Black hospital patient goes for walk with IV attached, gets arrested


Carol Ozemhoya | OW Contributor | 7/2/2019, 10:21 a.m.

Most police mottos are “to protect and to serve.” But it seems some police still continue to view a person of color as criminal, no matter what the circumstance. Out of Illinois comes the story of a Black patient, who left his room to go for a walk with his IV attached. As he was walking right outside the hospital building, police stopped him, and then arrested him on suspicion of theft, claiming that that he was trying to steal the IV equipment.

An added twist is that his doctor told him to take a walk. Shaquille Dukes was being treated for double pneumonia and asthma last month in Freeport, Illinois, according to a Facebook post. As he was leaving Freeport Health Network Memorial Hospital, Dukes said he was stopped by a White security guard who accused him of leaving the hospital to sell the IV equipment on eBay. The guard called the Freeport Police Department, according to the post, and one of the responding officers told Dukes he was being arrested for attempted theft “of the IV equipment that was clearly attached to my arm. Officers stood by and watched while my IV was removed on the sidewalk, and it was not by a doctor,” Dukes wrote.

“I told the Sgt I was being treated for pneumonia and asthma, and his words were, ‘I don’t care why you’re here, you’re going to jail’.” Cellphone video of Duke being handcuffed in his hospital gown has been viewed nearly 135,000 times on Facebook, reports USA Today. While in transit after his arrest, Dukes said he had a seizure and an asthma attack, but the transporting officers didn’t retrieve his inhaler until he became unresponsive.

“This is truly one of the most racist cities in America,” Dukes wrote. “I make this post not for pity, but as a beacon of hope for all Black and Brown minorities dealing with the City of Freeport.” Police, however, say Dukes’ description of events is inaccurate and urged the public to “reserve judgment” while the incident is being reviewed. According to a statement from police, three people got into a “verbal dispute” with hospital security that resulted in their arrest on misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges. Two of the individuals were also charged with resisting or obstructing a peace officer, according to police. The statement also noted that Dukes’ IV was removed by medical personnel, not security or police.