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Fla. medic arrested, accused of punching elderly patient in head

Polk County Fire Rescue members had restrained the 67-year-old disabled patient on a gurney when Matthew Mullins struck him, police say


Photo/Polk County Fire Rescue

By Leila Merrill

BARTOW, Fla. — Paramedic Matthew Mullins was arrested Tuesday on a charge of felony battery. Police say he punched a handicapped patient in the head for being uncooperative.

The Bartow officers responded to a call for assistance by Polk County Fire Rescue. When they arrived on the scene, the officers found EMS providers treating a 67-year-old physically handicapped patient with Parkinson’s Disease. The providers said the patient needed to be transported to a hospital.

As the patient continued to be uncooperative, four people put him on a gurney and restrained him. Officers say that is when Mullins had a knee on the patient’s chest and punched his forehead.

They said that he said something like, “‘I’m from Combee. We don’t play that.’”

Officers ordered Mullins to remove himself.

The patient was transported, and investigators said that the patient did not sustain injuries from Mullins’ actions.

Police and fire department members have said that the restraint method was in excess. Detectives found that Mullins’ actions were “not in self-defense or medically necessary.” They said the victim was not physically threatening anyone when he was punched.

After a warrant for Mullins’ arrest was issued Friday, he turned himself in on Tuesday.