Cop Ignores 911 Call To Eat Lunch, Woman Dies

I wonder. Does 911 follow-up with officers to see if they arrive on scene? Shouldn’t dispatchers have concern when the radio is silent about a medical emergency 911 call?

The Fifth Column

This is obviously an exception to the rule.   I’ve been on the receiving end of an emergency call on more than one occasion and I have nothing but praise for the Police and Fire Department personnel who arrived promptly and administered first aid or monitored vital signs until a family member was transported to the hospital…

Addicting Info

On March 13th, a woman in Lee County, Florida tried calling 911 because she was having a medical emergency. She was having difficulty talking, and was later found passed out in her driveway. Per policy, 911 issued an order to the nearest deputy on duty, Yvan Fernandez, to check on the call and to see if the person was in trouble.

Deputy Fernandez was not going to let an emergency call get between him and lunch, however. So he sat and enjoyed his meal at Raider’s Pizza and Wings on Palm Beach…

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Posted on 04/24/2015, in Cops Gone Wild, Potpourri, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. YES, when I was reading the story on the Fifth Column blog, I was asking the same question. The 911 operator called the closest officer to direct him to this call but there was no verification that he received the call and that he was on the way. If the dispatcher did not receive confirmation that the officer was on the way, she could have called another officer. And then why wasn’t an ambulance called?

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  2. This has to be a joke…..my dad, a cop for 26 years, dropped his dinner fork hundreds of times at our dinner table when he was called out for dinner, due to an accident across town, an apparent heart attack, whatever. When he was on midnight to 8 and I worked as a night manager / mechanic at a cab co. and I’d meet him for dinner late at night, the same thing.

    Even calls that weren’t for him, but his 6th sense said to go anyway………off he’d go.

    Good God, what are these cops thinking ???

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    • Hey Racer! Our local police have a hang-out at a McDonald’s, and its actually an official police post. In a neighboring county, the unofficial post is a convenient store/gas station in the mornings. I’ve seen officers jump up and run out without looking back at their food. Of course, that was before I stopped eating McD’s. 🙂

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  3. Two sides to a story

    I’m not defending the cop in any way, shape or form – but I do wonder why a police officer would be called to a medical emergency. Shouldn’t EMTs – firemen – be dispatched to a medical emergency? Apparently this happened in an area where EMTs were not available – ??

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    • Hey Two Sides! The only thing that I can reasonably speculate, is that the dispatcher did not think that having difficulty talking is a REAL medical emergency.

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  4. yahtzeebutterfly

    Photo of Gwen Minnis

    To me this is criminal negligence! I agree with others here, why did not the dispatcher also send an ambulance or the department’s EMT personnel immediately.

    I have been reading articles now that say Gwen Minnis, age 48, called while she was having a heart attack March 13 and that her cellphone was next to her when she was found on the floor next to the front door.

    According to friends of the victim, Gwendolyn Minnis, 48, she had recently been released from the hospital after having a heart attack.

    Police believe she called 911 to report another heart attack on March 13, with dispatch sending out a call for an officer to respond after the line went dead.

    The report states that Fernandez was having lunch with three other deputies at Raider’s Pizza and Wings when he first took the call, responding to a second call from dispatch 8 minutes later, telling the dispatcher “copy.”

    Fernandez then reportedly went back to eating his lunch before passing off the call to another deputy 30 minutes later.

    Deputies arrived at the home where Minnis was staying, 53 minutes after the initial call, to find the woman lying in her walkway unconscious with the phone next to her. She later died.

    The report also noted that Fernandez was not on an official meal break at the time of the call. Had he been on a break, another officer would have been assigned to the call by dispatch.

    http://www.rawstory.com/2015/04/florida-deputy-fired-for-ignoring-911-call-from-dying-woman-so-he-could-finish-his-pizza/

    I feel shaken as I consider how Gwen’s trust that she would receive prompt help was betrayed.

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  5. yahtzeebutterfly

    As late as April 10 just about a month after her mother’s death, her daughter still had not been reached out to by the Sheriff’s department:

    It took four weeks to get a death certificate signed.

    “I have so many questions but no answers,” said Tutson.

    …….“I haven’t been approached by anyone. I haven’t had anyone reach out to me or my sister and I would love for them to come and explain to us what happened and why whatever happened did happen,” said Tutson.

    http://www.winknews.com/2015/04/10/lee-county-family-wants-answers-after-death-of-loved-one/

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  6. yahtzeebutterfly

    More details in this excerpt from a local newspaper article of April 22:

    A Lee County Sheriff’s Office deputy has been fired for neglect of duty and improper conduct relating to his delayed response to a 911 call by a woman seeking medical help.

