Officers have suspended five-year NYPD veteran Alfonso Mendez after he failed to perform CPR on a dying girl while her mother attempted to bring her to the hospital. Briana Ojeda, 11, had suffered an asthma attack on Friday evening, and her mother crashed her car into a parked car on Henry Street as she attempted to rush Briana to the hospital. Mother Carmen Ojeda says officer Mendez kept her from getting to the hospital and rudely refused to perform CPR on Briana, claiming he didn't know how.
Mendez, of Brooklyn's 84th Precinct, has been suspended for thirty days without pay effective immediately. He has reportedly stopped at the 76th precinct to gas up his car and was headed to the Brooklyn Bridge on Friday evening when he spotted Ojeda going the wrong way down a one-way street. But instead of helping, he attempted to block Ojeda from getting to the hospital. One witness told WABC, "You hear people screaming, 'she needs CPR, she needs CPR', the mother is telling him, 'do you know CPR', with a smirk on his face he said, 'No, I don't know CPR.'"
Though NYPD officers are not required to perform CPR, Mendez had his badge and gun confiscated and will likely face departmental charges for failing to act. The police initially showed Carmen Ojeda photographs of all cops in the 76th Precinct, where the incident occurred. Then Internal Affairs expanded the search to all cops known to be in the area at that time; the Wall Street Journal reports, "After Internal Affairs identified Mr. Mendez as a suspect they showed his photo to the mother and she identified him as the officer."
Briana's father, Michael Ojeda, told the Daily News, "It's a shame that it took four days for this officer to reveal himself. And it should never happen to any other child." However, the cop's wife claims, "He tried to help. He was alone and you know, he was scared...I’m very sorry to the woman, that if he [Mendez] could have done more, he would have."
All officers are reportedly trained in CPR at the police academy, though CPR certification is generally valid for only two years. Briana's funeral will be held today; her grandmother said, "She was an angel and she will be missed. The earth will miss her."