This makes me hate people.
Anna Brown had visited several hospitals complaining of pain in her legs. When she was ignored at St. Mary’s Hospital, she refused to leaved, screaming and yelling that she was in pain. The hospital had her arrested. The police dragged her out of the hospital and into a squad car. At the Richmond Heights Police Department, she cried that she couldn’t stand up or get out of the car, so the officers dragged her out of the car, into a jail cell, and left her there.
Fifteen minutes later she was dead from a pulmonary embolism:
She yelled from a wheelchair at St. Mary’s Health Center security personnel and Richmond Heights police officers that her legs hurt so badly she couldn’t stand.
She had already been to two other hospitals that week in September, complaining of leg pain after spraining her ankle.
This time, she refused to leave.
A police officer arrested Brown for trespassing. He wheeled her out in handcuffs after a doctor said she was healthy enough to be locked up.
Brown was 29. A mother who had lost custody of two children. Homeless. On Medicaid. And, an autopsy later revealed, dying from blood clots that started in her legs, then lodged in her lungs.
She told officers she couldn’t get out of the police car, so they dragged her by her arms into the station. They left her lying on the concrete floor of a jail cell, moaning and struggling to breathe. Just 15 minutes later, a jail worker found her cold to the touch.
Officers suspected Brown was using drugs. Autopsy results showed she had no drugs in her system.
Six months later, family members still wonder how Brown’s sprained ankle led to her death in police custody, and whether anyone — including themselves — is to blame.
There seems to be no simple answer.
St. Mary’s officials say they did all they were supposed to do for Brown. Richmond Heights police said they trusted a doctor who said she was fit for jail.
Brown’s mother, Dorothy Davis, isn’t sure what to think.
“If the police killed my daughter, I want to know,” she said. “If the hospital is at fault, I want to know. I want to be able to tell her children why their mother isn’t here.”
Davis also faults the St. Louis County Family Court, which she said forced her into a heartbreaking dilemma after the state took away Brown’s children on a claim of neglect. Davis could take in her grandchildren or her daughter, a judge said, but not both.
“I’m mad at myself because if I hadn’t listened to the courts, she would still be here,” Davis said. “If she had been here at this house, she would be here today.”
They did all they were “supposed” to do for her. Not all they could do for her. Horrific.
Just in case the past three weeks of the Trayvon Martin affair hasn’t demonstrated exactly how invaluable black lives are to some people, Anna Brown should cement the notion. She was profiled, deemed to be a drug seeker, and cast aside as if she were irrelevant; dragged away from life-saving care to her death on a cold floor in jail, in the same way that the Sanford Police Department left Trayvon Martin face down in the grass while they tried to figure out how to absolve George Zimmerman of blame.
Somebody should make Scalia watch this video. Anna Browns will be de rigueur should the ACA be repealed. It’s unfathomable.
*** See Youth Revolutionary Council for action items.
[via SandraRose][cross-posted at ABLC]