Southgate Manor, an African-American owned nursing home in Southgate, Mich., has suspended all of its Black male workers over an allegation that one of them raped a patient, Fox 2 News Detroit reports.
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Nether the racial identity nor the age of the patient who made the claim is known at this point. What is known is that the nursing home took all of its Black male workers off the job while it investigates the claim, which was made on Oct. 8. When Fox 2 went to the facility to ask about the decision to suspend its employees based on race, the manager told the reporter that no official statement was available.
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That manager referred the news crew to Reginald Hartsfield, the president and owner of Advantage Medical Group. Hartsfield, who owns eight nursing homes around the metro Detroit area, including Southgate Manor, said in a phone interview that he is simply trying to do the right thing to ensure safety. “I get a description of the alleged assailant, we suspend the people that fit that description, and in this particular case the description was vague and basically they said it was a black male,” said Hartsfield by phone to Fox 2. “Temporary suspension with pay while we conduct our investigation.” Though, Hartfield’s reasoning is not fairing too well with Black people living in the area–including a brother and sister whose father is a resident of Southgate Manor. Here is what they had to say about the race-based suspensions:
“That’s shocking to me,” said Deadra Clemens. “Very disrespectful against black people,” Gary Clemens said. Their father is a resident of Southgate Manor. Deadra even worked there at one time. “They don’t have (any) proof,” Deadra Clemens remarked. “You can’t go off what one of the residents say. Who knows if she (has) Alzheimer’s, dementia or if she was in her right mind.” “Do an investigation and then I say find out who really did it,” said Gary Clemens. “Don’t just suspend every black man.”
Though Hartsfield said that he would have made the same decision if the alleged description of suspect was a White man or a woman. “I’m a black male myself, so I know how it sounds, but also as a nursing home administrator, I know what our regulations are and what we have to do,” he said. Fox 2 said that their legal analyst believes that the Black male workers may have strong case for a lawsuit because the decision to suspend them was based on race.