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When Seconds Matter, The Police Are 50 Minutes Away.

(Deanna Cook and Delvecchio Patrick)

This is a horrifying tale that illustrates the need for people to be able to defend themselves.

In 2012 32-year old single mother of two Deanna Cook called Dallas 911 due to the fact that her ex-husband Delvecchio Patrick was in her home and attacking her.

The relationship between Cook and Patrick can best be described as extremely violent.

Police and court records paint a grim picture of ever-increasing violence between Patrick and Cook.

In January 2009, Balch Springs police officers responded to a 911 call that he was holding Cook at knifepoint.

She told police that he kicked a bedroom door off its hinges, choked her and shoved her against a wall so hard that she started to black out. He picked up a knife and began yelling that he was going to “do it,” police records state.

Balch Springs officers arrested him. He was released on $25,000 bond the following month.

Accusations of violence surfaced again almost immediately.

A motion filed by prosecutors seeking to increase his bond laid it out: That February, he choked her and she asked him to leave. That March, he called her phone hundreds of times, threatening to kill her in front of her children and to have his friends sexually assault her children. In August, he choked her, took her wallet and called her mother, threatening to kill her.

A judge increased his bond to $150,000 and made him subject to electronic monitoring.

Cook filed for divorce in October 2009. She wrote to the court several months later that she needed the divorce papers served to Patrick in jail. “I really need this divorce. Please,” she wrote.

A judge dismissed the case after she didn’t follow through. Several months later, Patrick filed a handwritten petition seeking divorce, but it was dismissed after he didn’t follow through.

The accusations of violence stopped between March 2010 and April 2011: He was in jail.

In May 2011, Cook told police that Patrick hit her numerous times, yanked her by the hair and threatened her with a crowbar. She filed for divorce days later, and a judge granted her divorce in January.

This past May, Cook called police to say that he had called her 107 times, telling her he was going to kill her.

“I’m gonna make it to where you never mess with me again,” she said he told her.

Four days later, Cook called police to report that he had used a stolen key to enter her home and take a TV and alcohol. He was arrested on an outstanding warrant related to the May 2011 assault, but got out of jail July 11.

Not exactly Ward and June Cleaver.

On Friday, August 17, 201 at 10:57 AM, Cook called the Dallas 911 Call Center pleading for help.

Delvecchio, why are you doing this?” she scream[ed] during the Friday morning call, according to police documents. “Red, please stop, I didn’t do anything to you.”

Because Cook was calling from a cell phone, the police could not immediately trace the call to an address. When the phone went dead, they tried calling back and their call went directly to voice mail.

Using GPS and cell tower tracking, the police were dispatched to the home of Cook 9 minutes after the call ended.

However, the call went out not as an emergency call, or a call reporting violence. Instead of assigning the call to police officers, the call center asked for officers to voluntarily go to the address. Senior Cpls. Julia Menchaca and Amy Wilburn of the Dallas Police Department accepted the call, and headed toward Cook’s address.

Along the way, the two stopped by a 7-11 convenience store to purchase some bottles of water.

Fifty minutes after Cook’s initial call to the police, Menchaca and Wilburn arrived at the Cook’s home where the found the front door locked. Their knocks on the door did not get a response. They did not go around to the back entrance of the home because they heard a dog barking. They asked neighbors if they had seen or heard anything and no one had.

The officers left.

[Cook’s family] went to Deanna’s home two days later, on Sunday, August 19, 2012, after Deanna failed to show up for church. They noticed her two chihuahuas barking and water leaking from her home.

Her mother, Vickie, then called 911. [Call taker] Herod-Graham answered Vickie’s call. She told Vickie that no police officers could help Vickie and her family enter Deanna’s house unless Vickie called nearby prisons and hospitals first. Plaintiffs then kicked in the patio door of the residence and entered Deanna’s bedroom, where they found Deanna deceased, her body partially in the bathtub.

Police photos of the crime scene would show Cook was dressed on in her underwear. Her face was bloated and clumps of hair were on the floor and in the tub.

Ex-husband Delvecchio Patrick was found guilty of the murder of Deanna Cook and was sentenced to jail until at least 2042.

The family of Cook filed a lawsuit against the officers, the 911 call takers, the Chief of Police (who oversaw the call center and the training of employees,) the City of Dallas and others.

In April of this year, U.S. District Judge David Godbey signed a six-page Memorandum Opinion and Order dismissing the family’s case citing “sovereign immunity.”

Sovereign immunity is a judicial doctrine that prevents the government or its political subdivisions, departments, and agencies from being sued without its consent. The doctrine stems from the ancient English principle that the monarch can do no wrong.

Courts have since clarified what sovereign immunity means in the United States as we have no monarch.

The basic principle is now that in order to be sued, the government or its employees must have acted in a manner that is contrary to well known and established law and or the Constitution.

Even if all of Plaintiffs‘ allegations about the City’s policies and customs were true,” Godbey wrote, “this Court has already determined that Plaintiffs suffered no underlying constitutional violation.”

The family appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. On November 8, 2019, the Court issued an opinion which affirmed the lower court’s ruling and dismissed the case.

Even though the Cook was screaming for help on the phone, the police and the call center employees had no duty to help her and there is nothing in the law or the Constitution that says they must.

In the aftermath of the incident, the call taker that took the initial call from Cook was suspended and later resigned. The call taker that told the family to call the prisons and hospitals was fired. Two supervisors at the 911 Call Center were “disciplined” and received “corrective counseling.” No action was taking against water drinking officers.

It has been over seven years since Deanna Cook’s life was literally choked out of her. While she felt her life slipping away, she had to be thinking “where are the police?”

There are those who say that Cook should not have the right to have purchased a handgun for her protection against her violent attacker. There are those who would claim that protecting people is what the police are there for, so there is no need for a handgun or weapon of any type.

Deanna Cook might argue that point.

If she could.



2 Responses to “When Seconds Matter, The Police Are 50 Minutes Away.”

  1. Percy says:

    With a 10 year history of violence and abuse it’s amazing that this guy was roaming around free to commit this senseless act. To me, that shows a failure of our judicial system. It’s a shame this woman chose not to take advantage of her 2nd amendment rights and decided to rely solely on law enforcement to ensure her safety. Law enforcement does what they can, but this story reminds us we are all ultimately responsible for our own safety. Sad story however you look at it.

    • AAfterwit says:

      Percy,

      Thank you for the comment.

      We looked into whether Deanna Cook had a weapon, applied for carry permit or whatever.

      Cook was convicted of a drug felony in her early years. She did not serve time, but appeared to have straightened her life out. The felony conviction automatically precluded her owning a weapon.

      She had to rely on the police.

      Your point is well taken and was one that we were looking into when we were putting the article together.

      Thanks again.

      A. Afterwit.

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