One day suspension for Memphis cop that caused deadly delay
A Tennessee police officer has been suspended without pay for a single day over delaying a motorist whose mother was dying in the back seat, according to published reports.
Deputy Micah McNinch pulled over Wayne Ables on March 12 after 2 a.m. as he raced his infirmed mother to a hospital just a mile from the site of the stop. McNinch pulled Ables over for expired tags and, as evidenced in new video released to news agencies, kept the pair there while an ambulance and fire truck were en route.
After 11 minutes, the emergency vehicles arrived. The driver had pleaded with the officer to escort them to the hospital a mere five minutes away.
"Ables says he told McNinch his mother was in the back seat, suffering from severe breathing problems," reported My Eyewitness News. "According to audio taken from the dash camera the deputy didn’t want to give Ables his ticket until the ambulance arrived to the scene. 'I don't want to give him this copy to sign until the ambulance gets here. Otherwise he will leave and we’ve got an ambulance and a fire truck coming up her for no reason.'"
"According to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, deputies are instructed not to escort vehicles during traffic stops, but Sheriff Mark Luttrell says there are times when the policy needs to be worked around," the publication noted in a separate report. "Luttrell and Ables both say this should’ve been one of those times. Ables says his mother died in the back seat, just 8/10 of a mile from the hospital. 'The last word I heard my mom say is I can't breathe son, I can't breathe, I need some air. That's what I'm going to have to live with for the rest of my life. When he sees his mom, give her a big hug, tell her he loves her, cause I can’t do that with my mom anymore.'"
"While paramedics were in route, Mr. Ables never alerted Deputy McNinch his mother’s condition had worsened," they reported.
"There were some judgemental errors made, and he needed to be held accountable for that," said Shelby County Sheriff Mark Luttrell told Memphis CBS affiliate WREG.
"But for the most part, he says McNinch followed policy. His file is clean, it includes two good performance reviews. So rather than severely punish him, he was suspended for one day without pay.
"'I forgive him, because it's what my mom would want, because my mom would, she'd do it for me,' said Ables.
"'As long as there's lessons learned here and they can put it in policy,' he added."
Oddly enough, the Shelby County Sheriffs Department is the same which once appointed Elvis Presley to Deputy Sheriff [PDF link] in a PR stunt.
"Elvis had an infatuation with law enforcement, and he worked his way up to the ranks at the Shelby County Sheriff's Office in his hometown of Memphis," noted Heritage Auction Galleries. "He first received an honorary sheriff's badge from Sheriff Bill Morris in 1970, and ultimately acquired several authentic badges (as well as actual law enforcement authority) from subsequent sheriffs in Shelby County."
This video is from MSNBC's News Live, broadcast Apr. 9, 2009.
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