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Eye doctor sees double standard; Optometrist allegedly assaulted by homeless man voices disappointment

Dr. Kenneth Leadingham wears his broken pair of eyeglasses to show the impact from the homeless man that allegedly assaulted him Monday after he confronted the man for urinating on his building. According to Leadingham, after he was hit by the man, he “took him down.” (Trevier Gonzalez Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Bruised, scraped and now with a broken pair of eyeglasses, an optometrist in downtown Roswell who confronted a homeless man for allegedly urinating on his office building is expressing frustration toward the city.

Dr. Kenneth Leadingham of Leadingham Vision Center said it was at the corner of 11th Street and North Virginia Avenue where he was assaulted Monday.

“I said, ‘Stop, the police are on the way – just stop,’” Leadingham told the Daily Record Monday. “He turned around, popped me right in the head and said, ‘They’re not doing anything anyway.’ He walked down to Spring River and turned, and went the other way.”

While police reports are not available until the day following occurrences, the Roswell Police Department’s public information officer, Todd Wildermuth, said it was about 1:30 p.m. when officers received a call from the optometrist.

“The doctor said that he confronted him, they got into an altercation, and the guy hit him,” Wildermuth said. “The guy hit the doctor, and then ran away.”

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Leadingham said the homeless man had urinated on the vision center’s building in front of the business’s employees.

“We tried to stop him, called the police – the police did not respond,” Leadingham said. “They said they needed more information. We called them three times – they still needed more information.

“All the employees that I have are women, and he’s out here peeing. If they can’t arrest one man for urinating on a public building, is there a problem in downtown Roswell?”

Wildermuth said he believes there were multiple calls in reference to the incident. However, many of the calls received were brief and didn’t supply much information for the dispatcher to work with, he said.

By 2:40 p.m. Monday, about an hour later, the RPD approached the scene.

“The officer arrived and looked in different areas that people thought they may have seen the guy run to,” Wildermuth said. “He had already looked into several other areas, so he couldn’t have been delayed too much.”

Leadingham told the Daily Record he had filed charges against the homeless man.

“He assaulted me,” Leadingham said. “Hit me in the hand, broke my glasses, hit me in the face and knocked me down. Here I was bleeding all over my hand, my glasses all bent up.”

Leadingham said the officer that arrived told him that he did not observe any injuries.

“I said, ‘Pardon me, I can’t even see you,’” Leadingham said he told the officer, gesturing toward his pair of broken glasses.

Leadingham said when another officer had arrived, thinking they wouldn’t be able to help, he just told them to leave.

“The last cop, I just told him,” he said. “I thought we had really raised our level, and I’ve never seen police act like this. They have no concern – I don’t know why – I really don’t.

“Citizens are out of rights – everybody has rights … Why can’t I stop somebody from peeing on my building?”

Leadingham said the vision center at 1100 N. Main St. has experienced “a lot” of vandalism.

In April 2016, Leadingham Vision Center threatened to close its doors due to the mischief from an individual, who reportedly repeatedly defecated on the business’s employee entrance.

Leadingham said the repeated acts of vandalism in 2016 and this year have been committed by the same person. He said the homeless man had been sleeping in the bushes next to his building for several years.

Police advised Leadingham in the spring of 2016 to install security cameras and lights.

Leadinghom said after both cameras and lights were installed, they were later torn down.

A month later in 2016, a larceny report was filed in reference to a stolen camera from the clinic.

Leadingham said he’s reluctant to provide police footage of Monday’s incident due to previous incidents.

Leadingham went on further to criticize the mayor.

“Police say it’s my fault, Kintigh says police are right,” Leadingham said. “I’ve never seen a mayor so dead-set in backing his police force when his police force is doing next to nothing to help the business community. I mean – it’s downtown Roswell.

“You want to hear a complaint? Talk to Tabernacle, talk to Arby’s – talk to anybody around here.”

The optometrist described the homelessness issue in Roswell as “rampant.”

“They eat in the river, they sleep in the river, they eat out of Arby’s and Wendy’s trashcans, panhandle for money, go to brewers, get them a fifth, get drunk, sleep all over here … and that’s what we wake up to every morning,” he said. “That’s downtown Roswell. If I can get away from here, I will.”

Leadingham said he still supports the idea of setting up a tent city for the city’s homeless, just as long as it’s able to receive proper care – and no bodily fluids are to be released near his property.

Multimedia-Crime reporter Trevier Gonzalez can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

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