Uni student's 'disturbing' act with wheelchair during night out
The disabled student who owned the chair was using the bathroom at the time of the incident.
A university student is facing intense backlash after video was released of him pushing a disabled student’s wheelchair down a flight of stairs.
The shocking incident occurred at a bar on Saturday night and the video shows 23-year-old Carson Briere sitting in the empty wheelchair briefly before standing up and allegedly pushing it down the stairs. He watches as it tumbles towards the bottom before retreating towards the crowd.
Briere is part of the hockey team at Mercyhurst University in the US state of Pennsylvania, while his father is former professional ice hockey player Daniel Briere.
The video sparked outrage after it was posted to Twitter by a woman named Julia Zukowski, who says she knows the victim personally.
“I usually don’t post anything serious on my Twitter but something happened Saturday night and just can’t stomach the thought of this kid getting away with it,” she wrote.
“The chair was left on top of the stairs because she [the victim] physically had to be carried down to use the restrooms. Which are only located downstairs.”
She added the victim wants to remain anonymous “until they can take legal action”.
Another person who claims to know the victim described her as the "nicest person I know".
Carson Briere apologises for 'lack of judgement'
Briere and his father both issued statements following the release of the video.
Carson had previously been dismissed from his hockey team at Arizona State University in 2019 for “too much partying”, according to an interview he did with College Hockey News in 2021.
"I am deeply sorry for my behaviour on Saturday," he said. "There is no excuse for my actions, and I will do whatever I can to make up for this serious lack of judgment.”
Briere’s dad, who was named the interim general manager of the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team just one day before his son’s incident, said the video left him “shocked”.
"I was shocked to see Carson's actions in the video that was shared on social media yesterday," he said.
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"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 behaviour."
While there have been calls for Mercyhurst University to expel Briere, they instead confirmed their office of student conduct was investigating.
A statement from Mercyhurst University. pic.twitter.com/QNhwcMYVfM
— Mercyhurst University (@MercyhurstU) March 15, 2023
“The actions displayed in the video make our hearts heavy and fall short of our Mercy belief in the inherent dignity of each person,” the statement read.
"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," the statement said.
"Our Mercy tradition also reminds us that students and all people who make poor choices deserve opportunities to learn, change behaviours, and atone for harmful actions."
The Erie Police Department is also investigating.
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