Harold McMillan: Austin Art/Music Mainstay Says He Got Roughed Up by HPD Officer at Memorial Hermann
Photo courtesy Harold McMillan Harold McMillan says he went to Memorial Hermann to get his dead brother's stuff, but just got roughed up by a police officer instead.
Harold McMillan is considered a gentle soul by those who know him, which is why it was out of character for him to drop the f-bomb in an exchange with a Memorial Hermann hospital guest-relations employee last week -- a poor choice of wording that, he says, resulted in him being forced face-first to the floor and arrested by a Houston police officer.
McMillan, the founder of the Austin nonprofit DiverseArts Culture Works, says he was at Memorial Hermann's Texas Medical Center location to retrieve the wallet of his brother, who had died of a heart attack a week earlier.
McMillan says he had spoken with someone at the hospital's guest services department, who told him that he could retrieve his brother's wallet at a security checkpoint near the emergency room, and that they'd have all the necessary paperwork. McMillan says he was told he could pick up the wallet any time -- the area was staffed around the clock.
But McMillan says it didn't quite go as smoothly as he had planned: He says he first spoke to security guards who couldn't find any documentation relating to his brother, so McMillan asked to speak with a supervisor. He says the supervisor told him, "We found his stuff but we're not authorized to give it to you."
McMillan suggested calling the woman in guest services he had previously spoken with, or someone else from that department.
"At that point, he started chastising me about my bad attitude," McMillan tells Hair Balls. He says the supervisor was "very disrespectfully talking down to me," and saying that he had no way of knowing if McMillan was authorized to take the wallet.
After some back and forth, which McMillan says involved him repeatedly asking to speak to the supervisor's supervisor, and the supervisor getting more frustrated that McMillan was questioning his authority and job abilities, McMillan was so perturbed that he said, "Why don't you stop acting like a fucking cop, and just let me talk to the supervisor."
Well, that did it.
The next thing that happened, according to McMillan, was that a few uniformed security guards and a Houston police officer emerged from behind the checkpoint door, with the officer telling McMillan, "We need to talk to you back here."
That's when McMillan apparently made Mistake Number Two: he asked the officer, "Can you just tell me why you need to talk to me?"
Well, that did it.
"The next thing I know, he's got his arms...through my arms and my back...and I'm up off the ground," McMillan says. The cop, per McMillan, walked him through the door, admonishing him not to "resist," and then, "the next thing I know, he slammed me to the floor, face first."
McMillan says that, while he was asking the officer if he was under arrest, and what the charge might be, the supervisor told him that this probably wouldn't have happened if McMillan didn't have a bad attitude. He also suggested that it may have turned out totally different, McMillan says, if McMillan had been wearing a suit, or at least a shirt and tie, instead of his cargo shorts and flip-flops.
McMillan was escorted to jail and charged with "interference with public duties," a misdemeanor. Specifically, the charging document reads that McMillan interfered with the officer's duty by "refusing to follow verbal commands, pulling his hands away, and refusing to put his hands behind his back."
Alex Rodriguez, Memorial Hermann's director of communications, says she was not aware of the details of the exchange between McMillan and the hospital employee.