Taffet’s story of his husband’s death helps focus attention of 911 call failures

David Taffet, left, and his late husband, Brian Cross, at their wedding in June 2016. (Photo by Tammye Nash)

Yesterday (Wednesday, March 15), David Taffet shared this story about the night his husband, Brian Cross, died, and how it took 911 some 20 minutes to answer his call. David was then interviewed by every local news station —Fox 4, NBC 5, WFAA Channel 8, CBS Channel 11, CW 33 and Telemundo — and by the CBS Morning News. I hear that the story aired this morning by WFAA Channel 8 was picked up by the national ABC morning news show, Good Morning America, too.

David’s story is also on the front page of today’s Dallas Morning News. (See video below.)

We will never know if Brian might still be alive had it not taken so long for David to be able to get in touch with 911. And that is exactly the point. So while I know it is so very difficult for David to have to relive that night each time he tells the story, I also know he’s willing to keep telling the story if it will help keep the same thing from happening to someone else.

—  Tammye Nash

The mayor is outraged, but Brian is dead


Brian Cross

Mayor Mike Rawlings is outraged and has issued a statement about the 911 service outage:

It is outrageous that T-Mobile still has not resolved the ghost call issue that is putting Dallasites in danger by clogging our 911 system. I’m in full agreement with our city manager that our citizens deserve better. This issue not only puts paying T-Mobile customers at risk, but it jeopardizes the safety of people throughout our city. It’s encouraging that T-Mobile will finally be sending top engineers to Dallas tomorrow morning. I can only assume that they will work around the clock until they figure out how to fix this issue.

Here’s my experience of the 911 outage on March 6:

My husband, Brian Cross, was acting disoriented and was laying down. He was snoring, but that suddenly stopped. At 9 p.m. I called 911. After a few minutes, I was disconnected. When someone calls 911 and is disconnected, 911 operators are supposed to call back. They didn’t.

I called 911 again immediately. The entire time I was trying to do CPR. Finally a 911 operator answered at 9:20. By that time, no matter how much I breathed into his mouth and pounded his chest, Brian wasn’t breathing.

Once I got through to 911, the response time was fantastic. Dallas Fire and Rescue was in our house within three minutes.

But had they been there at 9:05 rather than 9:25, Brian might have been resuscitated.

—  David Taffet

Police respond to response time in hit-and-run


Holly Mosley on Throckmorton Street after being hit by hit-and-run driver

The question of police response time recently came into question after a driver hit a woman and her dog in the crosswalk at the intersection of Cedar Springs and Throckmorton, paused and then gunned his engine to escape rather than stop and render aid.

Det. Laura Martin said police respond to 911 calls in order of priority. The first priority, she said, are violent crimes in progress. Next are crimes in progress when no violence is involved, usually property crimes.

Police only initiate reports from a “complainant.” That person is the victim of a crime, unless that person is unable to make a police report. Somebody hospitalized and unconscious would be an example of a complainant unable to make a police report. In that case, police will interview witnesses to write a report or report from any available evidence.

The delay in police responding to the hit-and-run was communication, Martin said. While witness Josh Friedman was at Zephyr and would have been able to report the incident, police could only take a report from accident victim Holly Mosley. Friedman, who made the initial 911 call, told the 911 operator Mosley was at the vet with her dog and then needed medical attention herself.

Mosley made a 911 call from the vet, but police, working off the original call, were unsure if she’d still be there or, if she was done there, where she’d be seeking medical attention, so no officer was sent at that time. Martin called that a communication problem without blaming either side.

Martin said if someone wants to report a crime that is not in progress, the complainant should tell the 911 operator their exact location. She advised anyone who needs medical attention, to get that medical treatment first. A police report can be filed later.

Martin made it clear that she was not criticizing Mosley or Friedman. Martin said the calls have been reviewed already to make sure the best service can be provided by 911 operators. Martin thanked Friedman for his concern about getting video of the incident to the police and said that was exactly the partnership  between business and the police that will make Oak Lawn safer. In addition to Friedman’s video, police are reviewing video from the newly installed police camera on Throckmorton at Cedar Springs that should have caught a direct shot of the car.

