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Officer suspended in ‘asthma girl’ death

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An 84th Precinct cop was suspended without pay on Tuesday after apparently failing to assist an 11-year-old girl dying from an asthma attack as her panicked mother scrambled to get her to Long Island College Hospital in Cobble Hill.

Investigators confirmed on Wednesday that Police Officer Alfonso Mendez, a five-year veteran of the NYPD, had confronted mom Carmen Ojeda after she had sideswiped another vehicle near Kane and Henry streets in Carroll Gardens while driving the wrong way down a one-way street in a mad dash to get her choking daughter, Briana, to the Hicks Street medical center.

The frantic mother reportedly told the cop that her daughter had had an asthma attack while playing in Carroll Park and that she was trying to get her to the nearest hospital for treatment.

That’s when, according to Ojeda, Mendez claimed that he didn’t know CPR — even though all NYPD officers are trained in the life-saving technique at the police academy. Mendez then tried to give Ojeda a ticket for the car accident as her daughter gasped for air.

Ojeda continued to plead for help and Mendez ultimately escorted her to the hospital, but by then it was too late.

Briana, who was about to enter the sixth grade at St. Francis Xavier School on President Street in Park Slope, died in the emergency room.

Mendez left after escorting Ojeda to the hospital, prompting a brief search for the cop.

“He could have put my daughter in his car. He could have performed CPR,” an outraged Michael Ojeda, Briana’s father, told reporters this weekend. “I hope to see him one day so he can explain to me why.”

Hundreds of mourners, all dressed in white at Carmen Ojeda’s request, filled the St. Francis Xavier church on Wednesday. To the last, Briana was treated as a princess: Her coffin was brought to the cathedral in a horse-drawn carriage.

At first, NYPD officials claimed that the man in uniform who confronted Ojeda may not have been a cop. But by Monday, Mendez had been identified as the phantom officer as the search expanded to precincts neighboring Carroll Gardens.

Yet Mendez remembers the incident differently.

According to sources, he told Internal Affairs investigators that he had just finished gassing up his car at the 76th Precinct stationhouse on Union Street and was heading to Boerum Hill when he came across the car accident.

As he got closer, he noticed that someone was already performing CPR on Briana. The girl was also receiving oxygen from a tank that Ojeda always kept handy in the event of an attack.

He did confess to his claim about not knowing CPR, but said he didn’t need any prodding to escort Ojeda to the hospital.

“[Mendez] did what he could for Briana,” the officer’s family told reporters. Mendez refused to comment.

Calls to the 84th Precinct were directed to NYPD headquarters, where a spokesman would only confirm that Mendez had been suspended.

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne did add that Mendez wasn’t facing criminal charges. District Attorney Charles Hynes’s office confirmed that no one in his office is currently investigating the incident.

Updated 5:20 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Michael from Park Slope says:
And to think that many people are so wretchedly deluded that they still refer to them as "New York's Finest," despite the many and various examples over the years (like this one) that prove otherwise.
Sept. 4, 2010, 11:05 am
margieroman says:
the only person at fault here is the parent sad to say i have a grandson who suffers from asthma i allways. my tell my daughter to carry with his pump she tells me he is o.k but i tell her that does not matter he can get an asthma attack at any point and time is better to be safe then sorry .my prayers are with you may god give you both the strengh you both need to face the lost of your daughter.
Sept. 4, 2010, 9:43 pm
Cynthia from park slope says:
This was not the officers fault. The mother should of waited for an ambulance. CPR would not of helped this child's condition. Thank God the police officer stopped the mother from driving down the wrong way on a street. He helped prevent another fiasco and saved peoples lives driving or walking in that woman's path. She needs to stop all the drama. Don't use the officer as a scapegoat for your lack of sense. Stop looking for attention and take care of your surviving child.
Sept. 5, 2010, 1:32 pm
CarrollGardens67 from Carroll Gardens says:
LUCY your a FU*KING idiot. I wish you would say that to this child's parents. I would slap the —— of out of you for them.

CYNTHIA- The officer is at fault. He should of just taken the kid out of the car and just drove the two blocks to LIC. That would of been the end of it. Instead he did nothing. You wanted her to wait for the ambulance!! Are you kidding me. The ambulance was taking to long so she put her kid in the car and took off. There is no waiting when someone is having an asthma attack.

Sept. 6, 2010, 8:11 pm
Pam Jordan from Wichita, KS says:
My prayers are with this family. I pray that they stay strong for one another. I went through this last August 24th, 2009. A Wichita police officer walked into my home as i was giving him cpr and he ordered me away from him and I looked at him in his eyes and asked are you going to continue. His response was; "YES I just need you to get back" He kneeled there with 2 fingers on my grandsons throat for approx. 5-7 minutes and my grandson died. My grandsons only chance of survival was cpr and this cop took that very chance away. Our local police department did not take him off duty even for a day. Our police department state on an application that you will be trained in cpr/first aid training. When you are at the training grounds it states that one of your job duties for public safety is cpr/first aid. Why are the police cheifs not being held responsible for their men and women not keeping up on their cpr/first aid training? My husband is on the fire department and they have to update their emt license every year. It is high time the police department be held acoountable for their neglagence of not maintaining what they are trained to do. Only some cops deserve to be called our cities finest. I just have a hard time with that now that my grandson is gone. My respect and trust for any police officer went out the window that day. I will pray for this family and shame on all you who have anything negative to say about this family. Until you have been in their shoes you have no right to comment. It only shows your ignorance and I only hope you never have to be in the same shoes as myself or this family.
Sept. 21, 2010, 6:31 pm
James from Brooklyn says:
Cynthia you are a disgusting lowlife. I hope you suffocate in front of a bunch of people who do nothing.
July 10, 2016, 7:48 pm

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