A police officer was fired after refusing to help a bleeding shooting victim who told him “I’m dying” sixtimes and ultimately did, authorities in Colorado say.
The male victim begged for help from the Denver officer who was there for more than 10 minutes as he severely bled from his wounds on Sept. 7, 2020, according to a disciplinary letter, obtained by McClatchy News, as a result of an internal investigation.
“Despite recognizing the severity of the victim’s injuries” Officer Dewayne Rodgers failed to “render aid,” the Nov. 22 letter said, announcing his firing.
Rodgers never crouched down, never touched the victim, whose identity wasn’t revealed in the letter, or offered him “words of comfort,” it detailed.
“The callous lack of humanity that Officer 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?’”
“In the early stages of a homicide investigation, the Denver Police Department recognized and had concerns about Officer Dewayne Rodgers’ failure to render aid to the shooting victim,” a police statement provided to McClatchy News said.
An internal affairs investigation ensued, resulting in Rodgers’ termination from the police force.
Initially, police were called to a report of shots fired at an apartment complex, and Rodgers arrived with another officer, David Clough.
Clough did not give aid to the shooting victim either and resigned ahead of the conclusion of the internal investigation, The Denver Post reported.
Jalonte Jones, 18, was identified as dying in a shooting on Sept. 7, 2020, in a coroner report, according to the outlet.
While at the scene, Rodgers and Clough saw the victim lying on his back in the parking lot, the records said, as Rodgers made contact with him while Clough placed crime scene tape around the area.
Rodgers was interviewed months later on Dec. 30, 2020, and he said he normally has a tourniquet with him while on duty but did not on the night of the shooting, according to the letter.
He said he asked the victim questions to “keep him engaged” but couldn’t locate where he was shot, although he knew it was in the lower region of his body.
“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,” Rodgers recounted, the letter said.
Rodgers told investigators he realized a tourniquet was needed, but he didn’t have one.
“I made the determination that I should not touch him, because he’s in dire straits at this point. He’s bleeding out. He can barely move, and he can barely talk to me at all,” Rodgers said, the records note.
“I didn’t want to fish around for the injury and do more harm.”
Video from Rodgers’ body camera recorded him asking the victim repeated questions as he bled, such as “Where’d you get shot at?” and “What’s your name?,” the records state.
The victim barely answers the slew of questions from Rodgers, but when he does, he only says “I’m dying.”
After asking more questions, Rodgers asks, “Are you going to tell me what happened? Do you know what happened?”
“Oh my god. Help me,” the victim said in reply, according to the letter.
Ultimately, the victim stopped speaking and moving altogether and ended up dying.
“Though it is unknown if the victim would have survived his injury, had he received aid in the form of pressure or a tourniquet to slow the bleeding from his wound, it would be reasonable to expect him to be alive upon the paramedics’ arrival,” the letter said.
Rodgers’ firing is a result of the department’s presumptive penalty.
This story was originally published December 3, 2021 6:55 PM.