A 60-year-old Knoxville woman was dumped at the door of a hospital as she suffered a stroke. When police arrived, they stood around her demanding she stop acting as she begged for help.
Lisa Edwards had been discharged after a night at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center on the morning of February 5th.
Once removed from the facility, Edwards was left outside of the hospital with her belongings strewn around her, complaining that she was suffering from a stroke, was unable to walk and needed urgent medical attention.
Staff subsequently contacted the police, demanding the woman be removed for trespassing as she writhed on the ground.
KPD Sergeant Brandon Wardlaw responded to the call. Upon arrival, the officer was hostile and refused to listen to the woman complaining about not being able to breathe. For an hour, Wardlaw instructed a group of officers to pick the woman up and callously throw her into the back of a police van, where she reiterated that she was dying. Their response was to continue demanding that the wheelchair bound woman suffering from a debilitating medical emergency get up and walk it off.
During the encounter, Wardlaw, who is black, was caught on body camera footage specifically telling the officers to ignore the woman’s pleas, “I know it’s all an act.” An older white subordinate tepidly disagreed and asked him to think of potential liability, “unfortunately, if she goes over and can’t breathe, the act’s going to turn into a problem.” His appeal was dismissed.
Wardlaw, growing impatient with the incapicitated woman, then shouts, “LISTEN TO ME! This is the lord’s day. All I want to do is get some coffee and some oatmeal. I’m not going to deal with your mess this morning!”
After being stuffed in a patrol vehicle, the woman lost consciousness while being transported to a local detention center. The next day, she was pronounced dead. An autopsy revealed she was indeed suffering from a stroke.
Sgt. Wardlaw and his officers have lawyered up and so far have not been reprimanded. Outraged members of the Edwards family have complained that the footage is clear cut evidence that their beloved mother and grandmother was being treated as less than human.
The Knoxville Police Department has already taken criminal charges off the table. KPD’s reluctance to discipline Wardlaw for this deadly negligence may be related to a recent spate of specious complaints by disgruntled employees and left-wing journalists accusing them of discriminating against black officers. Pressure from federal civil rights enforcers, race activists, and hostile media often compels officials to quickly promote and grant special privileges to law enforcement officers who are black or non-white regardless of their decision-making abilities or competence.
This dynamic was put on display in a 2018 entry on the KPD’s official Facebook page, which published a personal tribute to Sgt. Wardlaw while soliciting black applicants in honor of black history month.
Calls to bring justice and closure to the Edwards family are mounting on local and social media, but US national media has so far ignored this tragic incident, even as it gains international attention through major foreign publications.