BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CBS 2) — A Brooklyn police officer was suspended Tuesday after failing to give CPR to a young girl who suffered an asthma attack and then died, police said.
30-year-old officer Alfonso Mendez was suspended without pay for thirty days, effective immediately.
Mendez is a five-year veteran of the NYPD, who was assigned to the 84th Precinct in downtown Brooklyn.
While police officers are not required by law to perform CPR, Mendez could face departmental charges of failing to act.
The conduct of the police officer elicited an emotional response from the young girl’s family Monday night.
The delay of assistance allegedly occurred as Michael Ojeda’s 11-year-old daughter, Briana, tried to fight through an asthma attack while her mother struggled get her to a hospital just blocks away.
“He held her up for five minutes. My daughter passed out in the street and fell on the floor in front of him. And he didn’t even make a movement to grab her and help her,” Michael Ojeda said.
CBS 2 tried to speak with Officer Mendez hours after he was suspended from the NYPD Tuesday.
When asked if he could explain what happened Friday during the incident with Briana’s mother, Mendez replied only “sorry. I can’t do that.”
Tuesday night, Mendez’s wife, Damaris, defended her husband.
“He tried to help,” she said, “He was alone and you know, he was scared.”
CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey reports the fateful meeting of Mendez and Carmen Ojeda — the girl’s mother — came Friday after the 11-year old suffered an asthma attack in Carroll Park. Her mother, put the girl in the car and drove the wrong way down the street, the most direct way to the destination that might save her daughter’s life.
Blocked on the narrow one-way street, Ojeda spotted the uniformed man in what she thought was a white police car and pleaded for help, CBS 2’s Rob Morrison reported Monday.
“My daughter fell on the floor and he look at my wife with a smirk and told her ‘I don’t know CPR,'” Ojeda said.
Witnesses also described a similar scene.
“So he’s just standing there, my mother goes, ‘do you know CPR?’ ‘Do you know CPR.’ At this point everybody’s frustrated and he’s with a little smirk on his face he says ‘no, I don’t know CPR,’ Erica Domenech said.
The girl’s mother said Mendez escorted her to the hospital by following her with lights on after the delay, but young Briana was pronounced dead at the hospital.
“She was an angel and she will be missed. The earth will miss her,” Maria Ojeda, the girl’s grandmother said.
“I’m very sorry to the woman, that if he [Mendez] could have done more, he would have,” Damaris Mendez said.