On Monday, 57-year-old Barbara Dawson went to the Liberty Calhoun Hospital in Tallahassee, Fla., because she was having trouble breathing. She was checked by a doctor, who found that she was fine and could be discharged. But Dawson didn't feel better, so she refused to leave. Police were called, and Dawson was handcuffed and escorted from the building. She collapsed on the way out and later died.
According to the Associated Press, the police officer removed the handcuffs after Dawson collapsed and took her back into the hospital.
"We were told by a doctor once she got back in the hospital that her vital signs were good, and it was their decision to readmit her," Blountstown Police Chief Mark Mallory told AP.
Mallory added that police had arrested Dawson on disorderly conduct and trespassing charges, AP reports. Autopsy results should be released Wednesday, he said, and Florida Department of Law Enforcement officials have been called in to investigate the incident.
"The most reasonable thing to do is to let her sit there and be able to settle down until she felt well. Instead, she is forcibly removed and put in cuffs," Tallahassee attorney Daryl Parks, who is representing Dawson's family, told the news service. "The early facts of this case should cause a great concern for everyone."
A local NAACP chapter held an emergency meeting Tuesday and met with local leaders and members of Dawson's family. Dale R. Landry, who is the regional vice president for the Florida state chapter of the NAACP, told AP that while he is glad that state law-enforcement officers are getting involved in the investigation, he strongly believes that Dawson's "death was due to negligence by the police department and hospital."
Read more at ABC News.