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Home > Topics > EMS News

EMTs: We stopped cops from beating disturbed patient on stretcher

The FDNY EMTs filed a report against four NYPD officers, saying they had to physically intervene to stop them from punching an emotionally disturbed patient in the face

By EMS1 Staff

NEW YORK — Two FDNY EMTs say they had to physically intervene to stop four police officers from beating a handcuffed emotionally disturbed patient on a stretcher.

The violence broke out on July 20 when the patient spit at the Emergency Service Unit officers and swore at them, according to documents obtained by the New York Daily News

Cops responded by punching the patient multiple times in the face, hauling him off the stretcher and onto the ground, and then tossing him back on the stretcher, according to a report filed by the EMTs.

They stopped only when the EMTs intervened, the report says.

The incident began when two FDNY EMTs were called to Brooklyn’s 67th Precinct stationhouse around 7:30 p.m. to bring the patient to a nearby hospital. He was restrained for the transport, and was combative and banging his head against the wall.

According to the report:

"Pt. came out of the cell in cuffs. Pt. became combative with PD and (was) put on our stretcher," wrote one EMT in the Unusual Occurrence Report filed with FDNY brass.

"Pt. was struck in the face by an officer ... pt. spit in the face of an officer, whereupon the officer punched the pt. in the face multiple times."

The police department’s Internal Affairs Bureau is investigating.

