The nine minute video that shook the entire globe seems to be news of the old. George Floyd’s death, although tragic, was completely avoidable and we have highlighted several obvious alternative outcomes of the events of May 25, 2020 had Floyd cooperated with law enforcement, chose not to ingest a 3 times lethal amount of fentanyl, had he not engaged in criminal activity or habitually resisted police during an encounter prompted by those illegal actions.
Whether or not you agree with the department-approved tactics of officer Derek Chauvin isn’t what I care to debate here. Not today. Instead, what I would like to do is ask the question about why a person responsible for the outcome, a person who had the opportunity to change it, a person that violated policy which directly contributed to George Floyd’s death has not been held accountable, why supervisors in the city of Minneapolis know this, but have suppressed the facts and why someone appears to be covering for those actions.
If you watched the trial in it’s entirety, you may remember the testimony of Jena Scurry. She’s the dispatcher employed by the Minneapolis Emergency Communications Center (MECC) that was responsible for the response of police, fire and medics to the scene in front of Cup Foods at 38th and Chicago. She was the principal dispatcher for the call, and she had certain responsibilities that were extremely important for many reasons, but Scurry violated policy and nobody is talking about it. Why?
The Minneapolis Police dispatcher is the primary position for dispatching calls for service, tracking of the MPD officers and their statuses, updating CAD with all information and / or activity related to each call for service, and promoting officer safety. The dispatcher’s role in the deliver of public safety services includes matching available resources to the calls for service so that the public may receive timely and efficient service. This didn’t happen on May 25, because Jena Scurry violated policy.
The Police Dispatcher Responsibility policy is clearly outlined, and Scurry has been trained that each decision made by personnel working these positions is based on policy and procedure and officer safety. The radio and CAD (IN THAT ORDER) are the primary responsibility (that’s written in bold letters in this policy) of the dispatcher when assigned to a dispatcher position. Remember that, because we are going to come back to it.
We have seen many angles and all kinds of testimony surrounding the events of that day, so it surprises me that nobody asked Jena Scurry why she was the crucial decision maker in what resources were allotted to protect her officers and save George Floyd, and failed to do so. Why did she violate policy, and why wasn’t she asked about that policy violation when she was under oath on the witness stand?
The full body camera footage is publicly displayed on YouTube, and the timeline of events and the factual circumstances that surround the call for service don’t line up with the decisions that Scurry made, which directly contributed to the death of George Floyd.
At 2019 hours and 48 seconds, that’s just after 8:19 PM, officers requested EMS code 2, which according to Scurry’s testimony which I can confirm with my personal knowledge of Minneapolis Police procedure, means no lights or sirens, for injuries resulting in Floyd bleeding from his mouth. A head injury. I’m going to quickly tell you why that’s important.
At 2021 hours and 20 seconds, that’s just after 8:21 PM, that’s a minute and 32 seconds later, police asked their dispatcher to step up the response of medics. The officer asked for medical resources to respond Code 3, which means emergent with lights and sirens. The cops wanted medical attention to the scene as soon as they could get there.
Since making the policy violation discovery, I contacted six senior Minneapolis Police officers, three of which are sergeants and have many years of experience dealing with uncooperative suspects and situations requiring medical response. All of them said that the standard procedure for Code 3 medical requests is for dispatch to add Fire to the call, meaning rescue rigs would automatically be sent to the scene, unless police specifically say they don’t require rescue, or if they cancel them on their own. That’s been the ongoing procedure for years. Now, I reached out to a senior dispatcher from MECC, who said, “in the case of Floyd, both would be started (meaning EMS and fire), and it would up to the cops to cancel fire…but in this case they wouldn’t because fire often beats medics to the scene.”
When I asked a veteran Minneapolis police officer about this, they responded, “of course…both should have been…from the cop’s perspective and from what they were dealing with, it is easy to focus on all of the assholes yelling…by then the cops assumed they’d asked for a medical code 3 response which would include ANY fire or medic who could get there first!!!” The source continued saying, “I’ve never had a call where both Minneapolis Fire and medics are not dispatched…8 out of 10 times we cancel fire and keep medics en route…but both are dispatched”.
Why is this important? Well, first of all, Fire Station 17 is six blocks away and rescue would have a response time of three minutes or less. Rescue would have arrived a long time before Hennepin County Medical Center EMS, and medical interventions would have been started immediately.
As an added frustration and complete disregard for the critical function of her responsibility, Scurry testified that she was watching the milestone cameras and that she felt something was wrong, yet she didn’t communicate with her officers for another five minutes and finally did only to update them to advise of EMS location. Five minutes. If something wasn’t right, wouldn’t the first step to take be to communicate with her officers to find out what was going on? What was needed? What she could provide them with? These are just the common sense questions, but what about actual policy? When medics were first requested, the officer indicated that Floyd was bleeding from his mouth. This is a head injury. According to Minneapolis Emergency Communications Center official policy, it couldn’t be more clear that Scurry was in violation of the clearly written directives pertaining to the criteria for adding rescue when not automatically part of the response. The very first bulleted point in the policy says that rescue should be added for spinal, neck or head injuries. Floyd had a head injury, and the officer told her that. She did not add rescue. Then, just over a minute later when the cops asked for emergent response and requested medics code 3, she still did not add rescue. Why?
During her testimony, Scurry explains what code 3 means. She is very familiar, it seems, with the term, but yet she did not allocate the appropriate resources the officers were asking for from a common sense or from a procedural standpoint, as clearly laid out in the policy she is directed to work from. The policy she has been trained on. Scurry also testified that she couldn’t give the camera her full attention because she was going back and forth between her screen, adding remarks and dispatching, yet she only dispatched two other incidents the entire time and still didn’t add rescue or talk to her cops for over 5 minutes. Remember, according to Police Dispatcher Responsibility as clearly outlined in the official protocol, the radio and CAD (in that order) are the primary responsibility of the dispatcher. So, why the radio silence? Why no rescue? Why the policy violation, and more importantly why is it being shoved under the rug when Scurry’s violation of that policy contributed to the death of George Floyd, and had she acted in accordance with policy and added rescue, who were only 6 blocks away, George Floyd would have been rendered the emergency medical attention that her cops were screaming for.
Even more disturbing is the call to her sergeant. This didn’t happen util 2030 hrs and 44 seconds. After 8:30 PM. 12 minutes after they took Floyd out of the car, and two MINUTES AFTER EMS requested rescue to start to the scene, which they should have never had to request, as rescue should have arrived on the scene before them, had Scurry followed her policy. If she was so concerned, like she testified, why did she wait so long to call?
I reached out to John Elder, public information officer for the Minneapolis Police Department for comment. Elder told me that 911 is not a function of the Minneapolis Police Department, bur rather an enterprise member of the City of Minneapolis. The Stew Peters Show has reached out to MECC, but as of the time of this broadcast, we have not heard back.
911 dispatchers are often taught seconds save lives…in this case, rescue would have made that difference. That 9 minute video would have never existed, because those nine minutes would have never occurred if that dispatcher had taken her job seriously and followed policy, George Floyd may still be alive.
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Author: Stew Peters Show
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