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Police Change Account Of Disturbance That Put North Memorial Hospital On Lockdown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The Minneapolis NAACP is demanding a review and investigation into the arrest of a man at North Memorial Medical Center.

Police say the hospital was on lockdown Thursday night after a fight involving 50 to 75 people. Robbinsdale police and six additional agencies were called to help restore order.

The arrested man, John Thompson, recorded the interaction with officers. Thompson was there to check on a family member who was being treated in the emergency room. He was then arrested for trespassing and obstruction of justice.

Monday, Thompson's lawyer says his client's arrest and charges are unjust.

Officers Responding To Alleged Fight At North Memorial Medical Center
Officers responding to alleged fight at North Memorial Medical Center (credit: John Thompson)

"This how they treat you at North Memorial hospital!" Thompson said in his cellphone video while inside the hospital.

He says he was met with a wall of officers when he tried to check on a loved one at North Memorial last Thursday night.

"Calm down? I'm talking to my phone, not you," Thompson said. "Don't send insensitivity to a sensitive issue. This is insensitivity."

Thompson admits the family was emotional, and says police were disrespectful.

READ MORE: 'It Was Chaotic': Fight Puts North Memorial Medical Center On Lockdown

"The video shows only a handful of people who were there to see a loved one, and it shows a security guard calling for police help in response to him just complaining to the security guard that he is being disrespectful," said Thompson's attorney, Joseph Kushner.

Robbinsdale police say they were responding to a call for help. They say family members and friends began arguing and at least one fight turned physical. At least seven agencies responded to deal with the crowd police say was 50 to 75 people.

Kushner says his client's video tells a different story.

"He was a man of color who's just trying to stand up for his rights, and asking to be treated respectfully, and then told by a police sergeant that he was an idiot," Kushner said.

North Memorial Medical Center Fight
Several squad cars parked outside of North Memorial (credit: Michael Wolden)

Kushner says he has not seen any evidence there was a fight.

"I have made a request to the city prosecutor for all videos and reports and any other evidence about what happened, and I've also served a subpoena on the hospital for all video and documentation of what happened," Kushner said.

WCCO also requested video from the hospital. North Memorial sent this statement:

Our staff and our law enforcement partners responded quickly and effectively to de-escalate an emotionally-charged gathering. They did so without any injury to patients, family or staff.

Robbinsdale police say Monday that while there were reports of 50 to 75 people involved, anyone fighting had left before officers got there. And there was no large brawl in one area. Instead, police say there were disturbances in different areas of the hospital.

Thompson's attorney is fighting to have the charges dropped.

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