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Palm Coast Friday, May 26, 2017 2 years ago

Hospital shuts down section after man goes on social media tirade about 'Muslim doctors,' threatens facility

Lorenzo Dow Fields, 68, threatened Florida Hospital Flagler May 23, according to Sheriff's Office reports. He had repeatedly posted racist, anti-Muslim and anti-gay material on his Facebook page in the past.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

Florida Hospital Flagler shut down one area of the facility for safety reasons May 23 after a man made death threats and anti-Muslim comments on the hospital's Facebook page because the hospital employs Muslim doctors.

A hospital security guard called the Flagler County Sheriff's Office about the comments, which had been made by 68-year-old Lorenzo Dow Fields, a resident of Palm Coast's Bay Road, according to a case report. The same man had in 2015 made a series of threatening, vulgar and slur-laced calls to city of Palm Coast and Flagler County government workers about a high city water bill.

The guard showed a deputy "several pages of comments made by (Fields) stating that the hospital employs Muslim doctor’s (sic) and that they are killing people," according to the deputy's case report. Other posts by Fields called the Muslim doctors incompetent. The comments included death threats, and one threat had been made by Fields that morning, according to dispatch notes.

While dispatch notes from the call from the security guard to the Sheriff's Office's administrative line state that the hospital had Fields' "threats talk about killing people," the deputy's case report doesn't specify the nature of the threats or quote the comments Fields made on the hospital's Facebook page.

No comments by Fields, who'd been a patient at the hospital, were visible on the hospitals' Facebook page as of May 26. But Fields' personal Facebook page is replete with comments, many typed in all capital letters, denigrating Muslims and calling for violence against them.

One comment states that Muslims "gather in large groups" on Muslim holidays, and says that "citizens must attack Islam" and that if white Americans "arms (sic) them selves (sic). and follow a strict plan Islam could be defeated when they gather on any Muslim holiday. Follow the time zones and eliminate (sic). Islam in a single day." Other comments call Islam a "organized gang ... vowing to kill all whites." 

Still other comments by Fields denigrate all racial minorities, calling whites "superior" to non-whites and mocking physical characteristics of minority ethnic groups in vulgar language; others use anti-gay slurs. 

The hospital security guard told the deputy that in addition to making comments on the hospital's Facebook page, "(Fields) called into Florida Hospital Flagler stating that he was going to come into the Hospital and make some sort of scene," according to the case report.

Because of Fields' comments, according to the report, "(the guard) was forced to shut down an area of the hospital for safety."

The case report does not specify what part of the hospital was closed or for how long.

After Florida Hospital Flagler blocked Fields from commenting on its Facebook page, Fields began messaging other hospitals in the area, according to the report.

The deputy, at the request of the hospital, went to Fields' home and served a trespass order ordering Fields to stay off the hospital's property. A Sheriff's Office spokeswoman was not able to immediately clarify what impact the trespass order would have should Fields require emergency medical treatment at the hospital.

Although the Sheriff's Office call record mentions that Fields' "threats talk about killing people," and the case report lists the incident type as "threats," the incident report does not specify what any of those threats were, and Fields is not being charged with making threats.

"I just think that our deputy did not find that there was cause to pursue it," Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Laura Williams said. "It doesn't seem to rise to the level of probable cause to press charges. ... We feel confident that we’ve taken all the action we can take."

The hospital, separately, could decide to press charges against Fields, Williams said. 

The investigating deputy wrote in the case report that he met with Fields at Fields' request to explain to Fields why he was being served the tresspass order. When the deputy told Fields to stop making the comments against the hospitals, "(Fields) stated that he would not stop making the comments and shut his door," according to the case report.

By the time the deputy left, "The warning was thoroughly explained and further contact is not needed," the dispatch notes state.

Florida Hospital spokesman Craig Bair said the hospital's administration is continuing to monitor its Facebook page for any further threatening comments, and that it notified security staff and hospital supervisors about the threat.

Does the hospital administration feel that the potential threat has been dealt with sufficiently? "To the best of our knowledge, yes," Bair said. Bair said he was not aware of any plans by the hospital to press charges against Fields.

At the hospital, he said, "We constantly train ... with our staff on how to deal with those types of patients." 



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