LeDuff: Questions over Detroit EMS' handling of police shooting - KMSP-TV

LeDuff: Questions over Detroit EMS' handling of police shooting

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SkyFox captured this image after a shootout in Detroit where two police officers were injured and a suspect killed. SkyFox captured this image after a shootout in Detroit where two police officers were injured and a suspect killed.
DETROIT (WJBK) -

Let's go back to early April and that shooting that occurred at the corner of Linwood and Hooker. Cops had been chasing a man wanted for murder for days. They caught up with him at that corner and pinned his car between theirs. Shots flew. Two cops were down. The perp was bleeding from his head inside his car.

Where was Detroit EMS? With two cops down, you would figure you would get a Detroit ambulance. Well, they never did. No, strike that. An ambulance did show up three hours later after paramedics were told to lie about it. At least that is what paramedics are alleging.

"They were asking me to falsify documentation on a DOS on a high profile shooting. That's what it'd be considered because the police were involved," said Detroit EMT Kelly Adams.

"Originally they were sent to fire headquarters to falsify documentation, to just do a report without making patient contact," said EMS union steward Jeff Gaglio.

"To say they showed up on that scene where the cops were shot?" I asked.

"Correct," Gaglio confirmed.

"So they wanted them to pretend that they had showed up?" I asked.

"Absolutely. That's right," Gaglio said.

"For what? PR purposes? Investigative purposes?" I asked.

"Nobody wants to get caught up in this stuff. Everybody wants to cover themselves and just wash their hands of everything and just move on," Gaglio said.

Detroit EMS is a joke, a deadly joke. The cops know that. That is why they transported the fallen officers in their cars. But it is so bad that an ambulance wasn't dispatched to tend to the suspect bleeding in the front seat for two-and-a-half hours.

"He was in the car," a woman told me.

"And three hours later?" I asked.

"He was still in the car," she said.

"And when did the ambulance come? Right away?" I asked.

"No. Three hours later the ambulance came," she said.

But before the ambulance made the scene, Medic 6 was diverted to headquarters for a meeting.

"We never made the scene because they stopped us mid way there and then told us to turn around," Adams said.

"But on the paperwork they wanted you to say what?" I asked.

"To confirm it was a DOS," Adams said.

"So they wanted you to confirm that dead on scene, but you'd never been there. So they wanted you to fake some paperwork," I asked.

"That's what it's sounding like," Adams said.

Adams are her partner were called to headquarters to hash it out. What the brass didn't realize was Adams was recording the conversation. The chief of EMS agreed that it was in appropriate to ask them to sign the documents.

"I agree with you a hundred percent. It's inappropriate to tell somebody to complete a run sheet based off of third party information. I agree with you a hundred percent," the EMS chief said.

So why would fire department brass ask paramedics to sign a piece of paper saying they showed up when they didn't? Maybe they are embarrassed that they didn't get the call, or the head of dispatch was out having a cigarette and missed the call, or maybe the fact that we don't have enough ambulances in the city to answer the calls. There are eight of them broken down at the dealership because the city is too broke to pay the bills to get them out.

We caught up with Fire Commissioner Don Austin, the man that is supposed to have the answers. He didn't seem to have many.

"No one's trying to commit fraud. I don't know where that comes from. So that's all I have to say about that," Austin said. "You called me about this when I was in D.C. last week.... Beyond what I just said, I don't have anything else to say about it."

"Three hours before a Detroit Fire Department ambulance shows up to a triple shooting. What does that say about the state of the EMS that you promised to fix?" I asked.

"I'd have to find out about it, but it was not like we were called and it was three hours before we got there. I'll say that with certainty. So it may have something to do with the investigation. I can't comment on that because I don't know," Austin said.

"I'll do some research to find out."

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