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Man Dies When 911 Doesn’t Respond To Correct Address. Five Times.

Louie Bradley was an elderly gentleman who lived in the Park Manor Apartments, a senior living community in Irving, Texas.

On the fateful day of July 11, 2019, Bradley fell in the shower.

The apartment was equipped with a sort of “panic button” which Bradley set off.

His neighbor Rose Rodriguez rushed to his room, but the door was dead-bolted and she could not get in.

This is where things go downhill.

At 8:44 p.m., [Rodriguez] called 911 for help.

“I made the first call after knocking on his door because I heard the buzzer going off,” she said. “And I knocked on his door and I said, ‘Are you OK? What’s going on?'”

Rodriguez said she could hear Bradley respond with yells for help.

“He said, ‘Help! Help!’ Yelling really with a strong, intense voice,” she said.

But when Irving police didn’t show up 11 minutes later, she called 911 again at 9:05 p.m.

She said Bradley was still calling out for help.

“And I said, ‘Don’t worry. We’re getting you someone, relax,'” Rodriguez said. “And I heard him say, ‘Thank you.'”

At 9:06 p.m., the apartment manager called 911. Four minutes later, the manager called again.

The manager told 911 that the emergency pull cord was still buzzing and Bradley hadn’t received help.

Losing all hope, at 9:12 p.m., Rodriguez tried calling one more time. This was the fifth 911 call.

Rodriguez said she continued to talk with Bradley.

“I said, ‘Someone’s on the way,'” she recalled. “And I heard a little beep of a voice. I knew there was nothing.”

Rodriguez said she walked to the lobby of the apartment and told her husband, “Baby, I think he’s dead.”

Help didn’t show up for an hour.

The residents and the apartment manager kept calling 911 and were told that they had investigated the call and everything was fine. All the time Bradly was dying.

At 9:36 – almost an hour after the initial call and with 911 and the police not responding to the apartment – the residents pulled the fire alarm. The fire department responded, broke into Bradley’s apartment, and found him dead.

After an investigation, the police determined that they had gone to the wrong address.

[Irving Police Chief Jeff Spivey] said that his officers did respond to the Park Manor Apartments minutes after the initial 911 call. But there was one big problem. There are two buildings and they went to the wrong one.

“Our call taker took the call and entered the location by name instead of by address,” Spivey said. “And when that name or that address populated, it populated with the address of 2934, apartment number 131. Where Mr. Bradley actually lived was 2930, apartment number 131.”

By chance, in the other apartment building, in unit 131, lives a man with a dog.

When police arrived, they were looking for a man and a dog. When they found him and saw he was OK, they thought that call was over. But it was the wrong man, and Bradley was trapped inside his unit dying in the other building.

“After they leave, they continue to get calls and our call taker continues to say ‘No, our officers went out there. They talked to the resident who was there,'” Spivey said. “Nobody had malice, nobody intentionally not doing their job. It was a true case of miscommunication, and it led to this tragic outcome.”

Of course Spivey’s statement doesn’t make a great deal of sense. If 911 is saying “we sent someone out there and all is well,” and the people on the scene are saying multiple times that no one has shown up, you’d thing that would be a red flag to someone in the communications center.

Instead, residents and Bradley got the “nothing to see here, move along” response even though the residents could hear Bradley getting weaker.

To us, this is where this case gets even weirder:

Spivey said when he learned of the case, he immediately launched an investigation.

After the investigation was completed, 911 dispatchers and police officers involved in the response were disciplined, the Irving police department said. However, they said they couldn’t disclose the specifics of who and how they were disciplined.

Spivey said he also met with Bradley’s family.

“Not making any excuses for what we did, and not trying to cover it up,” he said. “We could do better. I offer my deepest apology, my sympathy, and hope to never have this happen again.”

The police are shielding the people who allowed this to happen from the public being informed.

Frankly, that “shielding” may be part of the law, but that brings into question why law enforcement get special treatment as records from other public employees are available for public inspection.

Furthermore, one would hope that the police and the 911 operators would be glad to share with the public the steps they have taken to prevent this from happening again.

We are just stuck on some questions such as:
1) When people continually called 911 saying the police had not shown up, why were those calls ignored?
2) If the people making the calls gave their addresses and the address of Bradley, didn’t someone think to check the address that the police were sent to?
3) Did no one make the connection that while the police said they talked a man who was fine, they didn’t see or talk to the people making the calls?
4) Why didn’t the apartment manager have keys to the deadbolt so people could have gone in and helped Bradley? (This is a retirement home type place. We hate to be callous, but people are going to die there. Not having keys to the deadbolts seems reckless to us.)
5) Why are police shielded from disclosure of personnel records?

