EAST FLATBUSH, Brooklyn -- A disturbing video has surfaced showing EMTs attacked and assaulted just for doing their job.
New York City Council Member Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island) was first to draw attention to the incident. He posted the video on his twitter account this morning.
“The video is problematic, these EMTs they’re obviously going to someone in distress, someone who needs help,” Borelli said. “That’s their job and to come away being punched in the face and being assaulted at any time or day is a problem we need to address.”
It was Wednesday morning when EMTs responded to a call for a person in cardiac arrest near Albany Avenue and Rutland Road in East Flatbush. Family members of the patient became argumentative over the patient’s care.
One lieutenant and two EMTs were attacked. The union makes the point their men and women members come in to save lives, not to be responsible for de-escalating a situation.
“That video is a microcosm of what our guys face everyday in the field,” said Michael Greco,
Vice-President of the Uniformed EMTs, Paramedics and Inspectors, Local 2507.
Things took a violent turn when the suspect allegedly bit the hand of one EMT and took a swing at the lieutenant.
“Somebody rear-backed and punched one of our lieutenants directly in the face and knocked him for a loop,” Greco said. “We have somebody who was bit, we have broken ribs and we have a concussion. The person who was bit, they’re now on the unfortunate thing we call the cocktail which is a 30-day round of antibiotics to prevent HIV or any type of hepatitis.”
Greco says incidents like this happen too often.
“We’re doing our job, we are a uniformed personnel, we show up in uniform," Greco said. "We are not peacekeepers, we are not cops, we are not any sort of law enforcement agency. We’re there for one reason and one reason only - to help you when you call 911.”
Police arrested 30-year-old Clifford Bowers and charged him with felony assault and harassment.
Borelli says more needs to be done for our EMTs.
“We want to protect m the EMTs, we want to give them some resource, some mechanism, some tactic, some training to prevent these type of attacks,” Borelli said.
Borelli also points out there’s a law in place.
“It’s been almost three years since New York State made it a felony to assault EMTs, we want to follow up with some of the district attorneys to make sure these cases are being prosecuted to the fullest and not just being plead out.”
Greco tells PIX11 there are hundreds of incidents of assaults on EMTs every year. Those are just the reported cases, many incidents go unreported.
“I want to see people arrested, I want to see people in jail, I want to see self defense,” Greco said. “I want to see funding toward EMS to train us and get us ready for these situations to hopefully bring the 300 assaults per year down to zero.”