Wounded Marine vet claims poor treatment at national park could cost him a limb


A Marine veteran who earned the Navy Cross for actions in Iraq but later refused it, filed a complaint with the federal government alleging treatment by a ranger at a national park in California could result in the loss of his leg, which was damaged when he stepped on an IED.

Dominic Esquibel, who served with 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, was awarded the nation’s second highest valor award for braving enemy machine gunfire three times to save two fellow Marines during Operation Phantom Fury. Esquibel declined the Navy Cross. 

Seven years later, he stepped on an explosive device in Afghanistan, which tore off part of his ankle and heel, KFSN reported. He now uses an exoskeleton-type brace to walk, which he was wearing during a 2012 visit to  Kings Canyon National Park in California, his attorney told KFSN.

Despite the brace, the park ranger allegedly didn’t believe the Marine was handicapped, according to the report. After he pulled into a handicapped parking spot and displayed his handicapped marker, he was questioned by a ranger.

According to a complaint Esquibel filed with the federal government, a park ranger handcuffed him and kicked his injured leg, KFSN reported. He was held in nearby Fresno, and charges against him were later dropped. 

His leg hasn’t been the same since though, Butch Wagner, who represents Esquibel in his claim against the government, told KFSN.

“When the ranger kicked him, it aggravated his condition, his vascular condition and he’s been having more trouble with that leg than he normally does,” Wagner said. “He is not someone seeking attention, not by any means a whiner as you can see from his military record.”

A park spokesman told KFSN they are investigating the claim and declined to comment.

Doctors are now working to save Esquibel’s leg, the station reported. The Marine plans to file a lawsuit if the $750,000 claim is denied.


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  1. Another case of an overzealous LEO thinking they can do what they want. I attribute this to negligent hiring, training and retention. The Park Service at a minimum should pay this Marine’s claim and medical bills and they should further apologize to him. The ranger should be sent through additional training and/or washed out. But then what do I know…I’m just a former Marine and retired training officer for a large Metro PD in the South.

  2. This is why I hate civilians. Every single American needs to serve at least one term out of high school. We would be better off.

  3. Richard W. Morrison on

    That Park Ranger definitely needs an old fashioned Marine Corps blanket party. Anyone out there agree with me? GySgt, USMC (Retd)

  4. What is wrong with Park Rangers these days. I have a friend who had a problem with a Ranger in Va. Over an elderly lady needing a wheelchair access. He threatened to tow their car if they didn’t move, sit and watched and took away a camera when he was photographed. Unreal

  5. Once the handicap marker was displayed the Ranger had the right to ask for the registration card that allowed for the marker; that was proof enough of the handicap. This went way beyond what is legal and the veteran should be awarded his claim…

  6. Gold Star Father 2010 – Ranger needs to be retrained. Needs to check up on the “HIPPA” Law governing what he is allowed to question about. LEO or anyone else is not allowed to question one’s infirmity

  7. Nina Gayheart on

    This story doesn’t tell what punishment that the Ranger has or will have against him. This Ranger has no business working with the Public.
    As the Mother of a Marine I am so sad that Mr Esquivel has to suffer. I pray for him to have his leg saved. Know that you are in my heart & prayers. Be tough Marine! OORAH

  8. This cowardly park ‘ranger’ needs to be imprisoned for felony assault and fired with absolutely no retirement benefits or any benefits of any kind. What a sissy, kicking someone who is handcuffed. Probably a drunkard. And Gunny Morrison, I’d GLADLY help administer a blanket party which would NEVER be forgotten by this park ‘ranger’.

  9. Ralph Salisbury on

    I am privileged to know Dominic. In addition to being a Marine and a gentleman he possesses a strong sense of compassion. The treatment he received from this Park Ranger was unwarranted. The physical abuse he received from this same Ranger is inexcusable.

  10. That does surprise me! Back in 2003 after I got back from Iraq. I went the national Forest to camp out but I had accidentally setup my camp site on Kings Canyon national Park. The park ranger woke us up and when I exited the tent he drew down on me and put me and my wife in handcuffs and threatened to shoot our dog. He proceeded to issue me 11 citations and threatened take us to jail. After 30 mins of him berating us for camping 20 yards over the park boundary (while I’m asking to speak to his supervisor) he calls his supervisor. Supervisor was more understanding and released us from custody and Tore up all the citations! That was the last time I went camping in California!

  11. 1LT Rick Marshal on

    That ranger should have asked the right questions and never physically accosted our Marine. That Ranger should be retrained, and ordered to serve at Walter Reed or another VA hospital to see what returning wounded veterans go through. He can’t go unpunished for his actions, and neither can his supervisors who clearly failed the Ranger and the Marine.

  12. 1)And exactly what portion of parking in a handicap space with or without a Handicap tag rates handcuffs and being kicked in the leg?

    2)Did he have a handicap tag? If so the the Ranger was even more overzealous and his conduct even more reprehensible. If Esquibel didn’t have a tag, then even actually handicapped he’s not supposed to utilize the space.

    Either way, as I started out with, kicking a potentially handicapped person while acting as an agent of the state? Just wrong.

  13. Okay, just read the linked article – Simple abuse of Power. The Ranger needs either some actual serious re-training or a loss of job. The placard was there.


  15. Gail Cortner Rn on

    This is appalling you can not always tell a person is handicapped by looking at them . I worked in rehabilitation (nero surgery)for six years and we fix patients up well. Also I have worked in all areas of medicine This park ranger Is guilty Of A tort he violated your rights

    And He violated The Americans with Disability Law Go get him Marine!!!!! Semper FI

    This Is 28 years of nursing speaking that ranger is dead wrong

  16. HIPPA ADA CIVIL RIGHTS and probably more. Im not an attorney. But as a citizen ignorace of the law is NO EXCUSE. Neither is it for this RANGER he deals with these laws just about everyday dealing with the PUBLIC. He knowling went over BOARD and ASSAULTED THIS VET/MARINE. Thats NO EXUSE OR A MISUNDERSTANDING. Both the RANGER his superior and any other RANGERs or staff that sat by seeing this happened before or during or after.
    BEcause this RANGER is a representative of the people then the FEDERAL AGENCY as well as someone not personally involved. the question is if this has happened to this vet how other people has he done this to?? This MARINE is again helping try to stop people from hurting others and getting hurt himself. Prays for his leg to heal. Thank you again MARINE. OORAH

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