Last year Allen Daniel Hicks violently drove his car off the road in Tampa, Florida.
When officers showed up on the scene, Hicks did not follow their orders to get out of his car. This resulted in police immediately booking the man into jail.
Officers failed, however, to question Hick’s strange behavior during the incident.
Despite rambling incoherent nonsense and dragging his left leg, police did not even bother ordering a medical check for Hicks before locking him up.
Well, it turns out that Hicks was having a severe ischemic stroke.
After a full day in jail, Hicks lay on the floor of his cell, unable to move. Only then did officers take him to Tampa General Hospital, where doctors quickly diagnosed the stroke.
Within hours, the man went into a coma. He died in the hospital just a few months later.
There is now a government investigation underway.
The attorney representing Hick’s family, Paul Rebein, said, “You should be able to get help from medical personnel and police officers and not be taken to jail, and we feel the highway patrol and EMT should have much better training on recognizing stroke victims.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) agrees. Spokesman David Fathi said, “Prison officials have a duty under the Constitution to provide prisoners with adequate medical care. When they violate that duty, the results can be tragic.”
“We believe that incarceration is a uniquely governmental function that should never be contracted out to private, for-profit corporations. When you combine the profit motive with limited oversight and an unpopular, politically powerless group like prisoners, it’s a recipe for bad outcomes,” he continued.
Bottom line: this incident demonstrates a disgusting abuse of police power. These officers must be held accountable for their actions.
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