A Texas cardiologist has apologized for tweeting that his daughter and her boyfriend were attacked by a Black Lives Matter group in Baltimore.
In a tweet on Sunday, Dr. Andrea Natale accused police of refusing to investigate the issue further because the suspects were Black, The Baltimore Sun reports.
“My daughter called in tears. She was driving w her boyfriend in Baltimore & their car was attacked by a group of BLM. It was damaged & her BF was beaten. She filmed it & called the police but they cannot do anything bc they are African American,” Natale tweeted.
someone got a PRINT! pic.twitter.com/CNzY1lgDgl
— Nasty Stalkerella VOTE HIM OUT! (@eye_picard) September 15, 2020
After Natale posted the now-deleted accusation, a swell of critics emerged including a Twitter account called Scan The Police // Baltimore City. The page unleashed an audio file and transcripts of a 911 dispatcher’s call with the responding officer indicating no one affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement was present.
In police body camera footage obtained by The Baltimore Sun, the couple is heard explaining to an officer that they were attacked after declining to have their windshield cleaned by squeegee washers. The man informed police that when he got out of the car, three people approached and surrounded him.
"Sorry, they told us there’s an armed person," the police dispatcher said. "What it is is the squeegees at Lombard and President, this lady Veronica’s calling and says, 'They are attacking the car.' She thinks one of them pulled a knife."
“I said, ‘I will defend myself, I do have a knife on me,'" the man told the officer. "And the other guy pulled out his knife and was like, ‘I have a knife too.’”
The pair tells the officer that the people with squeegees started throwing rocks at them and asked what actions can be taken against the youth.
“To be honest, the city doesn’t want us to engage with squeegee boys,” an officer said. “It’s illegal to be in the street, but the city doesn’t want us to," he said before the audio trials off.
The officer ended the conversation by saying he would try to locate the group.
On Tuesday, St. David’s Medical Center in Texas released a statement on the doctor's behalf, saying that he apologized for the pain he caused.
“I was worried about my daughter, and I jumped to conclusion based on the information I had at the time,” Natale's statement read. “I’ve dedicated my entire professional career to healing people from all backgrounds, and I regret that my words were misinterpreted and created hurt and pain. It was not my intention.”
Dr. Andrea Natale, Texas cardiac specialist who falsely accused members of Black Lives Matter of attacking his daughter in Baltimore has issued a statement, according to the healthcare system he works for, St David's HealthCare pic.twitter.com/didPhIS69s
— Jayne Miller (@jemillerwbal) September 15, 2020
In the future, Baltimore's public fact-checking efforts may find more difficulty in bringing injustice to light as the city's police continue to enact a plan to encrypt the police radio.
According to The Sun, City Councilman Yitzy Schleifer announced upgrades earlier this month to the police department's radio systems that included encrypting conversations which would restrict public access to audio information.
Baltimore police radio upgrades also include encrypting scanner traffic and prohibiting it to “established media” that agree to abide by approved police guidelines. The radio upgrade has been in development since a new contract was approved in December and was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, The Sun reports.