Cops Arrested a Black Hospital Patient Who Was Taking a Walk Outside with an IV. They Thought He Was Stealing It.

"Come to Freeport on Vacation and leave on Probation" his Facebook post said

by Emma Ockerman
02 July 2019, 9:44pm

This article originally appeared on VICE US.

A black hospital patient taking a quick walk outside in his hospital gown was arrested on suspicions that he was stealing IV equipment — which he was hooked up to at the time.

Shaquille Dukes, 24, says he was being treated at Freeport Health Network Memorial Hospital for pneumonia in early June when a doctor granted his request to take a quick walk outside. Shortly after he stepped out, Dukes was approached by a hospital guard, and then by Freeport police, who arrested him over suspicions that he was stealing the IV equipment, according to a now-viral Facebook post and accompanying video describing the June 9 incident. Cops asked if he was trying to sell the equipment on eBay.

Dukes said he told cops he was a patient at the hospital receiving treatment, but the cops removed his IV equipment on the sidewalk, took his inhaler and arrested both him and his brother. Dukes said he had a seizure and asthma attack while inside the police car. He was ultimately charged with disorderly conduct.

"This is truly one of the most racist cities in America,” Dukes said in his Facebook post. He’s from the Chicago area, about 100 miles outside of Freeport.

After the incident went viral over the weekend, Freeport police brought in an outside investigator to look into whether the arresting officers acted appropriately, according to the local Journal Standard. The Freeport Health Network Memorial Hospital where Dukes was treated can’t comment on his hospital stay, but told the Journal Standard it doesn’t allow patients to leave the hospital while they’re under care.

Dukes said in an interview with CNN that he asked doctors for permission to step outside with his boyfriend and his brother. After the arrest, he said he was taken back to the hospital in handcuffs.

The local police department also contested parts of Dukes’ account, saying his IV was removed by a staff member at the hospital, according to NBC News. Police also told NBC News that another hospital employee reported Dukes, his boyfriend, and his brother.

Cover: FILE- In this Feb. 9, 2018, file photo, a nurse hooks up an IV to a flu patient at Upson Regional Medical Center in Thomaston, Ga. A nasty flu season and fresh insurance deductibles may combine this winter to smack patients around the country with expensive medical bills. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)