There are few people who have the ability to remain completely calm in an emergency situation. Usually, those who have the capability to do this are in some sort of emergency fields such as fire rescue, medical, or law enforcement.
When 17-year-old Adrianne Ledesma had to call 911 when her father was having a seizure, the last thing that she was thinking about was proper etiquette. Just three weeks before, Adrianne’s dad had undergone brain surgery so she was particularly nervous about him falling over during an epileptic seizure. She tried dialing 911 once and when no one picked up, she tried again. By the time the dispatcher picked up on the second try, Adrianne was in a full on fluster and just as the officer on the other end was picking up the phone, she was swearing loudly. The state of fear that she was in surely escalated her lack of appropriate language, but she didn’t think much of it. Unfortunately, Officer Robert McFarland from the Lincoln Park, Michigan Police Department thought differently about the situation and decided to reprimand her for her use of poor language. Doesn’t really seem like a fitting time to give someone a lecture on such a topic, but for some reason, McFarland felt the need to make the alarmed girl suffer even more. By this time, she was yelling into the phone begging him to send an ambulance to her house. Instead, the officer hung up the phone one her. She tried to call a third time, but he hung up on her again.
Ledesma knew that she couldn’t waste any more time, so she raced to the police station and begged for help. As luck would have it, McFarland was right there greeting her at the main entrance and what he did next is appalling…
Instead of sending help for her father, he decided to arrest her for abusing 911. Evidently, he was accusing her of a felony that doesn’t exist. He literally cuffed and put her in a cell right then and there. He was arguing with her on the phone about her language and decided to wait six minutes to send for an ambulance. Most people who are in the field of rescue work, are well aware that six minutes is a long time and could mean life or death. McFarland also went on to lie to emergency personnel saying that he was never able to find out what the girl needed so he couldn’t forward the phone call over to them. He was caught in this lie on the recorded line.
Sgt. Robert McFarland is a twenty year veteran of the Lincoln Park Police Department and has since been suspended for putting a life at risk. While he refuses to comment, his boss, the Chief of Police, has suspended him for two weeks without pay and made it mandatory that he attend additional training. He also made the following statement…
“It’s not the station’s finest moment. Something happened there that is totally out of his character,” said the Chief, who also shared that McFarland has always had positive reviews.
Adrianne and her father are currently working with an attorney and there is talk of a settlement with the city.