In 2019, a $1.3 million settlement was reached with a Black man who was arrested while suffering from a stroke. The city of Boston paid the money to Al Copeland about two years after he was wrongly convicted of being intoxicated, according to various local news agencies.
Copeland was driving when he felt nauseated and pulled over near the Berklee School of Music, where he sat virtually unconscious in his vehicle for two hours, according to newly obtained papers. Officers approached him and placed him on arrest after they discovered him there. Authorities stated the 62-year-old reeked of alcohol, according to court documents.
They had no idea that the man had been sober for 20 hours and was actually having a stroke. He was escorted to the police station, where he struggled to stand, stumbled, and struck his head against a cell wall before vomiting. He was then taken to Tufts Medical Center, where he was also suspected of being inebriated.
Doctors confirmed Copeland suffered a stroke after seven hours in the medical department, clearing out cops’ suspicions that he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Following his stroke, he spent weeks in the hospital, was unable to walk or perform some jobs, and eventually had to leave his work.
Copeland’s attorney contacted the city of Boston after the terrible event, sparking an internal inquiry that revealed a series of errors, including the officers’ delayed response to Copeland’s mishap in the cell. Authorities offered to pay the $1.3 million compensation right away.
In addition to the monetary compensation, the 62-year-old has gotten an apology from Tufts, which has not only employed social workers to aid patients with communication difficulties but has also taken steps to address healthcare disparities. However, no cops have been charged as a result of the incident, and the city of Boston and Boston police have kept silent on the subject.