1. “Deal with it yourself.”
This story out of Albuquerque happened late in June and is still outraging the living fuck out of people.
After 17-year-old Jaydon Chavez-Silver got shot at a party, his friend Esperanza Quintero desperately called 911. She told him she was performing CPR on him “as we speak” and that he was “barely” breathing. For unknown reasons, dispatcher Matthew Sanchez asks yet again whether Chavez-Silver was breathing:
SANCHEZ: Is he breathing?
QUINTERO: He’s barely breathing. How many times do I have to fucking tell you?
SANCHEZ: OK, you know what ma’am? You could deal with it yourself. I’m not gonna deal with this, OK?
QUINTERO: No, my friend is dying—
Sanchez cut her off by hanging up. Chavez-Silver died within minutes. After audio of the 911 call was released, Sanchez resigned.
2. “Quit crying.”
In 2014 when a sobbing 20-year-old rape victim in Columbus, OH dialed 911 to report her assault, the dispatcher asked her to describe the perpetrator:
VICTIM: Small male white boy, with a white shirt. [crying] Immediately arrest him. I’m nervous.
DISPATCHER: Ma’am, you’re gonna have to quit crying so I can get the information from you.
Truly the height of rudeness, n’est-ce pas?
3. “Stop whining.”
Earlier this year when a 13-year-old Maryland girl called 911 to report that her father had been struck in a hit-and-run and was dying on the ground, the dispatcher told her to “stop whining.” The girl’s father died and the dispatcher has ceased dispatching.
4. “If he shoots you, ma’am, call back and give us that information.”
Tonya Harvey of Memphis rang 911 one morning in May last year to report that a truck had run her off the highway. She called back three minutes later wondering why the police had yet to show up:
HARVEY: He drove me off the road. He pulled on my door trying to get in my car and beat on my window. I am afraid. Where are the police?
DISPATCHER: You called three minutes ago.
HARVEY: I understand that, but what if he shoots me? Then what?
DISPATCHER: If he shoots you, ma’am, call back in and give us that information.
Harvey was not shot, so we’ll never know if she’d have been able to muster the strength to call 911 again while bleeding to death.
5. “I really just don’t give a shit what happens to you.”
In 2008 when Nashville resident Sheila Jones frantically dialed 911 to report that her ex-boyfriend had a knife and was breaking in her house, no one answered at first. She called again, only to be informed that they were busy answering a more urgent call when she called the first time. Two full goddamned hours later, she called back to report she was still in danger. The male operator told her, “I really just don’t give a shit what happens to you.” He was fired.
6. Operator falls asleep during call about possible burglary.
This happened in the wonderfully torn-up town of Memphis, TN in 2009. When a woman dialed 911 to report that someone was tapping on her window, the male operator fell asleep—and then began snoring. We expect this sort of callousness out in the corporate world, but this is clearly unacceptable and problematic behavior for any public-sector employee.
7. Operator giggles after mental patient calls to report stabbing.
In 2013 a Brooklyn mental patient stabbed his girlfriend to death. Before he called 911, his therapist had already called police to report the murder. In a recording made shortly after the call, the female dispatcher is heard laughing about the fact that the man wasn’t sure whether it had actually happened or if it was a hallucination. She also passed along faulty information to the police that led to the victim’s corpse rotting in a basement for several days.
8. Tucson dispatcher laughs when man calls to report his girlfriend is on fire.
After Tucson resident Lalo Delgado‘s girlfriend caught on fire as a result of his car bursting into flames, he made a desperate call to 911. Apparently this greatly amused the female dispatcher and her associates.
DISPATCHER: Is your girlfriend still on fire?
DISPATCHER: (laughter in background) OK. (chuckles) Umm…is your vehicle still on fire?
DELGADO: It’s hilarious huh?
DISPATCHER: Sir, is your vehicle still on fire?
DELGADO: I just heard you smirk… (inaudible)
DISPATCHER: OK, sir it wasn’t regarding that, OK.
DELGADO: Yeah, I just heard you laugh.
Help arrived soon, but Delgado later said he found the dispatcher’s giggling to be “very disturbing.”
9. “This is a prank. I’m terminating the call.”
Back in February, Detroit resident Jerome Fowlkes had his son call 911 after his wife suddenly ceased breathing. He grabbed the phone from his son’s hand in the middle of the call and asked how to perform CPR. He says at that point, the operator said, “This is a prank. I’m terminating the call,” and then hung up. Fowlkes drove his wife to the hospital in time to save her life.
10. Denver dispatcher tells caller to return to the scene of a road-rage incident, where he promptly gets murdered.
This story isn’t “rude” so much as it is…negligently homicidal? Early one morning in April 2012 when Sudanese refugee Jimma Reat called 911 to report a road-rage incident, the dispatcher told him to return to the scene. He said he feared returning to the scene, but the dispatcher was insistent. So Reat returned to the scene—where he was shot to death.