File this under Public Service Announcement.
Some people may think the story here is the unlawful and dangerous risks Mr. Palmer took acting out on behalf of his wife, but it is the story within the story that is really important. It is key not to miss this point; Walmart gave his wife Fibromyalgia!
A Linden man is under arrest after he climbed up into the rafters at Wal-Mart in Dunn and allegedly caused a public disturbance.
William Arthur Palmer, 46, of McBryde Street was charged with injury to real property and disorderly conduct.
“He was climbing around in the rafters cutting down Wal-Mart signs, and shouting profanities at the officers and people who worked there,” Dunn Police Chief B.P. Jones said.
According to the arrest report, police were called to the store about 11 p.m. Saturday where they found an “extremely irritated” Mr. Palmer in the rafters over the paint area of the store, cursing officers at the scene, Wal-Mart employees and the “entity Wal-Mart.” The store was reportedly evacuated in the name of public safety.
The report said police witnessed Mr. Palmer cut down at least two signs above that department and store employees said he had already cut down several signs in the Garden Center. Damage to six of the store’s signs was estimated at $3,000.
To accomplish the task, Mr. Palmer apparently used a pair of cutting pliers and snips he removed from packaging at the store before beginning his climb.
“William Palmer advised that it was humorous in his opinion to use Wal-Mart’s tools to cut down Wal-Mart signs,” Dunn Police Officer James Brannan wrote in the report.
Mr. Palmer said he was upset with the store because they had refused to remove hanging signs after a similar sign fell on his wife in the grocery section of the store in August 2005, landing squarely on her head and back.
Since then, Mr. Palmer said, his wife has been in near constant pain and was diagnosed with myofascial pain syndrome and fibromyalgia, chronic pain syndromes associated with muscle, tendon and ligament trauma.
“She was hurting really bad Friday and Saturday and it just got to the point where I just flipped,” Mr. Palmer said. “It just made me feel better. It was like therapy.”
Mr. Palmer said he and his wife filed a lawsuit against Wal-Mart last year. The case is currently awaiting arbitration, he said.
“The safety of our customers is always a top priority, and that includes making sure signs in our stores are properly secured,” Wal-Mart Media Relations Manager Michelle Bradford said. “We’re cooperating fully with the Dunn, N.C., Police Department in their investigation of what happened Saturday night. We’re grateful that no one was hurt.”
According to the arrest report, Mr. Palmer finally climbed down from the rafters after about 45 minutes at the request of Erwin Police Officer Bill Morris.
Mr. Palmer said even though he “flipped,” his primary thought during his actions was to act in the public interest.
“I think they should at least let people know they need to wear hard hats in there, or post a sign that says, “Watch out for falling objects. Enter at your own risk,'” Mr. Palmer said. “I just felt like I was doing the community a service by taking them (the signs) down.”
Mr. Palmer was released on a $1,000 bond with a court date set in Dunn District Court for March 11.
Have you ever stubbed your toe on something and became so angered by the pain that you turned around and kicked the very thing you stubbed your toe on? And didn’t you feel better after you kicked it? Even though it was probably not the safest and smartest thing you could have done in the moment? Well that is exactly what Mr. Palmer did. If my husband or I had one place, one entity to direct all of our anger and frustration I am not sure there haven’t been times over the years that we wouldn’t have done something similar. This story demonstrates so clearly the emotional impact of living with a chronic illness, not just to the person suffering with it, but also to the people who love them.
I LOVED this story! Bravo Mr. Palmer. I am so sorry that your wife is suffering so greatly. Her pain is tragic in that it was brought on in such a random and possibly avoidable way. I hope you get a HUGE settlement in arbitration so she will have the funds available to seek whatever treatment will help alleviate her symptoms and bring you both some much needed happiness and peace of mind. Although you already “kicked that table” pretty hard, and from your statements, it sounds like it was the exact therapy you needed! Bravo!