—  David Taffet

Remembering 9/11

Paul J. Williams

Paul J. Williams

On the morning of Tuesday, Sept, 11, 2001, I was going through my usual “get ready for work” routine in my apartment in Astoria, Queens. I was working as a long-term temp secretary for a law firm in Manhattan, but didn’t usually go in until 10 a.m. After taking a shower, my routine consisted of coming back into my bedroom and turning on the stereo to KTU for their morning show while getting dressed.

It was a little before 9 a.m. Rather than the usual hilarity, the DJs were very seriously discussing the fact that the World Trade Center has just been hit by a jet. I went into the living room to turn on the TV, still only half-dressed. I sat in front of the television for the next few hours, getting up only to get my cell phone to try to call my parents, or going to the door to talk to my landlords who lived downstairs. My roommate, who also worked in Manhattan, always left for work early in the morning and had already been at his office in Midtown when the first plane hit. As the reality of what was happening began to sink in, New York began to shut down. All subway service ceased. All bridges and tunnels closed to vehicular traffic. Bridges became pedestrian only, and only leaving Manhattan. No one was allowed to enter the city. My roommate began his long walk home.

After I was able to reach my parents on the phone, we talked and watched the first tower fall together. My mother began to cry on the other end of the line. Assuring them that I was safe in Queens, I hung up, but continued watching television coverage. When the second tower began to collapse, I truly thought I was watching a replay of footage the first tower. I was overcome with emotion. By noon, I had to get out of the house.

With no public transportation running in the city, I got on my bicycle, not really knowing where I was going to go. I stopped at a bodega to buy a disposable camera. I rode as close along the water’s edge of Queens as I could, stopping occasionally to take pictures of the smoke-filled air of Lower Manhattan in the distance. I kept riding, stopping to take pictures. Eventually, I found myself at the Promenade in Brooklyn, directly across the harbor from Lower Manhattan. “This is all so surreal,” I kept thinking. I rode up to the Brooklyn Bridge which was a mass of humanity all trying to flee Manhattan. Police everywhere were trying to maintain some sense of order. More pictures. I’m grateful that the wind was  blowing the smoke from the towers in the opposite direction, yet the burning smell was everywhere. I was absolutely in awe. What had happened? Lord, please let there be survivors of all this. My adrenaline had begun to wane and I realized how glad I was that I could put my bicycle on the subway to get back home. No. Wait. All public transportation was shut down. I began the ride back to Astoria, arriving to find my roommate safely at home. We just look at each other and said, “Wow.” What happened?? It was a quiet night at home, glued to the TV.

I actually went to work the next day. As a temp, I didn’t get paid time off and I needed the money. But not a lot of people came to work. Pretty quiet day. That night, I decided to get on my bicycle and explore Manhattan. The subways were running again, so I put the bike on the train and went to Times Square.

It was dusk. I started riding south. Police had completely shut down access to anything south of 14th Street, unless you could prove you live there. I found an unguarded street blockade and slipped past it, riding down to the Village. I called my parents to report in. The word I kept using was surreal. There was  no traffic. The city was quiet. I sat, cross-legged, in the middle of Seventh Avenue at Christopher Street. Had the Rapture occurred, and I’ve been left behind? Where was everyone?

I rode over to Sixth Avenue, which runs north. There, at the intersection with Houston Street, was a crowd of New Yorkers. Neighbors and residents of the area have lined the streets to cheer on the police cars, fire trucks and 18-wheelers that were carrying debris away from the World Trade Center. Surreal. People were holding hand-made signs, thanking the police and firefighters. Already, people knew. This was changing New York forever. Mayor Giuliani had been encouraging citizens to get back to work. New Yorkers will not be defeated by this. Again, surreal.

Twenty months later, I found my life changed immensely. The temp market dried up. I was not performing as much. I was creeped out about living in a city that had been such a target. In my own ways, I started to self-destruct. I needed a change. On May 31, 2003, I moved back to Dallas.

All because of 9/11? Who knows? But that one day has colored my entire existence in many ways. Now, when my office building in downtown Dallas has a fire drill, I seem to be the only one here who takes it seriously. Planes taking off from Love Field often look like they’re headed straight for my building. I can hear the sound of these same planes flying seemingly close, right over my condo. Daily.

