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September 1, 2010

After four days of searching, the NYPD identified and suspended the officer who allegedly refused to aid a girl having an asthma attack after her mother flagged the cop down on her way to the hospital, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal.

The incident occurred Friday evening as Carmen Ojeda rushed her daughter Briana to Long Island College Hospital after the 11-year-old girl suffered an asthma attack while playing at Carroll Gardens Park. The frantic mother accidently crashed her car and flagged down a New York Police Department officer on Henry Street in Brooklyn for help.

Michael Ojeda told The New York Times that his wife begged the cop to perform mouth to mouth, or Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), because Briana could not breathe.

The NYPD officer told her he did not know CPR. However, all NYPD officers undergo training in emergency first aid including CPR.

With the cop unable to assist her daughter, Mrs. Ojeda got back in her car and drove Briana to the hospital. The officer followed behind in his patrol car and then left them as soon as they reached hospital. Doctors pronounced Briana dead at the hospital a short time later.

Mrs. Ojeda began to tell Briana’s story to the news media, complaining about the NYPD officer’s lack of aid. However, she was unable to identify the cop when the police Internal Affairs showed her photos of every cop in the 76th Precinct where the incident occurred. People began to doubt her story or claim that it must have been a private security guard or a transit, housing or traffic or auxiliary officer instead of an NYPD officer, the New York Daily News reported. For days, Mrs. Ojeda begged the officer to come forward with an apology, but no one did.

On Tuesday, the NYPD Internal Affairs department finally tracked down the NYPD officer using an NYPD-issued gas card record, finding that Officer Alfonso Mendez, of the 84th Precinct, got gas in the 76th Precinct on his way to pick up another officer at the Brooklyn Bridge shortly before Mrs. Ojeda flagged him down. She identified him from a photo.

Mendez is now on unpaid suspension pending an investigation and could face termination. In addition to his inaction to aid the dying girl, he failed to call in or report the incident.

“He is consulting with our attorneys,” Joe Mancini, spokesperson for the union the Patrolman’s Benevolent Association told ABC News. “He hasn’t been charged, so he’s working with his delegates and union representatives.”

Briana’s family laid her to rest today, her casket transported in a white hearse carriage pulled by two white horses, reported NY1.com.

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