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Four Tops Singer Sues Hospital For Putting Him In Straightjacket After He Claimed He's Famous

Alexander Morris
Lorne Thomson/Redferns/Getty Images

Alexander Morris, who has been with the Motown group since 2019, is suing Ascension Macomb Oakland Hospital in Michigan for forcing him to undergo a psychiatric evaluation after they didn't believe he was actually a member of the Four Tops.

Four Tops singer Alexander Morris is suing Ascension Macomb Oakland Hospital in Michigan for racial discrimination after they allegedly forced him to undergo a psychiatric evaluation because they didn't believe he was a member of the Motown group.

According to the lawsuit, Morris, who has a history of cardiovascular disease, was rushed to the hospital's emergency room after experiencing chest pains and difficulty breathing while on tour with the Four Tops.

He told the hospital staff that he was a member of the band as a precaution because of "current security concerns due to stalkers and fans" but was dismissed as "delusional."

The suit goes on to claim the workers then took him off oxygen and forced him to complete a psychiatric evaluation. Though Morris continued to request oxygen, his pleas were "ignored" and the singer was put in a restraining jacket.

He asked for restraints to be removed so he could seek help at a different hospital but to no avail.

Morris also claimed a security guard told him to "sit his Black a** down” after he was asked to prove his identify using his ID.

When his wife arrived at the hospital, Morris explained the situation to her. Though she confirmed his identity to the staff, they only believed him after they were shown a video of him performing at the Grammy Awards.

The psychiatric evaluation was then canceled and the restraint was removed and Morris was then given the oxygen he had been asking for.

He was later diagnosed with a heart infraction that may require a heart transplant, as well as pneumonia. According to the complaint, he also suffered three seizures.

The singer was offered a $25 gift card to a local superstore "as an apology" but he would not accept it.

In a statement to PEOPLE, Morris' attorneys Maurice Davis and Jasmine Rand said:

“When our client presented to the hospital he was racially profiled."
"The hospital staff and security guard were quicker to assume Mr. Morris was psychotic than successful because he was a Black man."
“Even if he was mentally ill he was still in the middle of a clear medical emergency that necessitated swift medical intervention."
"The hospital had no excuse to deny him emergency medical treatment.”

Morris himself issued a statement, shared by his attorneys, in which he described the situation as "terrifying."

“I see all of these posts on social media like ‘driving while black,’ ‘walking while black,’ but I never imagined I would become a victim of ‘being sick while Black.'"
“The hospital never fired the security guard that told me to sit my Black ass down. Clearly they condone racism. I filed the lawsuit to hold the hospital accountable for the way I was treated and to protect the younger generations from racism in healthcare.”

People on social media learning of the lawsuit shared their outrage that Morris was treated so terribly by hospital staff.

Others pointed out that Morris' experience is yet another example of the inequity and systematic discrimination faced by Black people, noting the healthcare system has historically treated people of color unjustly.

Morris, who joined the Four Tops in 2019, is seeking more than $75,000 and a trial by jury following the April 2023 incident, per PEOPLE.

Along with Ascension Macomb Oakland Hospital, a nurse and a security guard are also listed as defendants. The security guard who made the racist comment, however, died in September from a ruptured aorta.

An Ascension spokesperson told PEOPLE in a statement:

"The health, safety and well-being of our patients, associates and community members remains our top priority."
“We remain committed to honoring human dignity and acting with integrity and compassion for all persons and the community."
"We do not condone racial discrimination of any kind."
"We will not comment on pending litigation."

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