Republican Rep. Ronny Jackson of Texas was handcuffed and placed on the ground face-first by local law enforcement while he was trying to assist a teenage girl in medical distress at a rodeo over the weekend, according to a witness who spoke to CNN.
In a Facebook post, Linda Dianne Shouse, a home healthcare and traveling nurse, said her 15-year-old relative was “seizing due to possible hypoglycemia” Saturday night at the White Deer rodeo, about 45 miles northeast of Amarillo, Texas. Jackson represents the Amarillo area and was an attendee at the rodeo.
Shouse said she and another family member, who is also a nurse, were attending to the girl when Jackson, who is an ER physician, stepped in to assist. Shouse said she didn’t know Jackson was a congressman at the time but told CNN they were all working together to help the teen girl.
“We were just waiting for EMS to get there. The police came up, the deputies, highway patrol, and everyone was just screaming, ‘Get back, get back, get back,’” she said during an interview.
Shouse said she was pushed back and then punched in the chest by a woman and said she saw a law enforcement official screaming in Jackson’s face, telling him to “Get the f**k back.”
“He was trying to tell them that he was a doctor and probably trying to tell him who he was, to be honest. And they were screaming that they did not effing care who he was,” she said. “And the next thing I knew, they had him on the ground, grabbed him by the shirt, threw him on the ground, face first into the concrete and had him in cuffs.”
Shouse said once they realized Jackson was a congressman and doctor, they uncuffed him and started apologizing.
“We had the scene under control. We were just ready to give a report to EMS and get the patient out of there. And that’s not what happened,” Shouse said, recalling what she described as a “loud, chaotic” situation. “She wound up going eventually, but whenever you have someone laying there – when it could be neurological – time is on your hands.”
In a statement provided to CNN, a spokesperson for Jackson said the congressman was “briefly detained” while trying to help the teenager. When Jackson approached the scene, a relative of the girl, who is a nurse, was assisting the 15-year-old. Jackson asked if the relative needed any help, and she said she did, according to the statement.
“While assessing the patient in a very loud and chaotic environment, confusion developed with law enforcement on the scene and Dr. Jackson was briefly detained and was actually prevented from further assisting the patient,” the spokesperson said.
His office believes he was detained for a matter of minutes. Jackson was released immediately when officers realized that he was tending to the medical emergency, the spokesperson said. Jackson’s office did not deny he was handcuffed during the incident.
According to the Texas Tribune, Carson County Sheriff Tam Terry said in a statement that one person was “temporarily detained” at the rodeo on Saturday night and his department was “reviewing the incident.”
CNN has reached out to Sheriff Tam Terry of Carson County for further comment. CNN has also reached out to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Jackson previously served as the White House physician for Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump. He retired from the US Navy as a rear admiral in 2019 and was elected in 2020 to represent the 13th Congressional District in Texas.
Shouse said the girl is back in her hometown and undergoing further evaluation.