Medical workers claim police officers are targeting them
Essential workers say they are being mistaken for protesters or attacked for helping them
Frontline medical workers are now being overwhelmed on two fronts – the coronavirus and now the police, who they accuse of targeting them during the George Floyd protests.
The Daily Beast reported that medical workers are being targeted by police who believe they are protestors. Rayne Valentine told the outlet that he has been working at Kings County Hospital Center because he needed the job. The 32-year-old veteran felt that his military background made him more equipped for the task of loading dead bodies into trucks and refrigerators.
“They needed people,” said Valentine. “The first day I was [at the hospital], we loaded up 45 bodies in a few hours. I saw a lot of the staff having breakdowns. It was scary for a lot of people.”
However, his good intentions took a wayward turn over the weekend. After his shift was over at around 11:45 P.M., he came upon the police in multiple squad cars who had sirens blaring.
“It’s not a route I usually take. I had to take a double shift the next day, and they allow hospital workers to get hotel rooms,” said Valentine. “I was having a smoke and had my headphones in to try and decompress.”
NYPD officers were chasing a kid in a hoodie when they directed their ire at Valentine. He was recording the confrontation when a cop shouted at him to ‘Back up’. Valentine added that this is when the assault began.
“And then this cop pushed me, and there were other cops hitting me on my legs and stuff too, but my head is the only thing that got seriously injured,” he said.
Valentine pleaded with the officers to stop and that he was only trying to go home. The officers then told him, “Well, you picked the wrong time to do that.” The beating stopped after 90 seconds. At that point, Valentine was in the fetal position and his blood was smeared all over his badge ID.
“I don’t know if it’s because they noticed my hospital ID or if it’s because they saw the blood, but they stopped, threw my phone at me, and I walked back to the hospital,” he said. “I was there for about seven hours after I got seven staples in my head and two CT scans.”
The Daily Beast reviewed the video and discharge papers that said he confirmed he was bruised from the incident. Valentine was fortunate that his injuries were not worse but has since retained a lawyer. He may not be the only medical worker to do so.
Dr. Bernard Ashby, a vascular cardiologist based in Miami Beach, told The Daily Beast that he was tear-gassed attending a protest. He attended to show his solidarity and was then attacked.
“There was such a diverse and young crowd, the majority of which were non-Black, which really warmed my heart,” said Ashby. “They were screaming George Floyd’s name and embracing the cause. They got it.”
Ashby said the violence intimidated the protestors who were demanding justice for Floyd.
“They were running for their lives,” Ashby. “People out there didn’t want violence. They were scared. They just wanted their voices to be heard.”
Maredith Drake, a 44-year-old mother and volunteer firefighter, wrote in a Facebook post that she was targeted by police, despite providing aid to a man who’d been shot in the head. Drake said the officers knew she was a medic but did not seem to care.
“They started to fire into the crowd, and shot my hands, from no more than 3 feet away. I don’t remember falling to the ground, injuring my shoulder, hip, and neck. I woke up to what seemed like the relentless sound of these “less lethal” bean bags… And my own screaming,” she wrote.
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