Mercyhurst University hockey player Carson Briere was caught on camera pushing the wheelchair of a disabled student down the stairs of a Pennsylvania bar.
On March 11th, the 23-year-old student-athlete was seen alongside a fellow student-athlete identified as Patrick Carrozzi pushing the wheelchair of Sydney Benes down the stairs of a local bar. After breaking the chair, Briere was charged with three misdemeanors: criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, and conspiracy to commit criminal mischief.
Local law enforcement also said he was “creating a hazardous condition by blocking the staircase” and putting other bar patrons in danger.
Briere and Carrozzi were both placed on inter-suspension from their athletic teams, and the University responded to the incident with the sentiments, “the actions displayed in the video make our hearts heavy and fall short of our Mercy belief in the inherent dignity of each person. We pray for and are in solidarity with the victim and all persons with disabilities who rightfully find actions like this to be deeply offensive.”
Surveillance footage of the incident was shared on Twitter and has since been seen by over 40 million people. Following the video going viral, the student issued an apology for his actions. “I am deeply sorry for my behavior on Saturday,” Briere said, according to PEOPLE Magazine. “There is no excuse for my actions, and I will do whatever I can to make up for this serious lack of judgment.”
The hockey player’s father, who is the interim general manager of the Philadelphia Flyers, also issued an apology. “I was shocked to see Carson’s actions in the video shared on social media yesterday,” Danny Briere expressed. “They are inexcusable and run completely counter to our family’s values on treating people with respect. Carson is very sorry and accepts full responsibility for his behavior.”
Sydney Benes responds to Carson Briere’s shocking actions
Benes also came forward on social media after a GoFundMe was started to cover the cost of replacing her wheelchair. Speaking with news outlets, she explained that her wheelchair was left at the top of the staircase while a patron carried her to the bathroom. When she noticed her wheelchair at the bottom of the stairs broken, she said she was shocked.
“My chair is the way I get around. It’s my legs,” Bones told Yahoo! News. “I was hoping it was just an accident and that somebody maybe drunkenly bumped it or something.”
“We’re people, too,” she added. “We deserve to be treated with respect. And our things deserve to be treated with just as much respect.”
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