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Barbara Dawson died after collapsing in a police car that was parked outside of a hospital entrance.

May, 31, 2016

A Florida police officer has been cleared of all charges in the December death of Barbara Dawson, a 57-year-old Black woman who died after she was removed from a hospital and denied medical attention, despite her repeated pleas.

The Tallahassee Democrat reports that State’s Attorney Glenn Hess found Officer John Tadlock not guilty in Dawson’s death.

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“The State Attorney’s Office is closing this case with a finding that the actions of [Officer] John Tadlock were appropriate under the circumstances and there was no criminal law violation,” Hess wrote.

Dawson was admitted to a hospital the night of December 20 when she complained of a pain in her abdomen. However, shortly after her admission, police were called because she reportedly became unruly. Tadlock handcuffed her and placed her in the back of a police car, despite the fact that she was repeatedly telling him that she couldn’t breathe and begging him not to take her oxygen. Dash cam audio captures Tadlock telling her he doesn’t want to hurt her, but he will be taking her to jail. 

After a few minutes, Dawson collapses. Tadlock, along with a growing group of hospital staff who had gathered in the parking lot to watch the scene, thought that she was faking. It wasn’t until a doctor came out 20 minutes later and demanded that she be readmitted. She died the following morning of a blood clot in her lungs.

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According to Blountstown Police Chief Mark Mallory, Tadlock’s actions were compliant with doctors’ orders, who reportedly didn’t believe that Dawson was in danger.

“The loss of anybody’s loved one is still a tragedy,” Mallory said. “I just don’t believe that there was any action by the police that led to any of Ms. Dawson’s conditions.” 

Dawson’s family has not commented on the ruling.