PHOENIX – A blind man is pleading for the charges against him to be dropped after, what he calls, an honest misunderstanding.
Marco Zepeda says on Friday he was trying to find an open urinal in the QuikTrip restroom at 83rd Avenue and McDowell Road.
“I didn’t hear anybody coming out,” he said, adding he was snapping his finger and skimming his hand against the wall to navigate due to his blindness.
As he was approaching a urinal, “I heard somebody screaming to me and turn around really quick and push me,” he said.
That “somebody” was a uniformed Phoenix police officer but Zepeda said he didn’t realize that because the officer didn’t identify himself. Due to his condition, he said he is pushed around or sworn at while in public on almost a daily basis.
“I go, ok, no, no — this is not going to happen to me,” he said, admitting he pushed back at the officer.
After feeling the radio on the man’s uniform, Zepeda said he let up and was taken to the ground.
“I said a couple times to him, ‘I’m blind, please, leave me alone — I didn’t know you were a [police officer],” he said, telling ABC15 a conformer device in his right eye socket fell onto the bathroom floor during the encounter.
“He saw that thing on the floor,” Zepeda said. “I turn around to him and I go, look at my eyes, I’m blind, I didn’t know you were a [police officer] and, even that, he didn’t care.”
A Phoenix police spokesperson confirmed the arrest to ABC15 and said the officer suffered minor injuries to their face. Zepeda was uninjured and spent the night in jail. He’s hired an attorney and plans to fight the charges in court.