And finally,

6) We wonder what it felt like for Bradley to keep hearing that people were coming to help, that all would be well, and that he would be fine only to feel his life ebb away within an hour.

This is a terribly sad story with no winners and a lot of questions.



2 Responses to “Man Dies When 911 Doesn’t Respond To Correct Address. Five Times.”

  1. Percy says:

    While this is a terribly sad story and the system definitely needs some fixes to prevent this from happening again, as I understand the law the police have no legal responsibility to protect or rescue individuals. My legal understanding is based on the Warren v. D.C. Ruling which stated:

    “In a 4–3 decision, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals affirmed the trial courts’ dismissal of the complaints against the District of Columbia and individual members of the Metropolitan Police Department based on the public duty doctrine ruling that “the duty to provide public services is owed to the public at large, and, absent a special relationship between the police and an individual, no specific legal duty exists”. The Court thus adopted the trial court’s determination that no special relationship existed between the police and appellants, and therefore no specific legal duty existed between the police and the appellants.”

    In other words you and you alone are responsible to take care of yourself. This comes as a shock to many of us because the police often try to help and protect Individuals, even though they don’t have a legal responsibility to do so. This is why an individuals right to self defense and the second amendment are so necessary.

    Obviously, there are moral and ethical issues involved and hopefully they will fix the problem so no one else has to suffer through something like this in the future, any way you look at it, it’s just sad all around. While law enforcement didn’t have a legal responsibility the questions you raise are valid and they need to fix the flaws in their 911 system asap.

    • AAfterwit says:

      Percy,

      Thanks for the comment.

      The Warren case is often cited saying cops have no duty to protect you, and there are other cases in other states as well. These cases are almost always brought using 42 U.S.C. 1983, a federal code which alleges that the police or government actors failed to respond thus depriving a person of their civil rights, namely the right to live.

      In some ways these types of cases are more of a practical matter than a moral or legal one. It would be impossible for the police to prevent crimes given the number of police vs. the number of people committing crimes. If the police were sued each time for a failure to protect and prevent all crimes, we might as well not have police at all.

      There are a couple of odd things when one thinks about cases where police claim “no duty to protect.” In the non-police world, if someone makes a claim on a product or service and then does not live up to that promise and there is an injury, no one has a problem with the company making the claims and promises being sued. In this case out of Irving, Texas, people were told the police were on the way or that they had been to the address. The police made a promise – a guarantee of sorts – that they would at least show up to assess the situation. They failed to do that and a man died. How is that any different than a mechanic saying “your car brakes are fine” and then having them go out resulting in injury or death?

      If you remember in July of 2017, five Cocoa teens watched a man drown in a lake / pond while laughing at him. People wanted and demanded that the teens be charged but there is no law that required them to offer aid (just like the police.) The Florida legislature sought to make such a law where people had a duty to help but it died. If police have no duty, then civilians have no duty either.

      Finally, there is this thought:

      As police have no duty to protect, they should not be able to prevent the methods and means which allow citizens to protect themselves. For example, in a 1958 case called Riss v. City of New York, a 26 year old woman named Linda Riss was terrorized by a former suitor for at least 6 months. She went to the police many times asking for help and was refused. She applied multiple times for a weapons permit and the police refused that as well. On the night of her engagement party the former suitor called her and told her this was her “last chance” to return to her. Later that night, 3 men paid by the suitor threw lye on hoe face, blinding her in one eye, damaging her other eye and disfiguring her face.

      The police were cleared because of the “no duty to protect” doctrine, but it is hard to reconcile that decision where the same police had “no duty to protect” prevented her from protecting herself. The law allows the police to have it both ways and that seems wrong to us.

      In the Irving, Texas case which is the subject of this post, we wonder what would have happened if the police and 911 had simply said “we aren’t coming.” Would the people who called have reacted differently? Beaten the door down or called someone who could?

      We understand that police have “no duty to protect,” but if the police say they are coming, they’d better show up.

      Thanks again for the comment.

      A. Afterwit.

      P.S. The “no duty to protect” applies to those not in government custodial care such as prison, etc. It applies to government actors, not just police. In today’s schools, kids and parents are told to let school administrations handle cases of bullying. When the school fails to address the bullying and a fight breaks out between the bullied and they bully, the school will hold both students responsible, but not themselves. It seems reasonable to us that if the school has “no duty to protect,” and people have to protect themselves, no bullied child should ever be disciplined for standing up to a bully in any circumstances. To us, that is another case of government actors wanting both ends of the stick without being accountable for either.

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