Why did the two NYPD officers who initially responded to the fatal stabbing of Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz apparently not provide any emergency first-aid to the mortally wounded teen?
That’s the question the NYPD is trying to answer, according to the New York Post, which reports that high-ranking officials are examining the actions of the two uniformed officers who were the first to arrive at the scene, after being flagged down by frantic passersby.
“The Bronx Borough command is reviewing the response,” NYPD spokesman Phil Walzak told the Post.
Surveillance video captured harrowing images of five men pulling Guzman-Feliz out of the Cruz and Chiky Grocery story in the Belmont section of the Bronx on June 20. Once they got the boy outside the store, they repeatedly hacked him with a machete and stabbed him with knives, authorities say.
The boy, mortally wounded, got up and ran toward a nearby hospital, but collapsed on the way. Video posted to YouTube captured that chaotic scene as well, as friends and neighbors of the boy tried in vain to stop the bleeding.
Meanwhile, two uniformed NYPD officers arrive. The video shows them standing away from the victim, while Guzman-Feliz was bleeding out on the sidewalk before them. Almost a minute passes before one of them approaches the boy and asks, “What happened?”
NYPD chief spokesperson Phil Walzak told the Post that “Officers responding to a different call were flagged down by civilians and directed to the victim, and an ambulance arrived just over one minute later.”
That may be so, but the NYPD patrol guide -- which codifies the basic rules cops are supposed to follow -- requires officers to not just summon an ambulance, but to “render reasonable aid” to the injured person.
In cases where a person is bleeding profusely, as Guzman-Feliz was, death from blood loss can happen in mere minutes.
In fact, in 2016, the NYPD began teaching its patrol officers -- the uniformed, first-line officers like those seen in the video -- advanced first-aid, including how to stop bleeding from traumatic, penetrating injuries, like gunshot or knife wounds, according to 4 New York, the local NBC affiliate.
A high-ranking NYPD officer quoted by 4 New York explained the reason for the new training: “When deployed properly and in a rapid fashion, we can bridge the gap between traumatic injury and the emergency room.” Another officer stressed that cops are typically threat-oriented, “But if you can stop the bleeding and get someone to the hospital, you can save their life.”
The NYPD’s public relations office confirmed to Oxygen.com that its patrol officers receive what it calls “Basic Life Support and Trauma Treatment (BLASTT)” training on a biennial basis, which is the training covered by the 4 New York report. But when asked why the two officers in this case didn’t apply that training, the NYPD did not respond.
Joe Mancini, a spokesperson for the New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Organization, also declined to comment.
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