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November 05, 2012

Disabled ex-Ranger says FBI discriminated

A #disabled ex-Army Ranger who sought an #FBI position as a special agent will now get his chance to make his case before a new court.

At the least, this is a story of courage and will. Whether it's also a story of discrimination will be up to the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia to decide. On Sunday, a D.C.-based judge transferred Slaby's case to Virginia, rejecting the FBI's bid to toss the discrimination claim altogether.

Slaby served in both Afghanistan and Iraq with Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion of the famed 75th Ranger Regiment. In the summer of 2004, according to his suit, a defective flash bang stun grenade prematurely detonated in his left hand. What remained had to be amputated, and since then he has used a prosthesis.

Slaby says he “had always dreamed of becoming an FBI agent,” and, after leaving the Army in 2005, he worked full-time, went to college at night, and trained so that he would be “capable of performing the job” of FBI Special Agent. He started training in January 2011.

As recounted by U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell:

Slaby says he developed a technique to shoot five rounds with his left-hand prosthetic, but the FBI told him it did not approve of his method. He says he was proficient at shooting with his right hand, but says the FBI told him he was being dropped because he supposedly could not perform an essential function of the job of a special agent. Slaby says his dismissal, as well as his overall treatment by FBI instructors, violated the Rehabilitation Act.

"Instead of welcoming a veteran whose injury occurred because a grenade detonated prematurely, the FBI instructors at the academy in Quantico responded to his presence with incredible hostility and abject disrespect," Slaby's attorney David R. Cashdan wrote in the initial complaint. "One scoffed at him, commenting to his classmates 'What’s next, guys in wheelchairs?'"

 

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reason1984

The attitude of the FBI is anything but surprising.

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mike

"Suits & Sentences" is a legal affairs blog written by Michael Doyle, a reporter for McClatchy's Washington Bureau. He was a Knight Journalism Fellow at Yale Law School, where he earned a Master of Studies in Law; he also earned a Masters in Government from The Johns Hopkins University with a thesis on the Freedom of Information Act. He teaches journalism as an adjunct instructor at The George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs.

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