West VA Sheriff Refused CPR, Gay Man Dies, Civil Rights Case Moves Forward

Back in March, we reported on the West Virigina Sheriff who denied CPR to a dying gay man under the pretext that the man was HIV+.  The man, Claude Greene, died later that evening at a local hospital.  Greene's friend was present at the scene but was physically prevented from performing CPR by Robert K. Bowman, Sheriff of Welch, West Virginia.  Greene's mother filed a federal lawsuit claiming her son's civil rights had been violated along with a myriad of other chages, including a violation under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In late December, the federal court ruled that the case could move forward:

Significant issues remain to be sorted out in this litigation, but at this initial stage, Faber's ruling permits the case to go forward on the basis that the estate may have a valid federal civil rights claim against the city and Bowman for the way in which Green was treated on the day of his fatal heart attack.

It is a complicated situation and far more legalistic than I can pretend to understand.  Bowman's folks claimed that since Greene was dead, there was no reason for a civil rights case. Bowman's folks also seem to claim that he prevented bystanders from performing CPR out of concerns about HIV transmission.  The federal judge noted that there is no record that performing CPR on an HIV+ person would present a transmission risk. 

The bastard was willing to let the wrongful death move forward.   Fortunately, the judge cleared the way for the whole kit and kaboodle.

Did I mention that Greene was not HIV+?  Nope, he was just gay. And, thankfully, the idiot responsible for his death could pay the price for his bigotry and hate. 

Sadly, Claude Greene has already paid the ultimate price for it.


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