Police release video two weeks after Dawson’s death
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
The expected release of a video that shows what transpired between Blountstown police and Barbara Dawson before her death is a step toward transparency that the National Action Network (NAN) has been calling for.
Rev. R.B. Holmes, president of the local chapter of NAN, said the video was released Monday to the Parks and Crump law firm, which is representing Dawson’s family.
“We want transparency,” said Holmes, who has been leading the call for answers since Dawson’s death on Dec. 21. “There are questions to be answered and I think one way you get those answers is by being above board.
“I think the hospital, the (police) chief and the lawyers want the same thing—make sure that the truth gets out.”
Attorney Daryl Parks told the Outlook late Monday night that his firm will hold a press conference two days later to discuss the video. The video was requested on Dec. 30, Holmes said.
Dawson died just hours after she went to the Liberty Calhoun Hospital complaining of difficulty breathing. She was removed by police and died shortly after.
Dawson was buried this past Saturday at a cemetery not far from where she grew up in Watson. Her relatives were still asking for answers and might get some with the release of the video.
“We want to make sure there is nothing being hidden,” said Don Tolliver, vice president of the local NAN chapter who also attended Monday’s press conference. “If you’re transparent up front, you’re not hiding anything and the community doesn’t suspect that something wrong has happened.
“We want to be fair about everything. We don’t want to blame the police, blame the hospital or blame people who have no reason to be blamed. We just want to know exactly what happened. We want to look at the facts. Just the facts. That’s all we need.”
As part of that fact finding, Holmes said he’s taken an initiative to form a task force to ensure that best practices in healthcare are followed at the Liberty Calhoun Hospital. He’s gotten assurance from the hospital’s CEO, Ruth Attaway, that she will play a role in forming the task force.
Holmes also said he will write Gov. Rick Scott, requesting that he look into ways to provide better healthcare for the poor.
“We must have some real conversation in this country, in this city (and) in this state about how do we treat the working poor; how we make sure healthcare is available to all people,” Holmes said.
“I think from this there are some lessons to be learned; how do we treat people, how do we not overreact and once this happens make sure everyone is above board.”