(NEW YORK) — An African American man recovering from pneumonia says he was arrested after a white security guard and police officers racially profiled him when he went for a walk on his doctor’s orders outside a northern Illinois hospital while attached to an IV machine and wearing a hospital gown.
Shaquille Dukes, 24, said that what at first appeared to be a misunderstanding escalated into an unnecessary confrontation with police and prompted his arrest and the arrests two men with him.
“As they began to take me to the car, I told them … I never left the hospital property. And that’s when he [a police officer] turned and said, ‘Well you’re off hospital property now,'” Dukes told ABC News.
The incident unfolded just before 5 p.m. on June 9 outside Freeport Health Network Memorial Hospital, and was caught on cellphone video that went viral after Dukes posted it on his Facebook page.
Freeport Police officials released police body camera footage of the episode, which the city’s police chief said shows his officers “handled it in the best way they could … given the situation that they had in front of them.”
In a police report of the incident, the hospital security guard told officers that after he questioned Dukes about why he was leaving the hospital attached to an IV, Dukes and the two men with him “got in my face” and began cursing at him. The security guard told police he felt “extremely threatened,” according to the report.
Dukes said that the only time he left the hospital property was when the security guard called him over to his vehicle parked in the street outside the hospital.
He said that after attempting to explain that his doctor was aware he had gone outside for a walk — after spending several days at the hospital — the security guard responded, “Well I don’t care what they told you. As far as I’m concerned, this is hospital equipment and you’re attempting to steal it.”
In the cellphone video Dukes posted online, the security guard is heard telling police officers, “He’s stealing hospital property, basically, by leaving. I don’t care if he was coming back, that’s stealing.”
Dukes and his two companions, Marqwandrick Morrison and Credale Miles, were arrested on charges of disorderly conduct.
“Our investigation revealed that at no time did any doctor or nurse give that patient or any patient permission to leave the hospital while still hooked to an IV machine,” Freeport police officials said in a statement to ABC News.
Dukes said he has filed a complaint with the city.
“It was determined that he was likely not trying to steal any of the property. But the charges were supported for disorderly conduct with their actions toward the security guard,” Freeport Police Chief Todd Barkalow told ABC News.
FHN Memorial Hospital told ABC News that patient privacy laws prevented them from commenting on what they said was now a police matter.
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