Do I remember 9/11/01? You bet. Every day. Surreal.

— Paul J. Williams

Williams initially wrote this piece for the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

13 years after 9/11 — Don’t let the terrorists win


By Hardy Haberman, DV contributing writer

Thirteen years. Seems like a long time and yet I remember it like yesterday.

What I am about to say will undoubtedly enrage a lot of folks. But it comes from the heart, and I hope you will hear me out.

When those men hijacked the flights which later crashed into the World Trade Center Towers and The Pentagon and that lonely field in Pennsylvania, they had one intention in mind. They are called terrorists because that was their goal, to terrorize. They achieved that goal in a spectacular and outrageous fashion, and from that perspective their attacks were a success.

Americans, including me, were terrorized.

It was impossible not to feel terror as we all watched the aftermath of this despicable act. Indeed, we will never forget it, nor should we.

Now here is where I will lose friends: It’s time for us to stop being terrorized.

That terror caused us to put in place a series of laws that robbed many of the very freedoms we hold so dear.

It caused us to blindly follow a misguided president who dragged us into a war that didn’t need to happen in a country that had no part in the attacks.

It caused us to set up a secret surveillance network that rivals the old KGB but with half the efficiency.

It caused us to doubt our fellow citizens’ patriotism, simply because their religion or their manner of dress might be different than our own.

It caused us to imprison without charges hundreds of foreign nationals as “enemy combatants” with no clue as to how they would be tried or what they would be charged with.

It caused us to spend billions of dollars on half-baked security measures that do little to improve our safety and everything to reduce our privacy.

It sent us into a decade of doubt, suspicion and misdirected anger.

If that is not the result they sought, I don’t know what is. They succeeded with three of their flying bombs and the fourth was stopped only by the heroism of American citizens like you and me.

Its time we got back on track and stopped being terrorized. We need to stop behaving like scared rabbits and start behaving like those brave folks on United Flight 93. We need to stand up and realize that the world is a dangerous place, but we cannot sacrifice our freedom for security. We need to realize that each of us could be called on to defend our country at any time, but we do not need to militarize our country to do it.

We can be cautious without being paranoid. We can be vigilant without being militarized. We can reclaim our freedom and live life to the fullest without looking over our shoulder every few seconds fearing another attack.

I feel pretty sure there may be other attacks. That genii is out of the bottle. It is the world we live in today.

We cannot isolate ourselves any longer, but we can improve the quality of our lives and our freedom.

Until we do that, the terrorists win.

—  Tammye Nash

CRIME ALERT: Beware of burglars who removed tires from vehicle parked in Turtle Creek area

The following arrived in our Inbox this afternoon from Oak Lawn crime watch volunteer Nancy Weinberger:

I got email from [DPD’s] central [division] about BMVs … 2008 Chevy SUV parked on Sale street 3100 block (Sale is a block off Turtle Creek towards Oak Lawn–it is a very short street) … had all 4 tires and rims removed while left parked on street.

WATCH for vehicles driving slowly through your neighborhood … probably a truck … looking to do the same to parked vehicles …

PLEASE REMEMBER TO REPORT ANYTHING THAT LOOKS SUSPICIOUS TO YOU. If it doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t. … I know 911 gets tired of hearing from me … but I call any time I see anything that looks funny just in case.

Better safe than sorry.

—  John Wright

9/11 Hero’s Mom Speaks on DADT

ALICE HOAGLAND MSNBC X390 (GRAB) | ADVOCATE.COMThe mother of Mark Bingham, one of the passengers on United Flight 93 believed to have prevented the plane from hitting government buildings in Washington, D.C., said no one on the plane questioned whether her son was gay
when it came time to overtake the aircraft from hijackers.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin

WATCH: Dash-cam video of the fake U.S. marshal who terrorized Oak Lawn last weekend

Above is a report from Fox 4 that includes dash-cam video of the suspect who claimed to be a U.S. marshal and threatened a traffic control volunteer with a laser-sighted semi-automatic weapon early Sunday in Oak Lawn.

