Felony charges sought against Ballad protester

Rain Smith • Nov 5, 2019 at 11:43 AM

KINGSPORT — Ballad Health is seeking felony charges against a woman who has staged protests at Holston Valley Medical Center since the first week of May.

According to records at the Kingsport Police Department, Ballad’s chief security officer filed a vandalism complaint on Monday afternoon. The suspect is listed as Tara “Dani” Cook, the woman who has organized a reported sit-in to oppose the merger of Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health Systems.

Ballad’s security officer claims the protestors’ tents and tarps have killed grass outside the hospital on West Ravine Road. Damages allegedly “required Ballad Health to re-sod the area at a cost of $1,300.”

“Additionally, a ditchline was dug along the sidewalk area in an attempt to drain water or secure tarps at the protest site,” reads the report. “The ditch was dug by Ms. Dani Cook.”

Ballad Health wants to pursue criminal charges, according to the security officer. Police records list the alleged incident as felony vandalism.

KPD Public Information Officer Tom Patton says the incident is under investigation.