OAK CREEK (WITI) -- A wounded veteran from Oak Creek, 30-year-old Justin Slaby, has won a discrimination lawsuit against the FBI after being kicked out of the Academy for having a prosthetic hand.
When Slaby returned home from war in 2004, he lost his left hand after a grenade exploded during a training exercise.
"I remember right after I got hurt, the first thing I thought was everything that I am, and ever was, is gone because all the skills that I had, what I thought at the time, depended on having two hands," said Slaby.
The veteran refused to let his injury stop him, got a prosthetic hand, and focused on becoming an FBI agent. Slaby headed to the Training Academy at Quantico and says instructors mocked him, making comments such as "what's next, guys in wheelchairs?"
The FBI eventually released Slaby from the Academy, saying he couldn't fire a gun with a prosthetic hand.
"I mean, a guy with no legs ran in the Olympics this year. I don't know how much more of a wake up call has to be sent before things are changed," said Slaby.
Slaby filed a lawsuit stating he had been discriminated against and unfairly dismissed from his duty. On Wednesday, August 7th a federal jury sided with Slaby, awarding him $75,000 and allowing him back into the Academy.
"It was the right thing to do. I had to fight it," said Slaby. "I just hope it opens the door a little bit -- it makes it easier for some people."
Slaby says he plans to head back to the Academy to become a special agent. He hopes the FBI will adopt policies on how to better accommodate future disabled trainees.
"The bottom line is that it's much bigger than me and the bureau and our dispute. It's about, literally, fair treatment for people," said Slaby.
Milwaukee's former FBI Chief Theresa Carlson was accused of trying to convince a witness to lie under oath in this case. The Office of the Inspector General won't confirm or deny the accusations, but statements made in open court suggest she's being looked at for criminal misconduct.