Disability Rights Advocate Taken To Hospital After Protest At Senator's Office

Jun 27, 2017

A woman was taken to the hospital Monday afternoon after she says U.S. marshals dragged her out of a protest at Senator Todd Young’s Indianapolis office.

Northwest Indiana resident Lorrell Kilpatrick had traveled to Indianapolis with members of the grassroots disability rights advocacy group ADAPT to protest Medicaid cuts under the Senate’s prospective Affordable Care Act replacement bill.

Kilpatrick, who explains she is blind in one eye and who has a bone spur in her knee, says protestors who had been welcomed into Todd Young’s office at the Birch Bayh Federal Building were later forcibly removed by U.S. marshals.

“All of a sudden, a lot of large men came bursting in, people started to chant because it looked like it was going to get pretty aggressive,” she says.

According to U.S. Marshals Deputy Chief of Public Affairs Michelle Coghill, the marshals received a call about a disturbance in Senator Young’s office. Both marshals and court security officers “responded to approximately 15 protestors who were disobeying posted ordinances about allowable conduct in the courthouse.”

Kilpatrick says a man reached across her body to try to take her phone and then dragged her from behind out the door, injuring her bad knee.

A spokesman from Young’s office referred questions to the U.S. Marshals Service but says the protesters were being loud and disruptive.

Kilpatrick says the marshals started pulling people in their wheelchairs down the hall and said they needed to leave or would be threatened with arrest.

“It was an amazing amount of violence,” she says.

Coghill says officials asked the protesters several times to “cease their disorderly conduct.” When they didn’t obey, “USMS personnel peacefully escorted the individuals out of the courthouse.”

Kilpatrick, who remained on the floor while others were escorted out, says she refused to be touched by officials who tried to lift her up. “They attempted to move me physically,” she says. “I said, you’re not medical personnel, I don’t want you to touch me.”

She says she was taken by an ambulance to a hospital but declined treatment. Kilpatrick says she doesn’t know what hospital she was taken to. She was picked up from the hospital by a friend.

The U.S. Marshals Service is responsible for the security of federal judiciary buildings, including the Bayh Building.

Constituents are allowed to visit Young’s office in the Bayh building.

Kilpatrick says she’s more determined than ever to advocate against threats to Medicaid, calling the efforts to cut back funds “legislative violence’.”

“If my disability gets any worse, at my age, Medicaid is going to be my only option,” she says.

ADAPT chapters across the nation have been protesting the Senate's healthcare bill, saying its cuts to Medicaid would directly affect freedoms provided by community care and home-based services and potentially force people with disabilities into institutions.