The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Jesse Connell Jesse Connell Wednesday, August 06, 2014 1:26:32 PM And police officers are confused about why some people don't like them?
Aron Sperling Aron Sperling Wednesday, August 06, 2014 2:14:30 PM If that happened to a Paramedic in the Province of Ontario, being spat on, Police here would tell us it is a waist of time doing anything, the courts just dismiss thecase. On the other hand, yes Police would possibly be aggressive, no one wants to be spat on.
Danielle Connell Danielle Connell Wednesday, August 06, 2014 3:13:17 PM I love how EMS1 is reporting this story. First and foremost, the crew never spoke to ANY REPORTERS. This information came from an in-house document that was leaked to the press by someone at FDNY HQ. The person who leaked this story has made all of our jobs more difficult in the field. These reports are never made public, so if you're gonna report a story like this, tell the truth. Do not make it seem like the crew spoke to the press because THEY DID NOT.
Sean Bailey Sean Bailey Wednesday, August 06, 2014 6:08:29 PM People don't like police officers for a simple reason. Whenever someone encounters a police officer they are, presumably, doing something wrong. People don't like to admit that they are wrong or that they did something wrong, so the situation is unpleasant. "That stupid cop did...." "He said I was..." Rather than "He caught me..." Or "I wasn't supposed to..." It's a social issue, people who don't want to take responsibility for their actions and, often, have little or no regard for others. LEOs are just doing a job.
Melissa McKibben Melissa McKibben Wednesday, August 06, 2014 7:29:56 PM The guy was mentally disturbed AND completely restrained. Am I the only one who finds it sorta wrong that some of the folks we trust to uphold the law react with the violence of a criminal in such a situation? Cops are forced to face humanity's worst. Their job is often both tedious and dangerous. I get it. I respect the hell out of law enforcement. But...does that mean forgiving bad apples like these cops? Are we saying there are really NO standards of conduct they should be held to? Presumably they were mentally competent, well-trained professionals, unlike their victim. Good on the EMTs for making the difficult, but honorable, choice.
Robert English Robert English Wednesday, August 06, 2014 10:06:39 PM The guy is restrained and mentally not there put a spit mask on him and transport him no need to punch him.what did they really accomplish anyway
Joe Paczkowski Joe Paczkowski Wednesday, August 06, 2014 10:16:20 PM Sean Bailey Well, there's also all of the times that the police invent or distort laws because someone is doing something they don't like... such as filming the police or legally open carrying firearms (not disputing that the latter may be attention whores, but the police don't get to make up laws either).
Geoff Winslow Geoff Winslow Thursday, August 07, 2014 2:34:46 AM I read stories like this EVERY DAY. How many of the mentally ill must be beaten and killed? How many beloved family pets must be shot to death in front of children? How many flash-bang grenades must be thrown into cribs with sleeping infants before we STOP this sycophantic adulation of cops and call them what they really are? They're thugs who have voluntarily chosen to make their living as armed enforcers for an immoral and out-of-control government. Is it going to take a Bearcat filled with "police officers" who are indistinguishable from soldiers on the battlefield parked on every block for people to wake up? Regrettably, probably not even then. You're living in a police state and you don't even know it. I weep for the future.
Drew Croy Drew Croy Thursday, August 07, 2014 8:54:51 AM I don't follow. The entire article references "the report". I understood that EMS1 was getting their information from a report and not the EMS crew.
Drew Croy Drew Croy Thursday, August 07, 2014 8:56:11 AM I agree completely with one caveat: Ever have someone spit in your face?
Larry Grayam Larry Grayam Thursday, August 07, 2014 9:42:22 AM Sean is wrong, wrong on facts and wrong on conclusion. Just last week I, while visiting a town 150 miles from home, checked into a hotel. After registering for a room I left with my family to shop and have dinner, only to be pulled over by two cops claiming I must have been there to purchase drugs or pick up prostitutes because "you were there only 20 minutes" after delaying us and unsuccessfully attempting to search our car the officers finally admitted I did no wrong and let me go. Why did I have to lose 45 minutes of my day dealing with two LEOs against my will? Cops are bad all of them, society is slowly moving towards realizing that criminals have become the police. Oh crap now they'll come shoot my dog.
Sean Bailey Sean Bailey Thursday, August 07, 2014 10:02:27 AM Because a handful of bad people define an entire profession, right? A guy named Larry pissed me off one time in traffic, so all guys named Larry must be bad, correct? Wrong. Joe is correct, there are some officers in the business that are not suitable for that line of work. Police don't get to make up laws. However, the actions of a few don't warrant the condemnation of the many. You've been watching too many conspiracy videos Larry.
Larry Grayam Larry Grayam Thursday, August 07, 2014 10:15:48 AM I'm a retired cop Sean it is far worse to deny the wrongdoing and enable the wrongdoers than it is to clean up the force. Witnessing lawlessness and excusing it is just as culpable as performing the unlawful acts. LEOs take an oath to support and defend the constitution and to enforce and obey the laws, when they fail to do that they become criminals. Maybe you have spent too much time hi fiving the other dispatchers to realize the real damage to the Law Enforcement Community caused by these bad actors and those who blindly support their anti social actions. I was trained to leave yesterday at home and treat today’s calls as new and unique experiences not treat those I meet today as they were someone else. But Sean I am a little surprised to see your attitude as everyone I know from Texas is friendly, laid back and outgoing. And here you are having problems with people named Larry.
Sean Bailey Sean Bailey Thursday, August 07, 2014 10:41:25 AM Well, Larry, I do a lot more than high five other dispatchers all day. And I didn't excuse the actions of those officers you've described. I fully recognize there are bad eggs out there, even some I work with daily. However, I don't believe that all LEOs are bad. I may be wrong, but I feel like your opinion is based on your experience as an officer, and I can definitely understand it. Generalization and blanketing, though, is in direct contrast to what you say you were trained to do. Because we experience a bad officer at some point means that the next officer we encounter is bad as well? And I am a very friendly person, Larry, but you came at me a little strong in that first reply :)
