A 911 dispatcher has been placed on administrative leave and will probably be fired after allegedly hanging up on a Tops supermarket employee during Saturday’s shooting rampage in Buffalo, New York, where a white supremacist allegedly killed 10 people.
Latisha Rogers, an assistant office manager at the Tops supermarket, said she called 911 and whispered quietly into the phone about the shooter, who was already in the store.
“I called 911, I go through the whole operator and everything, the dispatcher comes on and I’m whispering to her and I said ‘Miss, please send help to 1275 Jefferson – there is a shooter in the store,’” Rogers told WGRZ.
“She proceeded in a very nasty tone and says, ‘I can’t hear you, why are you whispering? You don’t have to whisper, they can’t hear you.’ So I continued to whisper and I said ‘Ma’am he’s still in the store, he’s still shooting! I’m scared for my life, please send help!’ Out of nervousness, my phone fell out of my hand, she said something I couldn’t make out, and then the phone hung up,” Rogers said.
In a separate interview with Buffalo News, Rogers said, “She got mad at me, hung up in my face.”
Rogers said she proceeded to call her boyfriend whom she instructed to call 911.
“I felt that lady left me to die yesterday,” she added.
On Wednesday, Erie county executive Mark Poloncarz said that the dispatcher had been placed on administrative leave and may have her employment terminated at the end of the month.
“The individual was put on administrative leave pending a hearing which will be held on May 30 in which our intention is to terminate the 911 call taker, who acted totally inappropriately not following protocol,” Poloncarz said.
He did not publicly identify the dispatcher, who has been on the job for eight years.
Further investigation into the shooting has revealed that Payton Gendron, the 18-year-old suspect, had been plotting the massacre in a series of online statements over the past five months.
The Washington Post found that he had made plans as early as December to murder those he regarded as “replacers” – a reference to the racist conspiracy that open immigration policies and high birthrates for Black people are being promoted to displace white voters.
After Saturday’s shooting, New York governor Kathy Hochul unveiled a “comprehensive” plan on Wednesday to combat domestic terror and gun violence. She described the attack as “a wake-up call” and included new anti-terrorism measures in her plan, including the requirement of state police to file an “extreme risk protection” order under New York’s “red flag law” when there is credible reason to believe a person could seriously harm themselves or others.
“We as a country are facing an intersection of two crises: the mainstreaming of hate speech – including white nationalism, racism and white supremacy – and the easy access to military-style weapons and magazines,” Hochul said, adding that the measures were implemented to address “one of the most pressing threats to public safety across the United States”.