In the early morning hours of Dec. 21, police were called to a Tallahassee hospital because a woman was allegedly refusing to leave after being discharged by doctors. Reportedly, one of the officers who responded unplugged the woman's oxygen tank and removed her from the hospital in handcuffs. This was done despite the fact that the woman reportedly was telling hospital staff and the officer that she was having difficulty breathing.
The 57-year-old woman got no further than the hospital parking lot before she collapsed. She was brought back into the hospital, where she died less than half an hour later.
The woman's family and their attorneys have been trying to get a copy of the dash-cam video from the police car at the scene to better determine what led up to her death. So have an area pastor and the president of the local chapter of the civil rights organization, National Action Network. The victim was African-American.
The chief of the Blountstown Police Department so far has not released the video. He says that he has no problem with the family having it, but wants to ensure that he's complying with the law.
It wasn't reported whether there are any security videos inside and/or outside the hospital that would also shed some light on what happened. According to a spokesperson for the Calhoun Liberty Hospital, their chief executive officer and the National Action Network chapter president are already discussing how the facility can improve its operations and establish best practices to better serve the people of the community,
This is a somewhat unique case since it seems to involve decisions made by hospital personnel and law enforcement. However, police are sometimes called to medical facilities to help doctors and staff handle unruly patients who still need medical care. Exactly what people and/or entities are responsible for the fate of those patients is something that may be left to a civil court.
Source: Tallahassee Democrat, "Police to release video in Barbara Dawson case," Sean Rossman, Dec. 30, 2015