MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A federal lawsuit filed by a disabled veteran from Oak Creek claims the FBI is discriminating against disabled veterans, and the Milwaukee FBI Chief is caught in the middle of the controversy.
Thirty-year-old Justin Slaby spent three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the summer of 2004, during a training accident, his left hand was destroyed by a grenade.
He left the army soon thereafter, and set his sights on becoming an FBI agent. Court records show the FBI hired him, despite his injury -- and he managed to pass all physical exams with a prosthetic hand.
When Slaby got to Quantico, though, his hopes were dashed. Slaby says instead of being welcomed, he was mocked. Instructors said things like, "What's next, guys in wheelchairs?"
An FBI firearms instructor stuck by Slaby's side and said he was qualified because he could shoot a gun with his dominant hand.
Regardless, Slaby was kicked out of the Academy -- and he filed a federal lawsuit against the government for discrimination. That's when Milwaukee FBI Chief Theresa Carlson allegedly got involved. She's accused of trying to influence testimony in the case.
Slaby's lawyers argue Carlson tried to convince a witness in the case to perjure himself, saying it would be in his best interest to "come down on the side of the government."
Carlson is also accused of saying Slaby would never be an FBI agent because of his disability -- and he should just be happy with the jobs he's already been offered. She warned Slaby was ruining his reputation by bringing a lawsuit against the FBI -- and he would never be allowed back in the Academy.
In a rare move, a federal judge sanctioned the government on Thursday, July 18th -- and called Carlson's conduct "wholly inappropriate."
Lawyers for the government said Carlson was just giving her personal opinion on the case -- not discriminating against Slaby.
A spokesperson for the FBI said Carlson has been reassigned to a temporary duty assignment in Washington, D.C. She is currently being investigated by the Office of the Inspector General for witness tampering and other allegations relating to Slaby's discharge from the FBI Academy.
Slaby's lawyer, Kathy Butler, says the FBI has forbid Slaby from talking to the media.
"There are a lot of servicemen and women returning from these two wars who deserve to be judged for their abilities, not their disabilities," Butler says. She anticipates more information about what Carlson said to potential witnesses will come out at trial.