Last week, an 11-year-old girl died of an asthma attack, and her mother, Carmen Ojeda, blamed a police officer for keeping her from getting to the hospital in time. She also says the officer, Alfonso Mendez, "smirked" at her and refused to perform CPR on her dying daughter, claiming he didn't know how. Mendez has been suspended from the 84th precinct and could face departmental charges for "failing to take proper police action," but the Ojedas say that isn't enough. On top of wanting to press criminal charges, they want to make it a crime for a cop to refuse to help in a health emergency.
NYPD officers are trained in CPR during police academy. However, the standard CPR certification lasts only two years. Mendez is a five-year NYPD veteran, so it is likely his certification had expired. A good Samaritan ended up performing CPR on the girl on the way to the hospital, but she died an hour after arriving. Carmen and Michael Ojeda will rally today on the steps of the Brooklyn Supreme Court for "Briana's Law," which would require yearly training in CPR and first aid for cops, and make it a misdemeanor for cops to refuse help. Mendez's wife previously defended her husband's actions, saying, "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."