The Denver Police Department has fired one of its officers after he failed to give medical assistance to a dying 18-year-old in what was termed a ‘callous lack of humanity’.
Dewayne Rodgers, a 16-year veteran of the force, arrived at a shooting scene at the 10000 block of East Harvard Avenue, near Cherry Creek County Club, on September 7, 2020.
He found shooting victim JaLonte Jones, 18, lying in the road, having been shot in the leg.
Rodgers called an ambulance but did not render any medical assistance, despite all Denver police officers being equipped with tourniquets and trained on how to use them since 2014.
Jones begged the officer to help him, but Rodgers instead spent the 13 minutes until the ambulance arrived asking Jones his name, where he lived, and who shot him, body camera footage shows.
Jones can be heard telling Rodgers ‘I’m dying’ before later being pronounced dead at a hospital.
Rodgers was fired on November 22.
Mary Dulacki, chief deputy executive director of Denver’s department of public safety, signed the documents detailing Rodgers’s firing.
‘The callous lack of humanity that Officer (Dewayne Rodgers) displayed is best exemplified by his response to the victim saying, ‘Oh my god. Help me,’ when Officer Rodgers replied, ‘Do you live in this complex?” the document states, according to Fox 31.
JaLonte Jones, 18, was shot and killed on September 7, 2020, in Denver. As he lay dying, Officer Dewayne Rodgers refused to help him, despite his pleas
In body camera footage from the night, Rodgers can be heard asking Jones for his name, as he lies dying
It is not known whether Jones would have lived had Rodgers given first aid, but he was condemned for failing to try.
‘In the early stages of this homicide investigation, the Denver Police Department recognized and had concerns about Officer Dewayne Rodgers’ failure to render aid to the shooting victim,’ the police said on Friday.
Jones died in hospital following the shooting
‘The Department opened an Internal Affairs investigation, thoroughly investigated the officer’s actions with oversight by the Office of the Independent Monitor, and the result of the disciplinary process was Officer Dewayne Rodger’s termination.’
A second officer who was also on the scene resigned during the course of the disciplinary investigation.
Rodgers told the investigators that he did not have his tourniquet on him at the time, and did not have latex gloves so was unwilling to assist.
Rodgers reported that he entered the parking lot and was ‘flagged down by an individual who guided him to the victim’s location. Rodgers said the victim was on the ground, laying on his stomach.
Jones can be heard in the body cam footage begging the officer for help
Instead of helping him, Rodgers repeatedly asks his name, as blood soaks through Jones’s jeans
‘He described that ‘[t]he victim’s pants were so saturated with blood that it couldn’t be determined which leg he was shot in.’
Officer Rodgers wrote that after a few minutes, ‘the victim began moving around and rolled over onto his back and then stopped moving as the firefighters arrive on scene.’
He never called the ambulance to say Jones’s condition was worsening.
‘I make the decision at that time not to touch him, because I can’t figure where he’s shot at. I don’t know how many times he’s shot,’ Rodgers reported.
‘Nobody could give me the information that I can’t touch him. If I touch him, I might cause more harm than good to this guy, because I don’t know anything.
‘Where he’s been shot or how many times he’s been shot.
‘So, at that point I decided I’m not going to touch him. I’m going to keep him talking to me and keep him calm and try to keep him moving a lot.’
A third officer arrived on the scene 10 minutes later and attempted to administer a tourniquet, but by that point Jones was not moving.
‘On scene, I was told the victim was shot in the leg but would not identify himself,’ the officer said. ‘I approached the victim to attempt to place a tourniquet on the leg.
‘The victim was so bloody I could not see where the wound was. I also observed the victim was no longer responsive. I checked for signs of breathing, and saw none. At this point Fire and EMS were arriving.’
Denver police tweeted at the time about the incident, on September 7, 2020
In the departmental order of disciplinary action, the police department found ‘Officer Rodgers made no attempt to render aid such as applying pressure to the area of the wound, which he expressed was a suitable alternative means of triaging a gunshot wound in the absence of a tourniquet.’
They were dismissive about Rodgers claiming that he was worried about aggravating the condition, saying it ‘cannot excuse the lack of care he demonstrated since the foreseeable outcome of failing to render aid was death, which significantly outweighs any concern of aggravating an injury.’
Dedranette Jones, JaLonte’s mother, said she was horrified by the body camera footage.
‘He’s essentially bleeding out in this parking lot, and you seem to be more concerned with what happened and who shot him as opposed to finding the injury and trying to do whatever you can to help preserve his life,’ Jones told the channel.
‘I do feel like if more effort would have been put forth, then maybe they could have saved his life.
‘Did you just not care enough? Did you look at it like this is just another gang member?’
Jones’s mother, Dedranette Jones, said she could not understand why help was not given, speculating that it could have saved her son’s life
D’Andre Horton, was arrested and charged with four counts of first-degree murder, and in October was sentenced to 10 years in prison
According to the DPD Operations Manual, officers who come in contact with an injured person should ‘provide first aid (when appropriate) to their level of training without any unreasonable delay,’ while waiting for emergency medical services – having first checked to confirm that they are not endangering their own lives or anyone else’s in doing so.
‘Once it is safe to approach the suspect, officers will handcuff, search the individual thoroughly and take control of any weapons(s) within their immediate vicinity,’ the manual states.
‘When the suspect poses no further risk to officers or bystanders, officers will remove the handcuffs and when appropriate, they should rend first aid to their level of training without any unreasonable delay.’
Rodgers’s firing was also down to his refusal to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
In September, he and six other officers sued the city over the vaccine mandate.
The man accused of shooting Jones, D’Andre Horton, was arrested and charged with four counts of first-degree murder.
Prosecutors dismissed those charges and in October this year Horton pleaded guilty to first-degree assault and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.