Denver and 911 Dispatchers Sued

Denver, Colorado

loretta.barela.protestOn November 18, 2012, it took more than an hour for dispatchers to send the police to the home of 44-year old Loretta Barela. One of Loretta’s neighbors called 911 reporting that she saw Loretta shirtless and being hit by a man who was dragging her across the street. About 45 minutes later, the neighbor called again because the police had not arrived.  Police knocked on the door and not getting an answer, left.

It was not until about six hours later when Loretta’s husband, Christopher Perea, called the police saying that he killed his wife, that police arrived and found Loretta’s body. Her family has now filed a lawsuit alleging “a pattern of inadequate 911 dispatching.” The lawsuit names the city of Denver, four 911 employees and two officers. One dispatcher resigned pending further discipline in the case.

jimma-reat

Jimma Reat

The pattern of inadequate 911 dispatching includes an incident that happened in April 2012. Jimma Reat, an immigrant from Sudan, was with three relatives when he called 911 to report an altercation with men in a red Jeep in the area of 10th Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard. A second call was made by one of Jimma’s relatives, reporting that men in the Jeep had broken out the car windows. One of Jimma’s relatives drove home to avoid the men in the Jeep and wait on the police.  However, the 911 dispatcher told him that they needed to return to the scene of the incident, inside Denver city limits. They did so.

As Jimma and his relatives were standing outside of his car waiting on the police to arrive, the red Jeep appeared and the men inside opened fire, shooting Reat in the back. The Jeep then sped away from the scene.  Jimma was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

kristine-kirk

Kristine Kirk

In April 2014, Kristine Kirk called 911 frantically, reporting that her husband was hallucinating after eating marijuana laced cookies. She told 911 that he was getting a gun from a safe. Kristine was on the phone with 911 for about 12 minutes, and was still on the phone with dispatch when she was killed. The police department is located about a mile from where Kristine lived.

With Kristine’s death, officials have made several changes to their response policies. Dispatchers are now required to give certain calls, such as those involving weapons, the highest priority. Officers are now given authority to decide how to respond to calls when a person is in imminent danger.

Loretta, Jimma, Kristine — rest in peace.  Our condolences to your families and friends.

Posted on 11/19/2014, in Videos and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. yahtzeebutterfly

    Such horrific deaths…..and there is a strong possibility that none would have occurred had the police responded quickly.

    Such a betrayal of the victim’s trust in the police….scary!

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    • Yahtzeebutterfly,
      It does appear that the deaths were preventable. Had the 911 dispatchers not misclassified the calls, the police would have arrived sooner.

      Let’s think back to Zimmerman’s non-emergency call. What if it had gone like this;
      Dispatcher: Are you following him?
      Zimmerman: Yeah.
      Dispatcher: We don’t need you to do that. Sir, please get back into your vehicle immediately. I’ll stay on the line with you and let me know when you’re back inside the vehicle with the doors locked.

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      • yahtzeebutterfly

        Oh…sigh…if only that had been the way the NEN had gone. If only……if only…..then Trayvon would be alive today.

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      • butterflydreamer2

        Sean said the cannot order or tell someone to do something for liability purposes. But he could have said: We don’t need you to do that. I’ll stay on the line with you and let me know when you’re back inside the vehicle with the doors locked. He had the call classified as routine, suspicious person. He figured Trayvon was gone, and George was headed back to his car.

        The prosecutors should have pounded into the jurors head the timeline of the nen call and his story he told during the walk thru with the LE. Whonzie did a great job with those, proving it could not have happened the way George said. LLmpapa Xena, and everybody also made very great points. They should have been stressed more. Then again, with B39 lessons learned juror, Serino’s comment he felt George was being truthful, made a great impression on her.

        He could have also asked him if he had a gun. That was one of the questions 911 asked me, if my husband had a gun.

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        • Butterflydreamer,

          But he could have said: We don’t need you to do that. I’ll stay on the line with you and let me know when you’re back inside the vehicle with the doors locked.

          EXACTLY!

          He could have also asked him if he had a gun.

          INDEED, and then reported over the radio that the man reporting the suspicious person was following the person and is armed.

          IMHO, the biggest mistake that Sean made was agreeing to have the arriving officer call Zimmerman for his location. That request made by Zimmerman (and associated with the assholes always getting away), indicated that he was not returning to his vehicle nor intending to mind his own business.

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  2. 😥 These poor people…

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  3. When those who serve no longer care…

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    • Hey Kira! I don’t know if the problem is with hiring officials who say that want to hire people who can work independently, or those they hire who think that asking for directions from a supervisor or manager means they are unqualified and might be terminated. You are right — caring does not seem to be a requirement when decisions involve life-and death.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The utter avoidability of these deaths is staggering … truly staggering. I’m glad something is being done to avoid further instances, but oh! Would that it had happened sooner.

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  5. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Agree!! Those who serve no longer care!! Sad …. very sad!

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  6. Wow, a man who reports that strangers are smashing out his windows while sitting in a car and a topless woman being dragged by a man…….and these weren’t considered life threatening? Smh in disgust.

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    • Towerflower, it’s a shame, isn’t it? Those dispatchers failed to place themselves in the shoes of those needing help.

      Like

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