Protesters gathered in Knoxville, Tennessee, on Monday to demand justice for Lisa Edwards, a 60-year-old woman who died after suffering a stroke in the back of a Knoxville police patrol car. Edwards was arrested on February 5 on trespassing charges after she refused to leave a local hospital following her discharge. At the time of her arrest, she was still wearing her hospital gown. Police bodycam video shows she repeatedly told officers she needed medical care, saying, “I’m going to have a stroke,” and “I can’t breathe.”
Lisa Edwards: “Oh my god.”
Police officer: “You’ve been medically cleared, so let’s get in.”
Lisa Edwards: “May I please stop? I can’t even breathe.”
Police officer: “Yes, ma’am, you’re going to have to get in there.”
Lisa Edwards: “My ankle. I can’t breathe.”
Police officer: “That was your — you’ve been medically cleared, ma’am. This is not going to work. So we need you to help us.”
Lisa Edwards: “My hand, it hurts.”
Police officer: “Ma’am, you need to get in there.”
At another point, Lisa Edwards can be heard telling the Knoxville police officers, “You guys are going to let me die.” One officer can be heard dismissing her warning, saying, “It’s all an act.” Instead of bringing her back inside the hospital, officers placed her in the back of a patrol car, where she became unresponsive. Eventually she was brought back to the same hospital, Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. She was then placed on life support and died the following day. In an interview on WVLT in Knoxville, her son decried how the police treated his mother.
Tim Boylan: “I can’t even wrap my head around it. I just don’t see how somebody could treat someone like that. Like, they — they treated her like she’s trash.”
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