Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The family of Deanna Cook, who was choked to death during 911 call, sues the ... - Dallas Morning News (blog)

Vickie Cook, second from right, is comforted by a friend at the gravesite of her daughter, Deanna Cook, who was buried at Laurel Land Cemetery last month. Funeral services for Deanna Cook, whose murder was apparently recorded on a 911 call, were held Friday, August 24, 2012, at St. John Missionary Baptist Church in Dallas. (Mona Reeder/The Dallas Morning News)

Deanna Cook’s family has called a 9:30 a.m. press conference, during which they will undoubtedly discuss lawsuit you will find below. It was filed this morning in Dallas federal court, one month after Cook was slain during a 911 call to police â€" a call so mishandled Dallas Police Chief David Brown was forced to fire one 911 operator and suspend another after apologizing to Cook’s family.

The 29-page suit provides its own moment-by-moment account of what attorney Aubrey “Nick” Pittman says occurred on August 17, as the 32-year-old mother of two was “screaming at the top of her lungs in fear, begging for assistance from the 9-1-1 Call Center” while being attacked in her home. Says the suit, myriad 911 call center employees mishandled the call, not just those disciplined by Brown. The suit names them as defendants, as well as the Dallas Police officers who went to Cook’s home on August 17, couldn’t find her and then “left without performing any additional investigation of Ms. Cook’s whereabouts, her residence, or her 9-1-1 call.” Cook’s body was found two days later.

Deanna Cook in a photo taken from her Facebook page.

The suit contains myriad allegations that transcend this single incident. For instance, the complaint alleges that “upon information and belief, the CITY OF DALLAS has a policy, practice, or custom of law enforcement that provides less protection or assistance to female victims in high crime and predominantly minority-race neighborhoods than to victims in other neighborhoods.” And it says, in short, that by allowing Cook’s call to go unanswered, the city and DPD violated her constitutional rights. Says the complaint:

Defendant CITY OF DALLAS, as applicable, failed and refused to implement customs, policies, practices or procedures, and failed to train its personnel adequately on the appropriate policies, practices or procedures regarding the handling of 9-1-1 domestic violence and bodily harm calls. In so doing, Defendant CITY OF DALLAS knew that it was acting against the clear dictates of current law, and knew that as a direct consequence of their deliberate decisions, the very situation that occurred â€" i.e., death to the 9-1-1 caller â€" in all reasonable probability would occur.

The family is asking for a jury trial and unspecified damages covering everything from actual loss to “loss of affection, consortium, comfort, financial assistance, protection, affection and care.” No doubt we’ll have more from the morning press conference; till then, the suit is below.

Deanna Cook Lawsuit

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