    The woman, Gwendolyn Minnis, 47, of Fort Myers, was found dead the afternoon of March 13 in the front yard of a friend’s Dryden Circle home near Luckett Road and Ortiz Avenue clutching a cell phone in one hand and medication in the other.

    A 911 call made from that location at 1:11 p.m. likely made by Minnis, prompted the dispatch of Deputy Yvan Fernandez. The deputy did not show for more than an hour after the call was made. Other deputies arrived 53 minutes after the call came in.

    Dispatchers noted that during the 911 call nobody spoke on the other end of the line and after ruling out that the caller was not deaf operators stayed on the line and Fernandez was dispatched.

    Fernandez remained at the restaurant with three other deputies for at least 37 minutes into the 911 call. He said he made several attempts to call the number listed as contact for the 911 call, a practice he said was “common” among deputies.

    Eight minutes into the call Fernandez acknowledged a notification that the call was not a hang-up and 29 minutes into the call Fernandez asked another deputy to take over the primary role so he could use the restroom.

    http://www.news-press.com/story/news/2015/04/22/lee-deputy-fired-after-dining-instead-of-going-to-call/26180951/

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  7. crustyolemothman

    If Fernandez was at the restaurant with three other deputies for 37+ minutes, it would seem that they would have known he was not responding to a call issued by the 911 dispatcher. Why are we only seeing Fernandez receiving punishment? Were the other deputies not also responsible as well for not pushing him to respond to the call? Some how I suspect there is more to this story than what we have been told up to this point.

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    • Mothman, IIRC, we don’t know if the other officers knew of the call. I am sure there are things we don’t know, including what the woman said when she called 911 other than she was having trouble talking. Let me correct myself — seems that the woman couldn’t talk at all.

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      • crustyolemothman

        Xena, I would actually be amazed if the other officers that were seated at the table did not hear his hand held radio when he was dispatched. Do we know how far from the location it was/is to the place that Fernandez was taking his unauthorized lunch break? The reason I ask is if it was not too far, why didn’t the 911 dispatcher follow up to ensure that in fact someone had gone to the scene of the incident. I can see several areas that the Sheriffs dept failed the citizens of the county in this incident. It would seem that there was/is a lack of adequate supervision of these officers. I wonder if perhaps Fernandez is actually the only negligent party in this case, or if others also bear a fair share of responsibility, but are not being singled out or disciplinary action… Of course in the alleged good ole boy system that this case has alleged to have been in place, could we ever expect proper discipline to take place?

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        • I don’t know Mothman, maybe it’s likened to paging a physician and no matter how many other physicians hear the page, it’s the one who received the actual page who is held responsible and accountable. IMHO, there is a duty of care expectancy that includes the 911 dispatcher. Since the officer did not report back saying he was on scene, it seems as if the dispatcher should have made sure that some officer — any officer, was reporting to the scene.

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  8. It appears from the reports that the dispatcher did not know it was a medical emergency…..call comes in…..nothing is said……I don’t know about you but I would fear some sort of domestic situation or worse; when a person is afraid of talking for fear of being found. This is the reason why only an officer is dispatched. What scares me is what if it was a hostage situation from a home invasion or DV situation and he still delayed the response. It sounds like the officer treated it as a kid call or a butt call.

    I had a no show call once, I left my son (teen) at home while I went to a little league meeting a couple of miles away. He called all in a panic saying he was hearing tapping at one of the windows and had locked himself in the bathroom. I called 911 and went straight home and turned on all the outside lights and waited for the police to arrive…….this was about 9pm. At 2:30 am I went to bed and gave up waiting. The next morning I called the 911 non-emergency and wanted to know why no officer responded to my prowler call. I was told the officer had come by and noticed tree branches hitting a window and dismissed the call by the wind causing the tapping. No one ever knocked on my door. I told them I wanted a higher ranking officer to call me and I filed a complaint……I challenged them to come by my home and show me the tree whose branches were hitting a window……there aren’t any!

    I told the LT who called me back that I could’ve been dead or dying from a home invasion and I don’t know which home, if any, the officer went to but it sure wasn’t mine. The LT said they would call back……I’m still waiting on that call.

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    • Towerflower, it’s amazing, isn’t it? Assumptions, biases, etc. that come into play in making decisions. Yet, let it go out on the radio that shots are fired at an officer, and the entire force comes out.

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    • Oh my Gawd. Your poor kiddo!!

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  9. Dear God. I can’t bring myself to “like” this one, but thank you for posting.

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