Racist Display Prompts Investigation at Riverside Hospital

By Yvonne Beltzer and Craig Fiegenrer
|  Wednesday, Sep 12, 2012  |  Updated 8:12 PM PDT
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Sgt. David Amador with the Riverside Police Department says a display found near a Kaiser Riverside Hospital employee’s desk is

Craig Fiegener

Sgt. David Amador with the Riverside Police Department says a display found near a Kaiser Riverside Hospital employee’s desk is "very offensive" and "should not be tolerated." The department has launched an investigation into who painted a doll’s face black, scrawled a racial slur on its chest and hung it in a restricted area of the hospital where several African American employees work. The hospital has also launched an internal investigation. Craig Fiegener reports from Riverside for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Sept. 12, 2012.

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Hanging Dolls Prompt Hate Crime Investigation at Hospital

A doll with its face painted black was left hanging from a post at Kaiser Hospital Riverside where several African American employees work. IT employees say the display is racist. Craig Fiegener reports from Riverside for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Sept. 11, 2012.
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Kaiser Hospital Riverside is investigating what appears to be a racist display directed at several African-American employees who work in the hospital’s IT Department.

Update, Sept. 12, 2012: At least one employee filed a police report and the display is being investigated by the Riverside Police Department as well as the hospital. Click here to watch the video.

The staffers said they work in an area that is restricted to employees only so when Xavier Fields arrived for work he was shocked to find a doll with a racial slur across its chest hanging from a post near his work station.

"It’s somebody who works within. It’s a locked area. You don’t go back there," Fields said.

The doll had its face painted black and was dangling from a rope around its neck.

"You’re not sure what to think. I got a supervisor and I let them know what’s going on," said colleague Tyree Hale.

The employees said they did not see signs that their complaint launched an immediate investigation.

They gave the doll to a manager and said they were so stunned – even scared –they didn’t file a police report, but left it to the hospital to handle.

Kaiser issued a statement which read: “We are moving to investigate the matter and will take appropriate action. We do not tolerate any form of discrimination in our workplace and will take all appropriate measures to address the full scope of this situation.”

Still, the workers say they’re not wholly confident in the investigation.

"I’m not for sure," said Hale. "I went to the boss and let them know what was going on."

Hale said he believes the doll was aimed at him since he is the first of his co-workers to arrive at work in the morning.

Asked why he didn’t file a police report, he said, "Sometimes we just shine it off because we’re just trying to stay working and pay our bills."

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