Rev. Al Sharpton's Group Stands by Nurse Suing Hospital for Racism

The National Action Network is demanding justice for Tonya Battle, who says a hospital did not allow African-American nurses to care for a newborn, upon a father's request.

Posted: 02/20/2013 12:30 PM EST

Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network is demanding justice for Tonya Battle, a veteran nurse who is suing Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan, for complying with a father's request to not let African-American nurses care for his newborn. 

Rev. Charles Williams II, president of the group's Michigan chapter, wants the hospital to agree to sensitivity training for staff and disciplinary actions for Battle's supervisor.

The nurse said in her lawsuit that the hospital posted a note on a chart stating, “No African-American nurse to take care of baby,” according to the Detroit Free Press. She also states she was caring for the infant at the time the request was made.

Detroit News reports:

In a statement Tuesday, a spokeswoman for Hurley Medical Center disputed the claim made in a lawsuit by nurse Tonya Battle over the alleged October incident in the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit.

"Upon making his demand, (the father) then showed Nurse Battle's supervisor his swastika tattoo, which created anger and outrage in our staff," hospital spokeswoman Ilene Cantor said.

"This resulted in concern by supervisors for the safety of the staff," she said. "The father was informed that his request could not be granted."

Cantor also said in the statement that the medical center "looks forward to a quick and amicable resolution."

Battle's attorney, Julie Gafkay, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Williams said his group wants the hospital to agree to sensitivity training for the staff and discipline for the supervisor in the case and to reach a settlement that will benefit Battle, a 25-year nurse at the hospital.

Read the full story here.

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(Photo: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

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