Family Wants Law Changed After Girl’s Asthma Death

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — The family of a young girl from Brooklyn who died of an asthma attack was demanding changes in the wake of her death.

Briana Ojeda, 11, died on August 27th. Her mother tried to rush her to the hospital, but was stopped by Officer Alfonso Mendez.

He said he didn’t know CPR, though officers receive training.

Carmen Ojeda said she got back in her car and continued driving, but it was too late. Briana was pronounced dead about an hour later at Long Island College Hospital.

The five-year veteran of the NYPD, assigned to the 84th Precinct in downtown Brooklyn, was suspended without pay for thirty days for failing to report his involvement in the incident.

One of the reasons why the NYPD and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly were so upset is because it took four days to locate Officer Mendez. Many in the Department feel he should have turned himself in.

Brianna’s parents were calling for a new law requiring officers to be re-certified in CPR annually. They also wanted officers to face charges for refusing to give medical assistance in emergencies.

In a brief and exclusive encounter with CBS 2HD, Mendez wouldn’t say much, but his wife of nine years immediately came to his defense. “If he could have done more, he would have,” said Damaris Mendez. “He was alone and he just, you know, he was scared.”

“He’s destroyed because…we have children too. What happened is tragic and I’m sorry for her loss,” Damaris Mendez said.

The morning funeral for Ojeda was held at St. Francis Xavier Church on September 1. The Park Slope church was filled with tears for little Briana whose casket was carried along 6th Avenue.

“This was tragic,” her teacher, Rebecca Rodan said, “She was too young to go.”

Briana’s father, Michael, cried as he read a poem that said, “Your love is still our guide, though we can not see you, you are always by our side.”


One Comment

  1. George says:

    Carmen Ojeda! Why did you not know CPR to save you daughter?

    1. George says:

      I am sorry for your loss!

  2. LucyGoosey says:

    How come the mother does know CPR? she has the ailing child, she should know something. What is she blaming the cop? he was doing his job, she drove off without incident, how is it his fault/ Why didn’t she call paramedics? maybe her time on the street contributed to the death.

    1. nay sayer says:

      This was a tragic accident and the Police officer is guilty of two things. First he should have took this child lights and Sirens to the hospital and secondly this incident should have been reported in accordance to his job description/requirements. Everyone is quick to judge this police office but I will state again it was a tragic event but one in which is NOT the officers fault. Administering CRP when you don’t know what you are doing can cause more harm then good. The child should have been rushed to the ER. A mother that is so broken down by this even is sure looking good in her best gowns and face flawlessly done with makeup. SMH who mourns their child this way? As a parent of such a bad asthmatic child she the mother should have been equipped with Asthma pump in hand.

  3. warrk21 says:

    Please go to departedngone and Let The World Know that we have lost a Good Life.
    Departed N Gone

  4. satineye says:

    They are blaming the police because he stopped her from taking her daughter to the hospital and then did not assist her. The mom does not have to know CPR bu the cop does!

    1. cl8978 says:

      If the Child had a History of ASTHMA.. then why in the HELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL DIDNT the Mother LEARN CPR? this is REDICULOUS… I have a child with SEVERE ASTHMA . He has never once been hospitalized over night… I WATCH for signs to know when it is getting worse and I give him preventitive meds along with fast acting and if that does not work, I have a nebulizer. … and let me tell you if that Freaking COP tried to PULL me over while on the Way to the ER I would not have stopped he would have had to chase me to the Hospital… BAD ALL THE WAY AROUND Especially on the Arrogant COPS part

  5. Haywood Jablome says:

    CPR would not have saved that girl. Asthma isn’t about getting air in, it’s about air exchange in the lungs. Had she been put on a respirator with 100% oxygen, she still would have dies.

    1. cl8978 says:

      You May be correct if she were to have recieved a Treatment Via Nebulizer and other anti asthmatic Drugs she would have made it…I agree… Asthma just doesnt happen overnight and it takes a while to get that bad it is not a sudden DEATH… it is slow and AGONIZING… usually die of Cardiac Arrest before Suffocation… she should have KNOWN how to do CPR ANYWAY! or had TAKEN ACTION SOONER !

  6. eric says:

    officer is a fake probaly he was a dropout from school

  7. JP says:

    Does the Mom know CPR???? Why are they blaming the police???

  8. Dan Te says:

    But Duckie, driving the wrong way down a one way street or weekly street shootouts are expected. Now a genetic reject dying of a genetic condition and not of drugs or bullets – THAT’s Unacceptable!

  9. Duckie says:

    Since when did a police officer also have to be emergency medical technicians? His duty was, at best, to summon properly qualified help. This is a tragic situation but what’s next? Every cop also a bomb disposal expert, a scuba diver, and an animal control officer? The cop was actually doing what he was paid to do… he was dealing with a woman who was driving the WRONG WAY DOWN A ONE WAY STREET!

  10. tony says:

    parents should be blamed…..where was the asthma pump you savage mother

    1. Moreno valley reader says:

      Asthma pumps do not Always help if the attack is severe enough

  11. mike d says:

    Blage you cant pull the race card when both involved are the same backround. Sorr “whitey” wasnt involed to mess things up for ya

  12. ezflyer says:

    There are too many unknown factors involved regarding the entire situation posted here and for the most part, the public judges the police officer based on what is broadcasted by the media. We do not know what happened, we were not there so to say that it is based on ego is wrong. His family stated that he is deeply affected by the entire situation, and when he looks at his children, that will be one hell that he has to live with knowing that a child died because of what he either did or did not do. Also, what does race have to do with it so why is that even brought up in your post? The police department should have their officers qualified for CPR yearly so they failed in that aspect, he may not have known. Plus the inability to identify a police officer and the time that it took find him is another issue that they will have to deal with as well.

    1. Sharon T says:

      How true, the media broadcasts are charged with high emotion because it sells. The damage it does to the families will last a lifetime. Why are we so ready to cast the first stone, we need to give an inch for both sides.

  13. Blage says:

    If this happened to my child, I wouldn’t rest until this officer is FIRED. He’s really protecting and serving the community….yea right! This officer is a joke, and should feel horrible about this for the rest of his life

    1. jp says:

      Again, why did’nt the mom do the cpr???

      1. cl8978 says:

        I agree… Asthma just doesnt happen overnight and it takes a while to get that bad it is not a sudden DEATH… it is slow and AGONIZING… usually die of Cardiac Arrest before Suffocation… she should have KNOWN how to do CPR

  14. Blage says:

    The police are suppose to protect and serve. This officer did not protect and serve. His ego and sense of control took over and now a little girl is dead. I don’t care if he has his own children, he contributed to another childs death because of his ego and now a family if greiving. I know his name is mendez but let me ask this question: would he have acted the same way if the people he pulled over were white?

    1. mom446 says:

      Blage, YES, the officer is a complete A$$ for not helping Briana. Must you be a complete A$$ making it a racial moment.

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