A New York couple is facing felony charges after beating a disabled, legally blind Salvation Army bell ringer.
Juan Rodriguez, 30, and Audrianna Wignal, 21 have been charged with assault after allegedly beating 41-year-old Jermaine Simmons, who has cerebral palsy and is legally blind in both eyes.
"Because of my disability, I'm not supposed to be able to work, but I'm just doing this so I can gain a lot of experience, you know, get some earnings,” Simmons told WHNS.
The alleged altercation occurred on Dec. 19 when Simmons was on break. He went to a nearby Smashburger in White Plains, New York, and the couple reportedly started arguing with him, thinking that he had jumped ahead in line.
"He got in my face, I got in his face and he just, like, hit me," Simmons told The Journal News. "I could have just put my hands up and back up and been professional."
Regardless of who was at fault, the attack reportedly turned more violent.
“He swung his right hand at me real hard -- so hard that I dropped the bucket,” Simmons said. "I was seeing blood that was coming out of my nose my head and even my eye.”
Rodriguez and Wignal were both arrested at the scene. Both have been jailed due to past criminal records, reports WTVJ. Wignal is on probation for criminal mischief. Rodriguez is on parole for an assault charge and has previously been charged with several violent arrests.
Rodriguez reportedly also attacked Simmons with the Salvation Army kettle.
"He did hit me in the head with the bucket,” Simmons said. “I told him I was pressing charges -- he just laughed and said 'no big thing.'”
Despite his injuries, which include a broken nose and a fractured eye socket, Simmons was back at work on Dec. 22.
“I could have just said, I’m not coming back, I’m a coward, I’m stupid, I’m dumb,” Simmons told WTVJ. “But like I said, it’s a job and it needs to be done. Somebody has to do it."