Police Have A Duty To Render Emergency First Aid To Save Lives, But Some Never Try

George Floyd, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Mike Brown, Freddie Gray and the list goes on and on of Black men and Black boys who died from injuries suffered during encounters with police. The lack of first aid in these incidents is indicative of how police officers have devalued black lives. According to The Marshall Project, Tracie Keesee, co-founder of the Center for Policing Equity said “What there is, though, is a recognition industry-wide that you have a duty to do something,”.

On September 7, 2013 Chicago police officers stood over a helpless black man as he gasped for air after being shot by an off-duty policeman. Marlon Horton was shot by police officer Kenneth Walker. “He’s bleeding from the chest, it’s probably critical,” said Walker to the 911 dispatch operator. The 911 dispatch operator told Walker to administer emergency first aid by covering Horton’s wound and keep him calm. Surveillance video of the area showed Walker made no attempt to follow the 911 dispatch operators instructions. Neither did any of the other Chicago police officers that arrived on the scene.

It took fire department EMT”s more than five minutes to arrive and transport Horton to a hospital where he was pronounced dead, reports The Marshall Project. The police officers faced no discipline for the incident and Walker is still an active duty Chicago police officer according to the Citizens Police Data Project. Eventually the city settled with Horton’s family for $900,000.

The Marshall Project examined the practices of police departments in 50 of the largest cities in America. Their investigation found “at least 32 cases since 2010 in which police officers delayed or failed to act” “In roughly half of these cases, the officers involved remained on the force”. Advocates of police reform are demanding police standardize their first aid practices and make it mandatory. If police officers are unwilling or unable to perform their duty to act, they should quit.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here