Texas doctor apologizes for tweet falsely accusing protesters of attacking daughter

A renowned Texas doctor who previously taught at both Stanford and Duke universities on Tuesday apologized after accusing Black Lives Matter protesters of threatening his daughter and physically attacking her boyfriend.

BuzzFeed News reported that a now-deleted tweet from Andrea Natale claimed that his daughter and her boyfriend were “attacked by a group of BLM,” apparently referring to protesters, in Baltimore. The tweet also claimed that his daughter’s boyfriend was “beaten” during the incident, and their car was damaged.

Audio of a police dispatch call shared by a Twitter user as well as body camera footage obtained by BuzzFeed News from the perspective of a responding officer revealed that the claims made in Natale’s tweet were false: His daughter and her boyfriend had been instead involved in a minor confrontation with several so-called “squeegee kids,” young predominantly Black men or children who panhandle on Baltimore roads by offering to wash car windows.

During the incident, his daughter’s boyfriend had not been beaten but instead had exited the vehicle and demanded the young men stop washing his car, before telling them that he had a knife. One of the young men responded, “I’ve got a fucking knife, too,” before the confrontation ended without any physical contact. One of the boys allegedly threw a rock or other object at the car’s mirror after the confrontation, damaging it.

BuzzFeed reported that Natale apologized in a statement Tuesday afternoon to the outlet provided by St. David’s Medical Center in Austin, where he serves as executive director of the hospital’s Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute. 

“I sincerely apologize for a tweet I posted this weekend,” Natale said. “I was worried about my daughter, and I jumped to a conclusion based on the information I had at the time. I’ve dedicated my entire professional career to healing people from all backgrounds, and I regret that my words were misinterpreted and created hurt and pain. It was not my intention.”

Natale’s tweet had also alleged that responding officers had refused to make an arrest over the incident because the suspects were Black, body camera footage revealed that the police did not mention race but instead claimed that city officials were urging them to not “engage with squeegee boys,” while adding that they would attempt to find the person who had damaged the car’s mirror so that charges could be filed against them.

“If I do [locate them],” the officer said, “I’ll give you a call back and you can go file charges against that kid.”

The incident comes as Baltimore and cities around the country have seen demonstrations occurring for months against police brutality and racism following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police custody on Memorial Day.

Some conservatives and allies of President Trump have pointed to instances of violence in some cities as evidence that the wide protests are in support of lawlessness or anarchy.

Baltimore was previously consumed by protests with some moments of violence in 2015 following the death of Freddie Gray, a Black man whose neck and spine were injured while he was in custody in the back of a police vehicle.

Tags Black Lives Matter Donald Trump racial injustice Twitter

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