AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin-based physician leader has issued an apology after he falsely accused Black Lives Matter protesters of attacking his daughter, and her boyfriend, in Baltimore.
In a since-deleted post on Twitter Sunday, Dr. Andrea Natale, the executive medical director of the Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute at St. David’s Medical Center, said that his daughter and her boyfriend were driving in Baltimore when “their car was attacked by a group of BLM” and that his daughter’s boyfriend was “beaten.” He went on to say that police couldn’t do anything because the people who approached his daughter’s car “are African American.” KXAN can not confirm their race based on body camera footage released by the Baltimore Police Department.
Natale posed the question: “Is this the America we want?” The post was shared more than 18,000 times before the account was deleted.
Police body camera footage shows an officer discussing the incident with a woman and a man, presumably Natale’s daughter and her boyfriend, though a police report hasn’t been released.
The man in the body camera footage told an officer that the couple declined to have their windshield cleaned by people on the street when an argument ensued. He said he got out of the car and that three men surrounded him. The man said he informed the group that he had a knife, then alleged one of the “squeegee boys” pulled out a knife of his own.
“I guess I scared them off, so there wasn’t any physical touching on me or them,” the man told an officer.
The man told police that the “squeegee boys” threw rocks at their car, damaging the driver’s side mirror. The woman showed a cell phone video to the responding officer, who can be heard in the video telling the couple that the City of Baltimore has told police not to engage with the “squeegee boys.”
There is no indication in the video that the incident was connected to the Black Lives Matter movement or recent protests. No one involved in the incident was physically harmed, according to accounts shared with the responding officer.
Natale issued the following statement, through a St. David’s HealthCare spokesperson:
“I sincerely apologize for a tweet I posted this weekend. 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.”Andrea Natale, M.D.
A spokesperson for St. David’s HealthCare did not respond to questions from KXAN regarding whether Natale was disciplined for his statement, and it would not provide the health system’s social media policy.
The spokesperson provided the following statement:
“St. David’s HealthCare takes great pride in caring for and serving its community. The healthcare system has long been dedicated to providing exceptional care to every patient every day – and that care is based on a foundation of inclusion, compassion and respect for everyone.”St. David’s HealthCare statement on Dr. Andrea Natale’s comments on social media
Natale’s publicly-available Texas Medical Board file does not show any disciplinary actions against his license in Texas or in other states.