L.A. county EMT speaks out after being arrested by police officer

An LAPD sergeant accused EMT Roryce Dirden of assaulting a patient; body-cam footage determined Dirden was acting within the parameters of his job


EMS Defense Attorney David Givot explains why this unfortunate incident is an opportunity to educate law enforcement partners on things like patient restraint, scene safety and policy in his analysis, "It’s time for EMS-police dialogue, cooperation after L.A. EMT arrest."

By EMS1 Staff

LOS ANGELES — An L.A. county EMT is speaking out after he was arrested and accused of assaulting a patient by an LAPD police officer in August.

FOX11.com reported that the incident happened on August 22, 2019, while EMT Roryce Dirden was in the middle of transporting a female patient to a hospital. The patient was reportedly having a seizure and had possibly been a victim of sexual assault, according to the report. 

"I was completely powerless in this situation. They didn't acknowledge my EMT identity; they didn't acknowledge my uniform," Dirden said. 

In the back of the ambulance, Dirden, who was accompanied by an LAPD sergeant, said the patient managed to unstrap herself from the gurney. 

"There was a huge concern. Once she's off the gurney, I can't dictate her behavior. A person is very capable of opening the door of the ambulance and jumping out," Dirden said. 

However, the sergeant accused Dirden of assaulting the patient and called for back up, according to the report.

"What I did is, I laid her down flat and I tightened up her safety belt due to her flailing body nature. I needed to tighten her down in a moving ambulance," Dirden said.

When officers arrived, Dirden was arrested. Hours later, the LAPD reviewed the sergeant's body-cam footage and determined that Dirden was acting within the parameters of his job. 

Dirden was eventually released and told it had been a misunderstanding, according to the report. 

"I would like the world to learn from this situation. We need to improve relations between cultures, between agencies, between EMTs and law enforcement," Dirden said.

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