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VA investigates verbal abuse charge against police

TAMPA — Three members of the James A. Haley VA Medical Center police force have been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into allegations they verbally abused a patient.

"There is no allegation and we have no evidence that there was any physical abuse," said John Pickens, a regional spokesman for the Veterans Health Administration.

The incident under investigation occurred on April 14 as the patient was being transferred to Tampa police custody, he said.

The patient, whose identity was not released, was arrested by VA police, accused of disrupting patient care and disrupting the chief of staff's office in the mental health clinic, Pickens said. The patient first reported the mistreatment 15 days later, on April 29.

The State Attorney's Office later dropped charges against the patient, Pickens said.

Names of police involved were not released. Pickens said the investigation will review all evidence, which includes video.

"Veterans Affairs is treating this complaint with the utmost seriousness, and will act immediately and appropriately to discipline employees and to protect the rights and safety of our patients, should that become necessary," a written statement released by the VA late Thursday said.

VA investigates verbal abuse charge against police 05/08/08 [Last modified: Friday, May 9, 2008 12:00am]
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