Original article from Kent Live
A patient yelled "I have a right to be racist" as he punched a Maidstone Hospital nurse in the face.
Dale Cooper has now been jailed after racially abusing and assaulting staff at the hospital.
The incident took place at around 12.35am on Wednesday, April 21, as Cooper racially abused his first victim, threatening to assault him.
A nurse heard the altercation and ordered Cooper to leave the hospital, to which Cooper responded: "I have a right to be racist if I want to."
Cooper, who was handed a 12 month prison sentence on April 22, proceeded to punch the nurse in the face.
He was then restrained by three members of security, who were further subjected to racial slurs and assaults.
Police attended the scene, and Cooper was arrested, later being charged with two counts of racially aggravated assault, three counts of assault by beating of an emergency worker and a further six counts relating to public order offences, of which four were racially aggravated.
Appearing before Medway Magistrates' Court on April 22, he pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to 12 months in prison that day.
Sergeant Craig Chalmers-Stevens said: "Cooper’s behaviour was utterly appalling, and no one should have to tolerate the torrent of vile abusive language and violence he displayed.
"I’m delighted the courts have delivered justice so swiftly as Cooper is a persistent offender and a menace, not only to emergency workers including hospital staff and police, but to the wider public."
Miles Scott, Chief Executive at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, added: "Our staff are truly amazing and throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, continue to work tirelessly to provide an outstanding level of care for our patients.
"They have the right to work in an environment where they feel safe and are treated with dignity and respect.
"The great majority of our patients and visitors treat our staff with consideration and are grateful for the care we provide.
"Unfortunately, there are a very small minority who do not.
"We would like to thank Kent Police for their help and support and bringing this individual to justice."