Blind man says he was kicked out of VCU Medical Center for waiting too long

Blind man says he was kicked out of VCU Medical Center for waiting too long

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A Richmond man reached out to 12 On Your Side after he says he was made to leave the lobby of VCU Medical Center and go out onto the street to wait for a ride, even though he is blind and had no idea where he was.

On Your Side Investigator Eric Philips looked into the man's claims and tracked down authorities for answers.

Adolphus Williams says he went to a doctor's appointment at VCU Medical Center in downtown Richmond back in November. When his appointment was over, he was waiting in the lobby for a ride with a medical transportation provider. He says he'd been waiting for about 45 minutes when VCU officers approached him.

"Here these officers come talking about I was here too long and started questioning me about why I was here," Williams said. "I showed them my paperwork about why I was here."

He said the officer started talking to him about recent break-ins in the building.

"Kept saying it's his property, can't stay on my property and I gotta leave off of his property," Williams said. "I let them know I was blind, he even saw my blind stick."

Williams says before he knew it, the officers shuffled him out of the building and onto a bench outside. He said he could hear traffic around him but didn't really know where he was, and because he cannot see, he became afraid.

"I wasn't safe at all," Williams said. "It's a funny feeling, and you feel vulnerable when you're blind and you can't see what's going on and you're unfamiliar with the place where you're at. Then I decided to call back to the nurse's station, and then they found me and brought me back in."

The nurses also called VCU police to complain about what happened. Mr. Williams called 12 On Your Side because he wanted an answer to one simple question:

"Why?" Williams questions. "I feel like being blind, I was a target on the street."

On Your Side Investigator Eric Philips reached out to VCU and got a statement from the university's Police Chief, John Venuti, which said in part:

In an effort to help [Mr. Williams], the officer also spoke on the phone with... the transportation service to determine when Mr. Williams would be picked up. The officer assisted Mr. Williams to a nearby bench at Broad and 12th Streets to make it easier for the driver to locate Mr. Williams.

The statement goes on to say that police "determined that the officer acted appropriately."

Williams says after the university sent 12 On Your Side that statement, police contacted him apologizing for the incident and told him they should have let him stay in the lobby.

Williams says the apology is all well and good, he just hopes this doesn't happen to anyone else.

"I mean, I've been coming down here for years and never been no problem," Williams said. "Why I have to go in the street and wait on a ride. I was just afraid of being out there alone, by myself being blind."

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