City Desk

Lieutenant Involved in Medric Mills Case Has Retirement Approved, Faces No Disciplinary Action

Lt. Kellene Davis waits outside the trial board hearing room on March 19, facing away from the press

The lieutenant who is accused of ignoring a dying elderly man outside her fire station was approved for retirement, a city official confirmed.

That means Lt. Kellene Davis, 51, who has worked in the department for more than 25 years, will not face any disciplinary action for her role in the incident. Her pension and retirement benefits will also remain fully intact.

Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe told the Post that he originally denied a request by Davis to retire immediately after Mills died, which forced her to file with a retirement board, delaying the process at least 60 days. A D.C. Fire and EMS trial board held a hearing in March to determine whether Davis would face any disciplinary action. That decision is still pending and, by law, the chief cannot stop her from retiring before a verdict is made. The chief told the Post that the disciplinary panel reached a conclusion but had not yet forwarded it to him. But whatever conclusion they came to is moot now that Davis is officially retired.

Mills collapsed Jan. 25 across the street from a fire station on Rhode Island Avenue NE while shopping with his adult daughter and later died at Washington Hospital Center. Despite pleas for help and awareness that a medical emergency was occurring, none of the nearby Engine 26 fire fighters at the station provided medical assistance. An investigation into the incident found that Davis did not respond to announcements from the cadet manning the front desk about the emergency.

Davis was facing six disciplinary charges, including unreasonable failure to give assistance to the public, neglect for duty of public announcement system, and neglect of duty for violation of the Patient Bill of Rights.

tnsurprisingly, The Mills family is not happy that Davis will not face any consequences from the department. The family has repeatedly said it wants someone held accountable for Mills' death. At a community meeting last week with the fire chief, Mills' son, Medric Mills IIIconfronted the chief and said, "I have yet to see anyone held accountable for not doing their job. What are you going to do to get this rectified?"

The family issued the following statement through its attorneys:

“We are absolutely shocked about reports that the D.C. Fire and EMS Trial Board did not take adverse actions against the D.C. Fire Lieutenant, who was in charge of the fire station that refused to help our father when he suffered a heart attack, before she was allowed to retire. Everything about this process has been shrouded in secrecy. Because their actions are so outrageous, we now understand why the Trial Board shut the media out of the hearings and did not allow us or our attorney to attend...The public should be shocked that its public servants who have a duty to protect them are not held accountable when they neglect their duties. There should be laws on the books that hold  D.C. Fire and EMS Department responsible and liable to those they harm in outrageous  circumstances like that which lead to the death of our father. We are infuriated. Justice was not served. The system did not work. This is disgraceful.”

Photo by Perry Stein

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Comments

  1. #1

    this is criminal. It should be within someone's ability to have stopped any normal retirement action from occurring, and even if they couldn't stop it, they should be able to withhold retiree benefits from a former employee found to have violated City rules or to have broken laws while on active duty. The employee of course would have all due process rights and priviledges such as appeal and civil courts as avenues of redress, but the employer should not be this beholden to a series of bureaucratic processes to tie its hands in a case of such gross misconduct.

    I do believe there should still be criminal investigation and perhaps prosecution of the offending fire department employee(s) or for the family to seek unlawful death penalties against the employee(s) or city through civil court.

  2. #2

    This is just plain wrong. Can they sue her and FEMS for wrongful death and gross negligence?
    Oh, and Fire Ellerbe right fucking now.

  3. #3

    Try blaming the firefighters union - they are the ones (as well as their Democratic puppets) who allow this lack of accountability. When you have to jump through all kinds of hoops to punish someone for blatantly pathetic conduct, something MUST change in the disciplinary process.

  4. #4

    There was a lawsuit in the Supreme Court which stated that a citizen cannot sue the City for willful misconduct by Police and Firefighters. It was from the late 1970s and involved a horrible gang rape that the police never stopped. The women who sued the police never got justice.

    DC government will never change as long as the employees of the government come from corrupt neighborhoods in DC. All police and firefighters should be recruited from Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, and places far far away.

    I dealt with an issue 15 years ago where the drug dealer on our block was the cousin of a police officer. Nothing happened to him, but we finally got the other members of his crew arrested. No police officer in DC will ever arrest the cousin of another officer.

  5. #5

    Any word on whether there will be a civil suit?

  6. #6

    @drez: They can file a lawsuit, but it will be thrown out of court. There settled law that prevents government employees (i.e. police and fire departments) from being liable if they do not perform their "duties". Police are NOT required to protect you legally, and firefighters are NOT required to render assistance.

    Keep that in mind when liberals say there's no need to defend/arm yourself, since you can call the police. There have been many cases where police stood by while rapes, assaults, murder, etc. occurred while they did nothing, and then were found not liable either criminally or civilly.

  7. #7

    "It should be within someone's ability to have stopped any normal retirement action from occurring, and even if they couldn't stop it, they should be able to withhold retiree benefits from a former employee found to have violated City rules or to have broken laws while on active duty".

    It has not been proven whether or not any City rule or law have been broken.

    "Try blaming the firefighters union - they are the ones (as well as their Democratic puppets) who allow this lack of accountability. When you have to jump through all kinds of hoops to punish someone for blatantly pathetic conduct, something MUST change in the disciplinary process".

    Bingo!!! However the current disciplinary process was put in place pre-1980 when the makeup of the DCFD was different.

    Example.......there's no mention of this b the City Paper, or other main stream news outlets:http://www.statter911.com/2014/04/09/news-report-dc-firefighter-dui-arrest-following-duty-crash-highlights-previous-loss-license/

  8. #8

    Unfortunately, Lt. Davis isn't the first, nor will she be the last to use this process.

  9. #9

    @S.E. - You hit a big nail on the head. Having a disciplinary process that hasn't been updated since the 1980's is asinine. Time to remind these public employees and their unions that the pendulum swung WAY too far in their direction and it's time for better accountability and bringing the employee pay/pension/benefit systems into the current century.

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