Civil Liberties  
comments_image Comments

Florida's Racist Legacy: Man Was Arrested for Having a Stroke While Black, Left to Die on Jail Floor

Another horrifying story out of Florida's recent past.
 
 
Share
 
 
 
 

Just when I thought Florida could not possibly surprise me with anything as awful as the Trayvon Martin travesty of justice; I come across this story that left me speechless. This poor man appears to have been arrested for having a stroke while being Black. I would warn you not to watch the video if you are sensitive to triggers (editor's note: the arrest occured in May of 2012).

I also wonder at the title of the article. The use of the word "inmate" to try and minimize the awfulness of what really happened? He was a man having a stroke and he was arrested and left to die on the floor of a jail cell because the officers assumed he was just a trouble maker instead of someone having a medical emergency; Not a goddamned "inmate". Why did the arresting officers not recognize obvious stroke symptoms? Why was he arrested instead of given medical care at the scene of the accident? And in Florida? Accidents caused by medical emergencies are not that uncommon down here with the millions of retirees driving around.

Allen Daniel Hicks Sr., 51, was found stopped in his car on the side of Interstate 275 by a sheriff's deputy and a Florida Highway Patrol trooper the morning of May 11, 2012. Passers-by had called 911 after they saw Hicks' Chevy Cavalier swerving west into a guardrail, records of the incident show.

Speaking incoherently and unable to move his left arm, Hicks was arrested on a charge of obstructing a law enforcement officer when he did not respond to commands to exit his car. Just after noon, he was booked into the Orient Road Jail.

Hicks did not receive a medical screening, but was put in a cell where he lay facedown on the floor or tried to crawl using the one working side of his body. On the night of May 12, soaked in his own urine, his brain choked of blood, he was at last taken to Tampa General Hospital and diagnosed with an ischemic stroke. He slipped into a coma and died within three months.

This is simply outrageous! There are two systems in this country and until such time as this is addressed we cannot move forward as a society. To continue to pretend that we are somehow a "post racial" society is non-productive and absurd. I'm sure there will be people right here on this site that will somehow try and excuse the behavior or pretend it would have happened had he been a White guy. The same people that just can't understand why Black folks are bit angry at the treatment they receive in our "post racial" society.
Lunsford noted that he "did not detect the odor of any alcoholic beverages" on Hicks and that he was "behaving in an erratic state … when asked for his driver's license he picked up the lid to the center console and dropped it closed." Hicks continued to claw at the console until Guzman reached inside it for him and retrieved his wallet.

Lunsford and Guzman became worried when Hicks did not obey commands to show his hands and exit the car. Seeing that Hicks' left hand was drooping into the side pocket of the driver's door, the officers pulled their handguns.

Hicks still acted befuddled, saying to Lunsford, "that's a 9-millimeter semiautomatic gun that you have," the report states. After ascertaining Hicks was unarmed, Lunsford and Guzman pulled him out of the car through the passenger door and handcuffed him.

Florida is rapidly becoming a third world police state whose blood lust and fever for slave labor has made it dangerous to be poor or Black or female or anything other than old and White and male. I wish I had an answer but until such time as we start a conversation I don't see one coming anytime soon. But yeah, just an "inmate" so nothing to see here, move along. Victimized first by law enforcement, medical staff and finally by the newspaper after death. What have we become?As an exchange student, I was terrified when I got a painful eye infection during my summer in England. I didn’t have British insurance. Surely, I couldn’t afford a doctor visit.

Finally, when the pain became too intense, I went to the doctor. (I went on foot, of course.) My doctor’s bill? It came to $0. And the cost of the drugs he prescribed? A grand total of $18. Thank God, the problem I let malinger was simply an eye infection and not a strange-looking mole.

You know what else is more common in places where people live longer? Real food.

The French, Italians, Spanish, Greeks, and Japanese all have strong food cultures. An Italian would not even think about swapping out extra virgin olive oil for cheaper, less-healthy soybean oil. And can you imagine the reaction you’d get if you tried to serve Cheez Whiz to a French person?

In America, we spend a smaller percentage of our income on food than the people of anyother nation on earth. Author Michael Moss wrote in his book Salt Sugar Fat how food companies feel compelled to produce junk because healthier alternatives cost more than customers would pay. Real food costs money. And getting sick is the hidden price we pay when we buy cheap food.

Of course, the high cost of an unhealthy lifestyle isn’t shared equally among Americans. A man in wealthy Marin County, California can expect to live nearly a decade longer than a man born in Mississippi. That’s a sad statement in a nation founded on the principle that all men are created equal.

 
See more stories tagged with: