A black man who was being treated at a hospital and went for a walk with his IV stand was arrested because a security guard suspected he stole the hospital equipment.
Shaquille Dukes, 24, has since filed a racial profiling complaint -- an allegation the Freeport, Illinois, police deny. The Freeport Police Department issued a statement Monday saying it's hired a third-party investigator to "gather the facts, interview all parties involved, and determine whether officers conducted themselves in adherence to department policies and guidelines," CNN reported.
Dukes wrote on Facebook June 17 that he was visiting Freeport when he became ill with double pneumonia and was admitted to FHN Memorial Hospital. The morning of June 9, his second day at the hospital, Dukes said he was feeling better and asked doctors if he could go on a walk. Doctors cleared him, and Dukes headed outside, dressed in a hospital gown and attached to an IV stand, while accompanied by his brother and boyfriend.
Dukes said that at some point during his walk, a security guard motioned him over to his car and asked if they were trying to "leave the hospital and sell the IV equipment on eBay."
Dukes told ABC News he tried to explain that his doctor knew where he was, but the 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."
"I was livid, I was irate," Dukes told CNN. He said his boyfriend began recording the encounter.
The police department said in a June 18 statement that the three men became involved in a "verbal dispute" with the security guard.
Police arrested all three men and charged them with misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Two of the men were also charged with misdemeanor resisting arrest.
Dukes told CNN that officers took his emergency inhaler. He said his IV was removed, though not by a doctor. Police said in the statement that the IV was removed by medical personnel.
Freeport police officials released a statement to ABC News saying, in part, "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 ... 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."
Dukes said police eventually took him back to the hospital while he was still in handcuffs.
FHN Memorial Hospital declined to comment on the case to media, citing confidentiality laws.
Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.