Man turned away from jail because of wheelchair to face judge

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A suspect in a violent crime who was allowed back on the streets after a jail refused to take him because he was in a wheelchair will face a judge Tuesday.

Officials said 28-year-old Travis Thompson was booked into jail Saturday night.

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Channel 9 learned that when police brought the attempted robbery suspect to jail, they were told the jail couldn't take him, so he was released. Two weeks later, the same man was caught on camera stealing from Home Depot.

On June 17, Thompson was shot by a security guard after police said he tried to rob a video arcade on the Plaza.

After Thompson was released from a hospital, he was charged with conspiracy and attempted robbery but when officers tried to book him into jail June 22, sources said they were told the jail couldn't accommodate an inmate in a wheelchair.

So officers tried again the next day and were turned away.

With no other options, they were forced to let Thompson go free without serving their warrants for the arcade robbery.

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Last week, officers said Thompson, in his wheelchair, was caught stealing from a Home Depot in Ballantyne -- something that obviously couldn't have happened had he been in jail.

"It really is disturbing to me that they wouldn't take an individual with such violent charges into the intake center," said Marcus Philemon with Courtwatch.

Philemon told Channel 9's veteran crime reporter Mark Becker that the jail is far from full and there's no excuse for turning away an armed robbery suspect.

"There's no way, shape or form they should've turned him away. None whatsover. Somebody needs to answer to that," Philemon said.

Channel 9 asked the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office for a statement about why they would let a suspect out of jail.

The Sheriff's Office did not respond to our questions but instead gave the following response from their medical contractor:

"Wellpath provides medical care according to all applicable laws and standards. Due to HIPAA, we are unable to discuss specific patient care."

Check back with wsoctv.com for updates.