him his job.
Seineke served five years in the Army infantry. During a gunfight in Iraq, he suffered a traumatic brain injury.
He said he thought he left the violence behind when he returned to the U.S., but things turned ugly during a traffic stop at Naval Base San Diego.
In February, Seineke -- diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder -- was at his jobs as an engineer tech for a defense contractor when he stopped by the base to tell a supervisor he needed to go to treatment that day.
"I was feeling depressed and suicidal that day," said Seineke.
Seineke said the parking lot was full and he double-parked. When he returned to the lot, he was met by three Master-at-Arms security officers.
Though told to wait for a ticket, Seineke got into his car and said he would find a parking spot first.
"I just kept my arms firmly in the sky," said Seineke.
Moments later, over a loudspeaker, he was told to exit his car. He said when he didn't allow himself to be cuffed, trying to explain he was trying to get to a doctor, a security officer took a baton to his face, while another pulled back his head and sprayed Mace into his eyes, before he was taken to the ground.
"I didn't understand why it was escalating to his point," said Seineke.
He was arrested, but the charges were dismissed.
Seineke believed the incident could have been avoided if the security officers were better trained to deal with those suffering from PTSD and acted more calmly.
"I just wanted to make sure it wouldn't happen to anyone else," said Seineke.
Seineke, employed through a Wounded Warrior program, said his bosses at Epsilon Systems Solutions encouraged him not file any complaints.
He decided to move ahead with the process, sending an email to a federal investigator and copying his supervisor.
The next day, Seineke said he was locked out of his email.
Two months later, he received a letter saying he was laid off because of budgetary reasons. Seneke said that is untrue, and he has a filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
In a statement, the company said:
"Epsilon Systems is a firm and ardent supporter of our veterans, especially those who have suffered life altering injuries while serving our country. We've helped hundreds of veterans make the difficult transition to the civilian workforce and in fact currently employ dozens of Wounded Warriors. Epsilon Systems treated Mr. Seineke more than fairly during his employment and transition."
"Epsilon is one of the few private sector entities that has a full-time dedicated individual person taking care and coordinating with the wounded, injured veteran population," said Gabriel Castleberry, program manager for the firm's Wounded Warrior program.
The EEOC has been overseeing mediation talks between Epsilon and Seineke.
The Navy disputes the contention that Seineke was hit with a baton. A spokesperson says their security officers are fully trained to deal with veterans with PTSD, adding an internal review of the incident determined reasonable force was used.
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