SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) - A blind man was arrested at an airport with several weapons in his bag, including a gun.
The man says he was on his way home to New Mexico after a special trip with his family, when he said he made a mistake that ended with him in jail.
However, the Santa Fe man said he was mistreated and that police took advantage of his disability.
Raymond Whitehead, 52, told KRQE News 13 he thought everything he was doing that day he boarded the plane was legal, but admitted to a slip-up that got him into this mess.
It should have been a happy ending to a special union, after Whitehead met his 32-year-old son, Anthony, for the first time. He said his son's family kept him from Anthony, but recently they found each other.
"It was a wonderful trip, I got to hug my son for the first time in his life and mine," Whitehead said.
A hug and hearing his son's voice was more than Whitehead could ask for.
Whitehead is blind and has been for 14 years from a disease called retinitis pigmetosa. When he went through security at Newark airport in New Jersey heading home to New Mexico, he said the TSA agent caught him off-guard.
"They pulled us aside and said, 'we see something that could be a problem and it looks to us like it could be bullets,'" Whitehead said.
Whitehead said he realized he accidentally packed bullets in his carry-on.
"What would I do with the bullets on the plane? Bite them in order to shoot them?" Whitehead joked. "I mean, I didn't have the gun with me."
When questioned about the bullets, he said they were for his gun, which was packed in his check-in bag. Whitehead said he understood it's legal to fly with a gun in a checked-in bag, but found out there were problems.
Whitehead said he bought the .38 from a private citizen and claims he was told at the time he didn't have to register it. Airport officials told him the gun was illegal since it was not registered. He would also learn he needed to declare the gun at the airport before the flight.
He also had knives in his check-in bag; leathermans, a Swiss Army Knife and a sheath knife.
"It was explained to me the reason they took them is because they want to know why I had them," Whitehead explained. "And unless I can prove that my reasons are legitimate, then they become illegal, which to me sounds like you're guilty until proven innocent."
Whitehead said he was arrested, his family was forced to leave him, and that the officer that cuffed him, refused to give him his cane.
"He banged me into a chair, a desk, a wall, a doorway and when I turned my head sideways and asked him, 'do you know that I am completely blind?' he said quote, "just shut up and keep walking strait" Whitehead said.
The Santa Fe resident and NRA member said he was in jail for 10 hours with no food and no opportunity to speak with an attorney. He was charged with possessing illegal weapons.
Whitehead said though he is blind, he does know how to use a gun, can shoot a target and keeps them for protection at home.
He plans to fight the charges.
Whitehead will head back to New Jersey for his arraignment in June.
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