The dash-cam video was recorded by the 66-year-old volunteer, Douglas Ervin, who followed the fake marshal after witnessing him make a bogus traffic strop near Wycliff and Lemmon avenues. According to the police reports, the suspect got out of his vehicle near Rawlins Street and Oak Lawn Avenue, approached Ervin and said, “Who the fuck are you?” Ervin responded by saying “Who are you?” before the suspect pushed Ervin’s face in, knocking out his dentures, and aimed the weapon at his head. When Ervin told the suspect he was being recorded, he got back in his vehicle — which had rolled backward down the street because he hadn’t put it in park — and took off. As Deputy Chief Craig Miller explains to Fox 4, it’s not exactly the type of behavior you’d expect from a real cop.

The Dallas Observer has posted an enhanced photo of the suspect, and The Morning News reports that police are looking for other potential victims because they believe the same man may have been arrested in the past for pretending to be a cop.

Anyone with information can call 214-671-3616 or better yet, if this guy’s anywhere near you, 911.

—  John Wright

Same-sex rape reported in Oak Lawn during Pride — and a prevention message from DPD

No sooner had a Dallas police spokesman sent over some requested info about a same-sex rape in Oak Lawn over the weekend, than we noticed the above video from DPD about sexual assault prevention. And wouldn’t you know it, the major risk factors described in the video appear to have been very much at work in this weekend’s case. According to the video, alcohol is the No. 1 factor in sex assaults, and in 60 percent of cases the suspect is known to the victim. The video also says that one out of every 33 males in the U.S. will be a victim of sexual assault.

The rape occurred at about 5:30 p.m. on Sunday — the day of gay Pride — in the 4000 block of Fairmont Street, and it involved the suspect penetrating the victim’s anus, according to police reports. Here’s DPD Sr. Cpl’s Kevin Janse’s description:

The victim, a Latino male, was invited over to the suspect’s house and they began drinking. They are friends and have known each other for about a month. A knife was pulled and victim was sexually assaulted. Suspect was arrested down the street. Jimmy Ford, a 23-year-old black male, is charged with aggravated sexual assault.

Here are a few tips from DPD for preventing sexual assault, which has been on the rise in Dallas this year:

• Be aware of your surroundings; know where you are, who you are with, and what you are doing.

• When consuming alcohol at clubs, bars, or restaurants, watch your drink; don’t leave it unattended, even for a few seconds.

• Don’t accept a drink handed to you by a stranger or anyone you have just met.

• If you feel you have been drugged, call 911 immediately.

• Trust your instincts. If something about the situation or the person just does not feel right, it probably is not. Get out of the situation as soon as possible.

—  John Wright

Gary Bauer at the Values Voter Summit compares 2010 elections to overthrowing 9/11 hijackers

I don’t understand how Gary Bauer can bleat over-the-top crap like this and think he’s going to appeal to the mainstream. This garbage not only exploits 9/11, it’s batsh*t insane. Amanda Terkel at HuffPo:

At Friday’s conservative Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., speakers like Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell and Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) urged attendees to turn out and vote in November in order to elect more conservatives to office. But the most extreme call came from onetime presidential candidate Gary Bauer, now the president of the right-wing group American Values, who equated the importance of turning out in November to defeating the 9/11 hijackers:

BAUER: From the cell phone calls that were made and the tapes that we have [from 9/11], we know that those passengers went to the back of the plane. Being good Americans, they started a debate. “Well,” some of them said, “we need to get back to our seats. We can’t do anything about this. You don’t fight hijackers. The plane will land. And then there will be negotiations. We’ll get out of here.” Other people said, “No, no, the country is under attack. We’ve got to fight.” And you know what they did? Nobody won the debate! So somebody said, “Let’s vote.”

That’s what we’re going to do in 45 days, right? We’re going to vote. If you get up that morning and you’re tired, you’re sick, it’s raining — remember these Americans on the plane. They voted to fight back. So they made weapons with whatever they can — leftover utensils from breakfast. The flight attendant was still alive; she boiled the water for the coffee. That was going to be her weapon. They took the drink cart, used it as a battering ram. They ran down the aisle of that plane, throwing the water, fighting as hard as they could, into the teeth of men armed with box cutters!

They brought that plane down. They spared this country more pain, more sorrow, more deaths. God bless them! Don’t forget them!

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright