NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An injury sustained in a violent scuffle inside a Midtown Starbucks could spell the premature end of an NYPD sergeant’s career.
Sgt. Timothy Wall says it all could have been prevented if the coffee chain had just listened to him. He claims he warned them for over a year if they didn’t change their policy when it comes to giving free food to people who are emotionally disturbed, someone was going to get hurt.
He just had no idea it would be him.
Ever since he was a little boy Sgt. Wall had his sights set on the pride and prestige of becoming a police officer.
“My dad’s a cop, my brother’s a cop, it’s something that’s important to our family,” Wall told CBS2’s Jessica Layton.
Continuing to fulfill that dream with the NYPD is in jeopardy now because of an injury he sustained on the job seven-months-ago on the second floor of a Midtown Starbucks.
“I’m 33-years-old and newly married and it might be the end of the career that I love,” Wall said.
On September 28th, 2017, Wall responded to a call for “a disturbed and violent individual” at the popular coffee shop at 39th Street and 8th Avenue. It’s a spot Wall says is notorious for complaints of harassment from disorderly men.
“Assaults at the location, drug use in the bathroom,” he said.
On that particular day it was a 24-year-old homeless man who was making threats, unhappy with the free croissant he had just gotten from employees.
“He said he wanted to kill everyone at the location,” Wall said. “He went to grab the bag stating he was going to kill everyone… We didn’t know what was in the bag, so we couldn’t take the risk.”
While restraining the combative man, Wall says his shoulder popped out of its socket and stayed that way for 45 minutes. He had surgery in February and now goes to physical therapy three times a week.
On top of that, he says he’s in pain every day.
“I tore my labrum and I have seven anchors in my right shoulder,” Wall said.
Now, the 10-year veteran is suing Starbucks. He says for more than a year he repeatedly warned managers that handing out free food and drinks to emotionally disturbed people in the store could be dangerous.
He says he even offered to help set up a different method for helping the hungry.
“I just feel like it was their negligence that led to me getting hurt,” Wall said.
In papers filed in court, Starbucks blamed the injuries on “culpable conduct” and “assumption of risk.” In a statement they told CBS2, “No free food was provided nor precipitated this incident.”
The young sergeant says he was called to the Midtown shop too many times to know that simply isn’t the case. Now, he fears he’s facing retirement at 33-years-old.
Starbucks does have a security guard inside the location, but there was one here the day Wall was assaulted. He says the guard didn’t do much other than point to the problem.
Wall is currently on restricted duty behind a desk and figures he’ll be placed on disability in the coming months. As for the 24-year-old homeless man, he was arrested for assault that day but wasn’t in custody long. He was arrested again recently in connection to a string of burglaries.
The NYPD picked him up inside, of all places, a Starbucks.