Investigation underway after Tennessee nurse claims she was racially profiled by officer
An investigation is underway after a middle Tennessee nurse claims she was racially profiled by an officer while working in Williamson County.
Stephanie Dash said she's been working as a home health nurse for three years and "never experienced" anything like this in her career. Now, Dash's company filed a report and the Williamson County Sheriff's Office has started an investigation.
According to Dash, she was providing in-home care to a patient and doing an assessment when she noticed someone "peeping" into the windows and knocking on the door.
Dash says she asked if the patient wanted her to answer the door. The patient said yes.
Dash was greeted by a sheriff's deputy and another man she says was not an officer. Dash was asked where the patient was to which she replied, "she's in the living room."
The officer followed Dash into the living room where the nurse continued with giving care. Dash claims she was interrupted and the officer asked the patient who Dash was.
“I understand that she had a job to do but once she got that verification of who I was and that I was supposed to be there I don’t feel like there was any need for her to continue to question my patient,” Dash said.
The patient said Dash was her home health nurse. The officer then revealed that she was responding to a call about someone looking "suspicious" in the neighborhood who wasn't "supposed to be there." Dash said again, her patient confirms the nurse was supposed to be there.
"I had nursing equipment, my work bag with my company logo on it, I had on scrubs and everything, stethoscope hanging from my neck, she still was not convinced," Dash wrote.
Dash then went to her car and retrieved her ID but says the officer was not convinced. At that point, Dash called her company.
"Immediately I request my boss, with the phone on speaker my boss immediately asked, 'Are y'all saying she looked suspicious because she's black?'"
The officer allegedly said no, they just wanted "to know what she was doing in the neighborhood."
Dash's boss reportedly said, "Well, she's one of my best nurses and she's out giving back to the community and providing care to people so they can continue to live at home and avoid being put back in the hospital,and she has every right to do that."
When Dash asked for her ID back, the nurse claims the officer jerked her hand back and refused for a few minutes before handing it back.
“You were harassing me and I felt like I wasn’t supposed to be in an area period,” Dash said.
Dash says she went back inside the home to care for her patient but was, again, interrupted by the officer continuing to ask the patent if Dash is supposed to be there.
Packing up all of her stuff out of frustration, Dash tried to leave only to see two more sheriff's cruisers pull up to the home.
"Even though no crime had been committed," Dash wrote. The nurse asked an officer to move their car because she had more patients to see, but was told she could not leave.
After about five minutes, Dash said she was able to leave, with the officer watching her leave the neighborhood.
"Not only did you interrupt my patient care that she needed more than once, you also delayed me from getting to other patients in need,all for what? You were never once satisfied with the confirmation of who I was, you continued to try and manipulate my patient into saying that I was not supposed to be in her house, you wanted me to be a criminal, you didn't want me to be a nurse and you definitely did not want me in that neighborhood," Dash wrote. "The treatment you gave was uncalled for, the way you handled the situation was unprofessional, your attitude was disrespectful, you are a racist, treating innocent people like they don't have the right to be in certain areas, I honestly don't feel like you deserve a badge."
Dash's company has filed a report and the Williamson County Sheriff's Office is looking into whether there is video or audio from the call.
The WCSO says the officer was responding to a suspicious person call after someone in the neighborhood reported seeing someone go from house to house.
The company Dash works for issued the following statement to FOX 17 News:
"Amedisys stands behind and supports Stephanie Dash and all of our more than 12,000 clinicians who make 35,000 patients visits in the home each day. We believe all of our clinicians, including Ms. Dash, should be able to visit the homes of our patients to provide the highest quality of care without undue interference or profiling.
We also respect and appreciate the role local law enforcement plays in keeping our communities safe. We are confident that the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department will investigate this situation and take whatever action is appropriate.
Our top priority now – and always – is taking care of our patients here in Tennessee."