A July incident at a Bridgeton, Missouri hospital paints a harrowing portrait of injustice after a Black woman was physically struck by a hospital security guard while awaiting treatment.
Her lawyer now says he’s working to dispute an assault charge against her based on surveillance video, according to a report by Riverfront Times.
Vanity Allen, 25, had just checked into SSM Health DePaul Hospital on July 27 with complaints of severe stomach pain and was placed on an IV, when she walked outside to get fresh air.
Video surveillance obtained by Allen’s lawyer Albert Watkins, shows the moment the young woman was assaulted by the security guard, who hit her left eye with a closed fist, sending her to the ground.
Watkins believes the video corroborates Allen’s story, who claims she had sunk into a nearby wheelchair doubled over from pain when the security guard approached her. Allen said she held up her hand to be given space when the security guard struck her.
The video shows the moment where Allen was hit and the aftermath of her interaction with the officer. The altercation begins at the 2:50 mark. In the video you can see Allen struggling to maintain her balance as the guard drags her back between the hospital doors. Witnesses at first do nothing as they watch, but a small group gathers as she is taken back inside of the hospital.
“This was 220 pounds of white daytime TV muscle on top of her,” Watkins said in an interview with the Riverfront Times. “You have a security guard with an IQ well below room temperature taking it upon himself to see that ‘justice’ is done to a 90-pound patient in distress.”
Allen has sustained permanent scarring to her face and has also developed PTSD from the incident. She reportedly gave up a work opportunity in Arizona to stay closer to family because of the trauma she faced in the aftermath of the altercation.
According to Watkins, the security guard has been relieved of his duties, but a spokesperson for the hospital did not confirm, citing the hospital is not allowed to discuss personnel matters.
Watkins hopes the video will help vindicate Allen, as she faces a municipal ordinance violation for assault in the fourth degree.
“We have not had the opportunity to fully share the full scope of the injustice sustained by my client,” he said. “This was a young lady with zero criminal history, admitted for bonafide medical reasons, who had a port installed. “She had the bad fortune to run into Superman in a unitard, coming out of nowhere, who decided it was time to teach this young lady a lesson,” he continued.
“SSM Health DePaul Hospital is committed to providing the best care possible to every patient who comes to us and to ensuring the safety of all patients, employees and visitors,” the hospital released in a statement. “Due to federal patient privacy laws, we are unable to provide details of any patient’s care. The Bridgeton Police Department investigated the matter, and we cooperated fully with their efforts.”