Monday, March 03, 2008

Civil Rights Worker Dorthy Tillman Alleges Abuse by Montgomery Police

I got a news release yesterday from someone working closely with Mrs. Tillman. I asked for more details before I posted it on my blog. I assume they were very busy because the details never came. However, this morning CNN is carrying the story.

MONTGOMERY, Alabama (AP) -- Civil rights activist Dorothy Tillman claims she was brutalized by hospital security and police as she sought medical attention for her ailing aunt.

Tillman was arrested Sunday at a hospital in Montgomery, Alabama, and charged with trespassing. The arrest came after a confrontation with officials at Jackson Hospital over access to medical records for Tillman's 86-year-old aunt.

Tillman, 60, had attended a funeral Saturday morning for civil rights icon Johnnie Carr and took her aunt to the hospital that evening. Security staff were called over the records dispute, and they called police, hospital spokesman Peter Frohmader said Sunday. He declined to comment further.

In a statement, Tillman's family said she was "brutalized by Jackson Hospital Security and Montgomery Police officers.

Tillman, who is originally from Montgomery, said she was arrested and put in "leg chains and shackles."

"It was really something," she said. "They did the real police thing."

"To my knowledge at this time, we did not brutalize her in any way," said Montgomery Police Lt. Ron Cook.

Tillman, a former alderman in Chicago, Illinois, was arrested in the early morning and released less than two hours later, police Lt. Ron Cook said. A pastor posted Tillman's $300 bond, and a March 31 court date was set.

Tillman worked as a teenage civil rights activist for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and was appointed to the Chicago City Council in 1984 by Harold Washington, the city's first black mayor. She is known for having fought to make companies doing business with Chicago disclose past ties to slavery.

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