An African-American woman just wanted to see her dying son at a hospital, but instead she was arrested for “disorderly conduct” in York, Pennsylvania.
Nylik Moore, 18, was shot in the chest and was rushed to the hospital. His mother Cheriha Rankins scrambled after the ambulance. She claimed she was “not more than three minutes” behind the ambulance.
However, the hospital refused to let Rankins or any other member of the family inside. The premises was on lockdown at the moment, which is the protocol followed after a victim of a violent shooting is brought in. It remains unclear whether Moore was this victim.
As aggrieved family members tried to enter the hospital, Rankins was detained by the police on charges for disorderly conduct. The charges were later dropped.
However, Rankins disputed the claim and said that the family was only “crying and moaning”, as is natural.
The police apparently tried to arrest other members of the family as well. Footage of the incident showed a scene of chaos. Women can be heard screaming in terror as a police officer slammed a man onto the ground while another cop, holding what looks like a can of pepper spray, bellowed at family members.
A 17-year-old girl can also be seen being detained by the police while a man in the background yelled, “This is f***ing racist”. Four people altogether were arrested and given citations that were later dropped.
Moore was shot around 5 p.m., and died nearly 40 minutes later, at 5:38 p.m. His little brother, Markai Rankins, says the family was made to wait for whole two hours.
York City Mayor Michael Helfrich condemned the incident, saying that no “bigoted or prejudiced action” is acceptable from the police department and the hospital staff. He promised an inquiry into the incident that evaluates whether there was a race factor in the treatment of the family.
The hospital issued an apology to the family.
“We have talked to the family to offer our condolences and to sincerely apologize for what occurred Tuesday night. We also have offered to meet with them at their earliest convenience to discuss the issue and hear their concerns in person. These are our patients and our neighbors, and we’re deeply sorry for the pain they’re experiencing,” read the statement.
It further read, “Our clinicians and staff were working to treat multiple trauma patients. Our hospital emergency department was placed on lockdown — which is a standard safety measure we initiate when our hospital treats someone who has been a victim of violence. During this time, a number of individuals attempted to gain access to the emergency department and became disruptive. Multiple law enforcement agencies, led by the York City Police Department, responded to ensure the security of our hospital and to protect the safety of our patients, staff and visitors. We extend our sincere appreciation and thanks to those responding agencies.”
Thumbnail, Banner: Reuters, Mark Makela