A walk outside of an Illinois hospital turned into a disorderly conduct charge for one Black patient.
Shaquille Dukes, 24, said he was racially profiled and accused of stealing an IV machine he was still connected to outside of FHN Memorial Hospital on June 9, according to the Journal-Standard.
The incident happened just after 4 p.m. in Freeport, Illinois, which is about 115 miles northwest of Chicago.
Dukes had been admitted to the hospital for double pneumonia and asthma-related issues and was on doctors’ orders to walk around a bit but to remain on hospital grounds, the Journal Standard reported.
So he walked in the area with his brother.
“I was stopped by an overzealous, racist, security officer, who claimed that I ‘was trying to leave the hospital to sell the IV equipment on eBay,’” Dukes said in a Facebook post.
At the time, he and his brother were on their way back from their walk.
The guard, employed by FHN, noticed the IV machine and asked them to follow him across the street, the Journal Standard reported.
“I told him, ‘This machine is pumping fluid into my veins as we speak.’”
After some back-and-forth between the men, the security officer called Freeport police officers who arrived to the scene 40 minutes later.
Dukes said his brother was arrested first, then him and a third man, who was recording the incident.
Police told Dukes he was being arrested on an attempted theft charge because he took medical equipment off of hospital property.
But Dukes shared in one of the videos he posted on Facebook that he only left the hospital’s property when the security guard instructed him to cross the street.
It’s unclear why the other men were arrested.
Dukes said in the Facebook statement that his IV was removed during the incident and his rescue inhaler was seized.
“I pleaded with officers for almost 4 minutes to retrieve my inhaler from the transporting officer, and finally, when I became unresponsive, it miraculously appeared,” Dukes said in the post.
Freeport police Lt. Andrew Schroeder rebutted Dukes’ version to a reporter and said officers got Dukes medical attention when they noticed he needed it.
“An ambulance was summoned for him and he was taken back to the hospital,” Schroeder told the Journal Standard.
Dukes said he ended up passing out and having a seizure in the ambulance as it headed back to the hospital.
He later filed a complaint with the city of Freeport and said in a News Maven web story that the incident would not have happened if he were a white patient.
After receiving video of the incident, the hospital released the following statement to the Journal Standard: “We are looking into this but as of now, it is a police matter.”
Schroeder later told the Journal Standard that a police investigation revealed Dukes had no intention of stealing the IV machine.
He’s scheduled to appear in court July 11 on the disorderly conduct charge.
“The issue here is that his actions were why he was arrested,” Schroeder told the Journal Standard. “Had they been able to engage in a civil discourse with hospital security, we wouldn’t have been called at all.”