The city of Boston is settling for $ 1.3 million with a man who suffered a stroke but was arrested instead without police, EMT or hospital staff to help him. This is one of the largest settlements of its kind, according to Boston Public Radio WBUR.
Al Copeland, 62, was driving in Boston one night in April 2019 when he began to feel sick and stopped in front of the Berkeley College of Music. Police found him stuck over the wheel and arrested him, even writing in the report that he smelled of alcohol. Copeland says he hasn’t drunk since 1995.
Copeland was taken to the police station and could barely stand it. Police let him use the bathroom in the cell, but in a severe blow he fell to the floor and hit his head on the wall until he fell. Police records show that the police left him alone in the cell to “sleep”.
It wasn’t until Copeland started vomiting – five hours after police first arrested him – that an ambulance was called.
Copeland was taken from this cell to Tufts Medical Center. Police records show that the medical staff also suspected that he had been drunk. He was allowed to disappear in the emergency department for another seven hours.
His wife Valerie she finally managed to track down her husband. Only then did doctors confirm that he had no drugs or alcohol in his body, instead he suffered a stroke. She believes her husband was neglected because he is black.
Copeland remained in hospital for weeks before moving to rehab. He had to quit his job. Today he has difficulty walking or even eating.
Tufts apologized for his involvement in what happened to Copeland, but told WBUR he could not comment on his concerns or any legal relationship with his case. Following this incident, they added social workers to help patients who could not communicate and set up a center for diversity, justice and inclusion to reduce disparities in care.
The Boston Police Department is investigating after the family’s lawyer contacted the city. Investigators accused two officers and a sergeant of negligence, rather than alleging that they found Copeland drunk and threw him unattended in a cell. They were quoted as saying they did not react quickly enough after Copeland fell and hit his head.
The department has not yet disciplined employees, although the internal investigation was completed more than a year ago, according to WBUR.