A black man who was arrested while having a stroke was awarded $1.3 million by the police.


A black man who was arrested while having a stroke was awarded $1.3 million by the police.

A $1.3 million settlement was reached between the city of Boston and a 64-year-old Black man who was detained after suffering a stroke.

In April 2019, Boston police discovered Al Copeland slumped in his car, barely awake, outside the Berklee College of Music, according to WBUR.

Officers arrested Copeland instead of contacting an ambulance. They said they smelled alcohol in a police report, but Copeland informed the station he hadn’t had a drink since 1995.

“How come they didn’t think he was sick?” Valerie Copeland, his wife, added. “I can only believe it’s because he’s a Black male,” says the author. Copeland was taken to a police station despite being unable to stand, according to data obtained by WBUR. Officers left him to use the bathroom in a holding cell, and he fell and struck his head on the wall, according to the records.

Copeland was only taken to the hospital after he vomited five hours after authorities discovered him.

When he was brought to Tufts Medical Center, his condition did not improve. According to WBUR, staff suspected he was inebriated and kept him in the emergency hospital for another seven hours.

Doctors confirmed that there were no drugs or alcohol in his system and that he had suffered a stroke just after Valerie Copeland arrived to his bedside.

Al Copeland had to spend weeks in the hospital, go through rehab, and give up his job at the MBTA. He still has difficulty walking and eating. He claims he has no recollection of what happened following his stroke and just recalls waking up two months later in rehab.

He told WBUR, “I heard… they treated you like a drunk on the street.” “That’s exactly what I heard… and it irritated me. I went straight to: all these white addicts nodding all over the place, treating me as if I were a drunk on the street.” The Hospital Has Undergone Changes Tufts has apologized to Copeland, and the hospital has since added social workers to assist patients who are unable to communicate, as well as a center for diversity, equity, and inclusion to address discrepancies in care.

Last summer, the Copelands received a $1.3 million settlement from the city of Boston. This is a condensed version of the information.


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