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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Emergency Calls In "Wrong Guy" Story

Posted by Matt Davis on Thu, Oct 30, 2008 at 12:59 PM

Yesterday, cops' spokesman Brian Schmautz urged me to pay the $50 to the Bureau of Emergency Communications, and get hold of the 911 calls relating to this story from October 9, about Clifton Brooks, the man Tasered after calling 911.

Brooks, who was assaulted by two strangers, called 911 after they fled. He stayed on the phone with the 911 people until the cops arrived, then they Tasered him. Brooks admits to having broken a window on the scene, after his attackers fled, out of frustration. I'm not sure what Schmautz was hoping I'll find in the 911 calls that wasn't already included in Brooks' account of what happened. But nevertheless...

Here's the first 911 call at the scene, which begins while Brooks is fighting with his two attackers. He can be heard yelling "fuck it!" and "motherfucker!" after they leave. The caller says "Oh, now he's breaking shit," and Brooks can be heard yelling "fucker" one more time. But wouldn't you be angry if you'd been assaulted by two strangers, too?







Now, here's the emergency operator talking to the Trimet dispatcher, as far as we can tell. "Three males attacked another man as he was trying to board the bus, and he's hurt pretty bad. The kid was trying to board the bus and three other white males attacked him," she says. Then, in the background, you have the bus driver saying the guys who hit Brooks are walking East on Belmont. "The one that was being attacked, the other three have taken off away from him. The one that was being attacked is angry, and he just broke a store window with his fist," she says. "I need a description of the one that was being beat up," she says. "Black male, early 20s. He's at 34th and Belmont and he's got a chain hanging from his back pocket."







It's clear from the call, that the emergency operator is trying to communicate to the dispatcher the fact that Brooks is the victim of an attack. Admittedly: "He's in a rage, out of control, the operator won't let him get on the bus, but he's not moving the bus," the operator says. But she clearly views Brooks as the victim in the situation.

Lastly, here's Brooks' call. He's clearly frustrated and angry, opening the call telling the operator he's been jumped "I just got jumped by a couple of fucking shitheads," he says. But the operator asks him to take a deep breath and tell her what happened.







Perhaps what's most striking about the call is that the operator spends the whole time asking where his attackers have gone. "The bad guy, he's walking towards 39th, correct?" She asks who the attackers are, "I have no idea who they are...that's it...and these two fucking guys, they just attacked me for no fucking reason," he says. By the end of the call, Brooks is calm, and the operator is asking him if he can see the cops coming, to help out. "Well, here's some cops," he says. Clearly expecting them to help him. Too bad.

I haven't mentioned it in the original story, but the more I've thought about this, the more I've thought, Brooks is a 6'2" black male. On Belmont. I wonder if the cops might have treated him differently, say, given him a chance to talk to them before Tasering him, if he had been white?

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