Laurence Avyel Nadeli Laurence Avyel Nadeli Thursday, August 07, 2014 11:08:23 AM Drew Croy Yes. A few patients of mine have spit on me. Did I take it personally? No. I restrained them according to policy. I kept my cool even though I was pissed off. No retaliation. Professional no matter what. Now, if I wasn't at work and the spitting asshole was sane…My profession doesn't come into play. My backhand slap does
Michael W. King Michael W. King Thursday, August 07, 2014 12:13:07 PM WOW! So many responses by people who weren't even there. Typical nonsense EMT rhetoric!
John Drady John Drady Thursday, August 07, 2014 4:12:41 PM Well said. Thanks.
Zoey Bear Tur Zoey Bear Tur Thursday, August 07, 2014 4:35:32 PM The NYPD and Dept of corrections are under the microscope after a series of NY Times articles detailing deadly assaults made by their officers against in-custody detainees and jail inmates. Their have been a number of arrests. In one case for manslaughter. It looks like the FDNY wants nothing to do with covering up abuse. Can't blame them.
Kathy DeCicco Kathy DeCicco Thursday, August 07, 2014 4:52:51 PM The psychological test that is given to police recruits should be examined. Far too many angry, hostile, power crazy applicants are slipping through- only to become abusive police officers.
Mel Vostry Mel Vostry Thursday, August 07, 2014 9:08:30 PM Sean Bailey I am all for taking responsibility. People should take responsibility for their illegal, inappropriate, socially unacceptable actions. So, you are saying that the police officers should take responsibility for their totally illegal, inappropriate and socially unacceptable actions. Right? What part of the police job description includes beating the crap out of a psych. patient? More than a few times I have felt like putting the "whop" on an abusive or threatening patient but taking out my frustration on a restrained patient looses you all kinds of "style points". EMTs/Medics are to be commended. Police officer needs some counseling time and / or time off without pay. Maybe even criminal charges.
Sean Bailey Sean Bailey Thursday, August 07, 2014 9:10:52 PM Mel Vostry absolutely, I wasn't speaking specifically about this case. That's not acceptable. My original comment was mostly motivated by the continuous string of hateful, vile internet trash directed at police, fire and EMS. I agree with you completely though.
Jack Stevens Jack Stevens Friday, August 08, 2014 3:26:11 AM They make this thing called a spit hood for just this reason. Assuming the incident happened as stated there is a civil rights violation and probably felony assault. And the patient is not the one who should be charged. But it is New York, what do you expect.
Melinda Teaster Williams Melinda Teaster Williams Friday, August 08, 2014 6:17:21 AM Dealing with emotionally unstable Pt's can and almost always can/will turn into a hazardous situation. Some folks are just able to deal with these Pt's better than others. I will have to say that I can deal with being hit better than if someone was to spit on me.
Kenneth Kaftan Kenneth Kaftan Friday, August 08, 2014 7:22:21 AM Drew Croy : too many times - you just hope that it's not in your mouth - yuch
David Tobar David Tobar Friday, August 08, 2014 8:24:18 AM Sean Bailey wow.....
Danny Lee Danny Lee Friday, August 08, 2014 9:18:22 AM hey hey hey, one time I had a patient in cuffs who had spit in the cops face, and the cop stood there and did nothing, spit all dripping down his face.. so lets not let a few rough cops spoil the reputation of NY's Finest !
Jesse Connell Jesse Connell Saturday, August 09, 2014 3:37:33 PM Sean Bailey, I am the original poster of this thread of conversation and I'm thrilled that it has inspired thoughtful debate among professionals. I would like to respond to an action you've identified: not trusting one LEO because of the actions of another. I am guilty of this myself, and I will try to explain why I feel this way. I think it is a survival instinct. LEOs have an authority over my livelihood to an extent that no one else has. This can either be frightening or enraging. I am mostly afraid that a LEO having a bad day will decide to screw me over, and there is nothing I can do about it. As far as the court system is concerned, if he or she says they saw me do something, I did it. I understand this is the system of law I live under and I accept that as much as I can because this is still the best country on Earth. However, when my livelihood depends on the word of someone who is just as fallible as I am, I tend to be cautious when dealing with these people. It is a well known fact that LEO's are allowed (and sometimes encouraged) to lie to suspects in order to obtain a confession or statement of guilt. This being the case, I have decided that, as an entity, I cannot trust police officers. And if I cannot trust the police officers I contact on a daily basis (both professionally and personally) I cannot respect them. And if I cannot respect them, how can I have any meaningful relationship with them. This is the basis of my daily interaction with Law Enforcement Officials. So, the actions of one reflect on the multitudes. In a career where trust is an absolute necessity, and LEO's are expected to be infallible, the actions of one cannot help but be reflected on the many. When an occupation is held in such high regard and to such lofty standards, it should not be surprising that the public that the LEO's serve expect more, as they rightly should. All that said, I don't believe all LEO's are bad. But because I cannot spot good from bad on sight, I choose to be more restrictive and guarded rather than liberal and open. It's more conducive to me not pissing the wrong LEO off and ending up in jail for something I didn't do. And as long as resisting arrest is a sole chargeable offense (how can I resist arrest when there are no other charges except resting arrest? What arrest was I resisting, if there's no other charge? Just sayin'...) I cannot trust law enforcement as a whole. So I stay on the couch. And that ends my rant for today. Well, for right now anyway. Thanks for reading!!
Laura L. Alvarez Laura L. Alvarez Saturday, August 09, 2014 7:27:25 PM Larry Grayam Once incident, or even several incidents, doesn't make ALL Police wrong. There are certainly officers who abuse their power, but the majority of them take their oath seriously and they're putting their life on the line every time they walk out the door; and not just for work. The Border Patrol agent, who was targeted and killed by illegals he had arrested and deported previously, was on vacation with his family and fishing.
Melissa McKibben Melissa McKibben Saturday, August 09, 2014 7:36:16 PM Drew Croy as a matter of fact, I have. By a mentally disturbed man. And a day in the life of a man with a truly broken brain is something I would not wish on my worst enemy.
Jesse Bell Jesse Bell Tuesday, August 12, 2014 6:53:28 AM Larry Grayam That's like saying all paramedics fake being gay to rape women because of what Christopher Bridger did. There are good LEOs and bad LEOs, like there are good and bad of every profession.

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