BALTIMORE, MD (CBSDFW.COM/WJZ) – A Texas cardiologist’s tweet about his daughter and her boyfriend being attacked by “a group of BLM” in Baltimore went viral — the problem is the claim was not true.
After his comments were refuted by officer body-cam footage, Dr. Andrea Natale deleted his Twitter account and issued an apology through his employer.
“I sincerely apologize for a tweet I posted this weekend. I was worried about my daughter, and I jumped to a conclusion based on the information I had at the time,” said Dr. Natale. “I’ve dedicated my entire professional career to healing people from all backgrounds, and I regret that my words created hurt and pain. It was not my intention.”
Natale, who works for the Austin-based St. David’s HealthCare System, falsely claimed that BLM protesters attacked his daughter’s car and that city police did nothing about it because the alleged attackers were Black. The tweet went viral, and was deleted but not before being garnering tens of thousands of retweets and likes.
On Sunday afternoon, Natale tweeted:
“My daughter called in tears. She was driving [with] her boyfriend in Baltimore & their car was attacked by a group of BLM. It was damaged and her boyfriend was beaten. She filmed it & called the police but they cannot do anything [because] they are African American. Is this the America we want?”
The tweet, which was posted around 1:12 p.m., had more than 7,600 retweets and 12,000 likes by 11 p.m.
On Wednesday, Baltimore police released body camera footage of their interaction with Natale’s daughter.
In the video, you hear the daughter tell the arriving officer what happened: a group of ‘squeegee kids’ attacked the car after she declined their window washing services.
“I have video of it,” she said to the officer. “The kid came to wipe the windshield and we politely said ‘no’ and they started yelling at us.”
Her boyfriend told police when he got out of the car to confront the kid, he was surrounded by a group and threatened with a knife after he said he would defend himself.
They said then the teens ran off and some began throwing rocks at the car, damaging it.
The police officer asked if any of the teens who attacked them were nearby, but the man said they were not. The officer then told the remaining squeegee kids at the scene to move on before he writes the report.
“I’m sorry this happened, it happens every single day. I’m here today, tomorrow it’s another officer,” the officer explained to them. “To be honest the city doesn’t want us to engage with squeegee boys, our hands are tied.” The officer told the couple to complain to City Hall, adding that “it’s sad,” because even if he finds the kid, he cannot arrest him since it’s a misdemeanor.
The officer took the couple’s information and re-watched their video so he could try to find the teen suspect. So called squeegee kids are mostly young people who use squeegees and washcloths to clean the windshields of vehicles stopped in traffic and then solicit or demand money from drivers.
He told the couple if he finds him, he would give them a call so that they could file charges.
Back in Texas, St. David’s HealthCare issued a statement saying it “takes great pride in caring for and serving its community. The healthcare system has long been dedicated to providing exceptional care to every patient every day – and that care is based on a foundation of inclusion, compassion and respect for everyone.”
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