Attorneys Release Dashcam Video of Barbara Dawson Arrest

Barbara Dawson
Posted at 10:34 AM, Jan 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-08 08:00:32-05

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) - Attorneys for the family of Barbara Dawson released the police dashcam footage Wednesday of Dawson's arrest and collapse in December.

Attorneys with Parks & Crump, LLC addressed the media but did not show the footage, a 70-minute video recorded by Blountstown police.

The video -- showing both front and rear views -- doesn't show much, but the audio documents Dawson screaming for help, while the officer and hospital staff intervene.

The firm says Dawson's family has not watched the video. Instead, it was described to them through attorneys.

WTXL is working to upload the full dashcam video to our website. Here is a clip of Dawson's first interaction with Blountstown Police in her hospital room on the night of her death. Police say the audio was recorded from the officer's body mic and the video is from his patrol car outside the hospital.

Dawson died of a blood clot in December after staff at Calhoun Liberty Hospital called police, saying Dawson was refusing to leave. Police say she was arrested and reportedly collapsed while being placed in the back of a patrol car.

The CEO of Calhoun Liberty Hospital issued the following statement in response the released dashcam video:

"We have received a copy of the Dawson audio and video from members of the media and while we are still reviewing it, we want to reach out to the community with an immediate statement.
First, we continue to grieve the loss of a patient and a member of the community. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Ms. Dawson as well as with our community. 
Our primary objective in this situation is to remain transparent and to welcome investigation from authorities. We have already welcomed reviews and investigations from the Agency for Health Care Administration and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement as well as the Department of Health. To the fullest extent permitted by state and federal law, we will continue to be transparent and forthcoming with our community and the public.
We remain committed to providing quality and essential health care for our community, which will be supported by our own thorough review of this situation. We are also in process of setting up a medical and community task force in coordination with Rev. R.B. Holmes to review best practices and better communication to move our hospital forward. We owe our community nothing less."
The Blountstown Police Department has also issued a statement responding to the attorneys' claims:
"Contrary to what has been suggested by legal counsel for Ms. Dawson’s family, in Florida, law enforcement officers are “first responders”. It is important to recognize that law enforcement officers are not trained medical professionals.
Generally, as first a responder, a law enforcement officer is trained in CPR. CPR would not be utilized on a person that is breathing and that has a heartbeat, as was the case with Ms. Dawson on December 21, 2015.
In the event of a perceived medical emergency, it is a law enforcement officer’s duty and responsibility to request the assistance of trained medical professionals. It is also a law enforcement officer’s responsibility to rely on the medical training and expertise of medical professionals once the officer seeks medical evaluation and/or intervention. In Ms. Dawson’s case, the responding officer acted appropriately, by requesting immediate assistance from medical professionals. As clearly depicted in the audio recording of the events as they transpired on December 21, 2015, the officer sought medical attention for Ms. Dawson within less that one minute of her collapse.
The medical professionals that responded to Ms. Dawson in the Calhoun-Liberty Hospital parking lot included the following: registered nurses, a paramedic, and a doctor. Upon the arrival of the various medical professionals, the officer deferred to the professional training and expertise of the summoned medical professionals to evaluate and assess Ms. Dawson’s need for medical intervention.
Although the officer may have suspected that Ms. Dawson was intentionally noncompliant, he nonetheless fully executed his duty and responsibility, requesting that medical professionals continue to verify Ms. Dawson’s health status, even after the medical professionals initially assessed and evaluated Ms. Dawson following her collapse.
Any action by the law enforcement officer usurping and/or interfering with the medical professional’ expertise, knowledge and advice, either upon Ms. Dawson’s discharge from Calhoun-Liberty Hospital (after approximately eight (8) hours of evaluation and treatment by medical professionals) or subsequently in the Calhoun-Liberty Hospital parking lot following her collapse, would have been reckless.
Any suggestion otherwise by the lawyers involved in this matter is misleading and illogical. Regardless, Ms. Dawson’s passing is a loss felt by our community, and our thoughts and prayers remain with her family and friends during this time."