A video of a Vietnam veteran’s confrontation with Pokemon Go players went viral, leading to the veteran getting cited, but also leading to officials considering banning the game entirely from the memorial park until determining that a complete ban would not be enforceable.
Bruce Reed, a 67 year-old Vietnam veteran and Chairman of the Veterans Memorial Park Committee in Winona, Minnesota was cited for fourth degree criminal damage to property as well as disorderly conduct.
In the video, which was made by one of the Pokemon Go players documenting the incident, Reed can be seen confronting the Pokemon Go players who turned the veteran memorial park into a place of leisure and gaming by placing tents and hammocks in it.
Reed lets out his anger and frustrations after seeing the gamers use the park as a place for gaming instead of a memorial for people that have died serving their country and tackles a tent placed near the war memorials.
In the midst of his rage, he says, “It’s not a (expletive) campground, these are like (expletive) gravestones right there.”
In an interview with KARE 11, Reed said he went to the park earlier in the week to try to get Pokemon Go players away from the area. He said he was much more calm in the first instance.
“Like I say, it’s almost like Arlington,” Reed said. “You think Arlington would allow this to happen? No. well it shouldn’t happen here in Winona either. I deal with PTSD, and I guess kind of the light went off in my head, I kind of snapped, I think. Let my emotions carry me. And this is what’s happened.”
The incident has caused local officials to discuss how they should handle the park and if Pokemon Go players should be allowed to play there on what many consider to be hallowed grounds.
The Winona City Council had several members that wanted the game completely banned from the park and some saying that they are damaging the property.
The city’s mayor expressed concerns and said that the ordinances ,which ranged from banning walking dogs to free speech, were overreaching.
“I personally have some concerns about some of the language in there that appears to restrict freedom of speech and assembly. That’s something that all these people fought for,” Winona Mayor Peterson told CBS Minnesota.
An ordinance that bans hammocks, tents and other sorts of dwellings that people could use were banned from the park in order to deter them from staying in the veterans memorial for extended periods of time. The ordinance also mentions respecting the memorial and the monuments at the park.
After Peterson met with the veterans at the park, the city is attempting to get the Pokestop, a popular place for Pokemon Go players to gather, moved away from that portion of the park.