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ONLY ON 3: Deputy under investigation after blocking handicapped parking space

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Add the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office to the list of local law enforcement agencies in the spotlight because of an officer's alleged bad behavior.

The actions of one deputy may have given the entire department a black eye. A disabled WWAY viewer claims a New Hanover County Sheriff's deputy intentionally blocked his handicapped spot in the parking lot of a Wilmington business.

The viewer, who wishes to remain anonymous, says he was heading to his daily workout at Planet Fitness on N. Kerr Ave. Tuesday. When he went to pull into a handicapped parking spot, he says a New Hanover County Sheriff's deputy cut him off and parked in a no-parking zone right next to the space, which kept him from being able to use it.

He later confronted the man inside the gym.

"I approached this individual and said, 'Do you realize that you're parked illegally?' And this individual's reply was that he was a cop," the man said. "I think that police should be of higher moral fabric than that."

The man is legally handicapped after having his leg severed and reattached following an automobile accident. He is not supposed to walk more than 300 feet at a time, though he admits he tries to avoid the handicapped parking spot.

He claims the issue here is not with the spot, but what else the officer could be getting away with.

"If this officer will take a handicapped stall and abuse his power in that manner, what other liberties might he be taking?" he said.

WWAY contacted the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office, which says actions like this won't be tolerated.

"The sheriff has been made aware of it, and he is very concerned about it and has asked for an internal investigation into the situation," Sheriff's Office spokesman Cpl. Jason Augst said.

The Sheriff's Office has not yet identified the deputy involved citing personnel issues.

The victim says he is hopeful the officer will be disciplined for his actions, and that at the minimum he should have to face a fine.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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