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Dispatcher put on leave for harsh Facebook comments

Carla Grant is under investigation after saying a pregnant woman who was revived with naloxone should have been “left to rot”

By Cody Shephard
The Enterprise

BROCKTON, Mass. — She needs to be “left to rot.”

That’s what a State Police dispatcher, who answers emergency calls, posted on Facebook about an overdosing pregnant woman who was revived with Narcan.

Carla Grant, 53, of Brockton, is currently on paid administrative leave after The Enterprise broke a story on March 22 regarding her insensitive Facebook comments, which appear to be a violation of the department’s social media policy.

State Police suspended Grant that same day.

But The Enterprise had learned that other Facebook posts are now part of the investigation by her employer.

“She needs to be left to rot,” Grant wrote from her personal account, which has since been deleted. “Phuck that bullshit ‘disease’ crap! Selfish piece of shit!”

Grant’s posts that were already under investigation revolve around an Avon fatal crash on Route 24 in late February 2017 that claimed the life of 20-year-old Cory Wasilewski. The other driver involved in the crash, 21-year-old Kyle Thistle of Brockton, was charged a year later with speeding and negligent operation of a motor vehicle.

Grant, a civilian State Police dispatcher of almost 19 years, currently at the South Boston Barracks, made online comments in that case about dash cam evidence a month before Thistle was even arraigned—the day that evidence became public in court documents.

“Neg op and speeding... NOT responsible for the crash—which was caused by the decedent—per the dash cam evidence,” Grant wrote in a Facebook post on the Brockton Hub, adding in another post that, “it’s all in the dash cam photos.”

The post about Narcan, which is now part of the investigation by State Police, was written on the Brockton Hub last September under a news story about a pregnant woman overdosing again after being revived 40 minutes earlier with Narcan, also known as naloxone. Grant implied that first responders shouldn’t have used the overdose-reversing drug.

Grant could not be reached for comment for this story. Several requests for comment were also not returned last week.

In other posts, Grant has called addiction a choice, rather than a disease, which it has been classified as by the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

“If they’re saved by Narcan, then choose to continue to drug—it’s totally a choice to throw away the gift of life they were given,” she wrote.

In another post, she suggested people who are revived by Narcan should be sued if they later kill someone.

“In the backwards world we live in where the Liberals want gun manufacturers sued because someone used their tool to kill, I think if someone saved by Narcan that goes on in their life and kills someone—the argument could be made,” she said.

And Grant also said a mother who delivers a drug-addicted baby should “have her uterus removed immediately afterwards,” adding, “she’s unworthy.”

As a dispatcher, Grant fields calls from the public, including those made to 911, and is responsible for transferring those calls to local departments and sending police officers to respond to those calls, including overdoses.

State Police spokesman David Procopio said he couldn’t specifically discuss the material being investigated, but the department has been notified about Grant’s posts regarding Narcan.

“As a police agency, we fully understand that the issue of opiate addiction is complex, and should be viewed not only from a law enforcement perspective but also as a medical and mental health issue that deeply affects drug users and their loved ones,” he told The Enterprise. “We expect department members, both sworn and civilian, to have compassion for victims and their families.”

The words posted by Grant were especially painful to Stephanie Greene of Easton, a mother whose son died of a fatal heroin overdose in January 2014 at the age of 19.

“Not everyone is educated enough or understands that addiction is a brain disease and although people on drugs can do horrible things, it’s the drugs/disease that is making them do it,” she said. “So many sick people do recover, so what if we let every addict rot?”

Greene said it could take 1,000 chances for a person who is addicted to recover—and they’re worth every chance.

“The woman who said that? I hope she never has a child addicted,” she said. “I’ll tell you right now her opinion might change if she did. Addiction to drugs is awful to watch.”

Joseph Giacalone, a policing expert who told The Enterprise last week that Grant should be fired, called the Narcan posts a smoking gun for swift punishment.

“Any member of the police department or fire department that has views like this doesn’t belong anywhere near this job,” said Giacalone, a retired New York City Police Department detective sergeant and adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “It appears that the police chief has a crisis on her hands and only swift action will prevent it from snowballing into a PR disaster.”

The internal investigation comes as State Police are dealing with a variety of scandals. Last week, Colonel Kerry Gilpin announced that 21 troopers could face criminal charges after an audit revealed they were paid for as many as 100 overtime shifts they didn’t actually work.

That scandal is preceded by others, including one that led to the retirement of the last superintendent, Richard McKeon, and his deputy, Francis Hughes. McKeon faced heavy criticism for ordering alterations to an arrest report involving a judge’s daughter.

Grant was placed on administrative leave last Thursday, pending a status hearing scheduled for this week.

“At that hearing the department will determine what her status will be for the duration of the internal investigation,” Procopio said. “The department can decide to keep her on that status for the duration of the investigation, change her to administrative leave without pay for the duration of the investigation, or return her to full duty for the duration of the investigation. Then, upon completion of the investigation, the department will determine if further administrative action is warranted.”

The department’s social media policy, passed as a general order in 2013, prohibits employees from discussing ongoing investigations. The case against Thistle is ongoing.

“Department employees shall: Not conduct any activity related to ongoing investigations through their personal social networking accounts,” it states.

“It’s a good opportunity for the chief to revamp the social media policy on conduct and discipline,” Giacalone said.

Thomas Wasilewski, the father of Cory, the victim of the fatal crash, has called for Grant to be terminated for comments made about his son’s case.

“I’m not letting this go until she’s terminated,” he said. “She’s abusing her power as a dispatcher. She constantly says nasty things about issues she has nothing to do with. She shouldn’t be looking into police reports. She crossed the line big time.”

Copyright 2018 The Enterprise