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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 2/8/2006 6:46:31 AM EDT
Jacksonville Officer Faces Reprimand For Not Attempting Rescue


BRIDGET MURPHY
Florida Times-Union



A veteran Jacksonville police officer faces disciplinary action for failing to act when an agitated hit-and-run suspect last year crawled into a watery drainage pipe and died as rescuers stood by without attempting a rescue for more than 20 minutes.

In a report released Friday, Internal Affairs investigators in the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office found that Officer Winn Winfrey, on the force more than 30 years, failed to take actions he should have as the man was unresponsive with his face in inches of water.

Winfrey and Officer Bradley Emerson were the first to arrive at the scene when Mark Henderson, 31, crashed his truck into a camper in Mandarin on June 18, and then started acting erratically and went into the pipe under a driveway.

When rookie Emerson stripped off his gun belt, shirt and bullet-resistant vest and prepared to get Henderson, Winfrey stopped him, saying the man could be armed.

After firefighters arrived, Winfrey ordered them not to attempt a rescue, arguing with the ranking fire officer, Lt. Cynthia Williams, who insisted they get Henderson. When firefighters finally pulled the man out about 22 minutes after police first arrived and 19 minutes after the rescue unit arrived, Henderson wasn't breathing and had no pulse. He died two days later when taken off a ventilator.

Citing a chaotic and dangerous situation, police investigators nonetheless said Winfrey should have re-evaluated the possible threat after not seeing Henderson move for several minutes. Henderson's family said he suffered from seizures and an autopsy showed he had seizure medication and alcohol in his system at the time of the incident.

While delaying firefighters from rescuing Henderson, police also claimed at the scene they were waiting on a canine team to arrive and flush the man out of the pipe, although Henderson's actions didn't meet Sheriff's Office criteria for when a dog can be used in an apprehension, investigators noted. Winfrey said he planned on using the barking police dog as a bluffing technique that would force the man out.

But investigators said that by waiting for a canine team's arrival that he knew couldn't go in the pipe, rather than preparing another plan, Winfrey caused "unnecessary delay." They also noted Winfrey couldn't recall many conversations other witnesses who were present at the scene did, including a conversation Williams, the ranking fire official, recalled during which she said Winfrey told her Henderson's life was "expendable" compared to theirs.

Internal Affairs Lt. Christian Smith said Friday that Winfrey will get a written reprimand in his personnel file, the result of an investigation sparked by concerns from both Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department personnel and Sheriff's Office officials after the incident.

Winfrey will have a chance to appeal the Sheriff's Office decision on the reprimand.

John Henderson, Mark Henderson's father, said Friday he had not heard of the Sheriff's Office finding but "obviously something went wrong" the night his son died.

As part of the probe, investigators cleared Emerson of the same charge of failing to take action, noting he prepared to rescue the man before Winfrey ordered him not to and that he spoke with witnesses and searched Henderson's pickup truck during the incident, trying other ways of handling the situation.

Also investigated was whether Winfrey tried to interfere with the internal probe after Williams reported the officer went to her fire station and discussed the incident with another fire lieutenant who hadn't been at the scene that night on the same day some of the firefighters gave testimony to internal investigators. That charge wasn't upheld.


Link Posted: 2/8/2006 6:50:26 AM EDT
I could care less about some drunk killing himself.

Sucks for the officer.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 6:51:15 AM EDT
One less siezure prone drunk hit & run driver on the roads. The policeman did us a favor.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 6:53:33 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Alien: One less siezure prone drunk hit & run driver on the roads. The policeman did us a favor.
They should've given that cop a commendation! Why risk a cop's life to save a drunk driver? The cop is a resource, the drunk driver is a liability.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 6:55:09 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 6:59:01 AM EDT
Darwin took the drunk, why should the cop have to pay?
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 7:06:25 AM EDT
the cop defered judgement to Mr Darwin and Mr Darwin was right.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 7:09:08 AM EDT
This sounds like another one of those "bad shit happened; the purp was at fault; let's blame the cops" deals. I really have a lot of respect for police officers trying to do their jobs in today's world.

We have all seen the video of the asshole brandishing a knife while being surrounded by armed policemen pleading with him to drop the weapon. They finally had to shoot the SOB.

I feel so sorry for police officers that are charged with protecting the public at large, but when they do, some crybaby asshole looking for someone to blame takes a shit on them. Society needs to come to grips with accepting that police officers are authority figures, and you had better show them respect and do what they say. Otherwise, that bloody wound you see might be attached to you.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 7:27:42 AM EDT

Originally Posted By TomHighway:
We have all seen the video of the asshole brandishing a knife while being surrounded by armed policemen pleading with him to drop the weapon. They finally had to shoot the SOB.



If it's the same one I'm thinking about it was Lynn or Saugus mass PD on route 1.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 8:10:01 AM EDT
No more innocent until proven guilty?

It is the job of police/EMS/firefighter workers to save lives, regaurdless of who the person is.

How would you feel if they left a family member in a wrecked car because they found an AR-15 in the trunk and decided they might be armed and dangerous. Even though the person is clearly unconcious?

I can understand that he personaly did not feel safe going in for whatever reason, but going beyond that and stopping other people when he obviously posed no threat seems more like a personal decision.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 8:19:30 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Aimless:
But if he'd said nothing as Emerson went in and Emerson got a .25 hole in the middle of his forehead for his troubles he'd be in the shit for that instead.

Who can tell what the hell happened from these news reports anyways. A picture of the pipe and where the drunk was might get you a "I wouldn't gone in there either!' or a "WTF was he thinking" Who knows?



+1. Potentially violent criminal and a small enclosed space = bad idea. In perspective, 20 minutes is not that bad a delay.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 8:19:47 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/8/2006 8:20:26 AM EDT by shotar]
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 8:23:27 AM EDT
Is the officer trained and equipped for confined space rescue?
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 8:30:04 AM EDT
drink, drive...................................................................... die
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 8:32:14 AM EDT
Exactly. Never enter a confined space.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 8:37:07 AM EDT
A lawyer sees a negotiated pay day rather than an having a negative PR value trial for the Police. The media will help him achieve this lofty goal.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 8:37:36 AM EDT


John Henderson, Mark Henderson's father, said Friday he had not heard of the Sheriff's Office finding but "obviously something went wrong" the night his son died.





Yup, that's for sure man. Your son (who shouldn't have been mixing anticonvulsives and booze, or driving and booze), freaked out and drowned himself in a pipe after nailing another motorist with his vehicle.

The shoulda-coulda-wouldas should start and end with, "the dumb bastard shouldn't have been drinking".
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 10:14:42 AM EDT
You livein the bed you make

Drive drunk, run from police, crawl into a confied space full of water

He got what he deserved
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 10:24:28 AM EDT

Originally Posted By FunYun1983:
No more innocent until proven guilty?

It is the job of police/EMS/firefighter workers to save lives, regaurdless of who the person is.

How would you feel if they left a family member in a wrecked car because they found an AR-15 in the trunk and decided they might be armed and dangerous. Even though the person is clearly unconcious?

I can understand that he personaly did not feel safe going in for whatever reason, but going beyond that and stopping other people when he obviously posed no threat seems more like a personal decision.



That works real well in a court of law, not so well out in the street.

Tell you what; next time someone is barricaded in a house and is believed to have shot someone, we'll send you in unarmed to go get him, because he's "innocent until proven guilty", right?
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 10:28:09 AM EDT
Yet another reason for police to undergo lasso training. If they could just lasso the feet of running suspects it would be much safer for the public. If this poor guy had been lassoed, he'd still be alive right now.

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