A 911 dispatcher who shouted at and hung up on a worker hiding during a shooting in Buffalo last month has been fired.
Several workers at Buffalo, New York's Tops Friendly Markets made 911 calls during the racially motivated attack that killed 10 people.
According to The Buffalo News, Tops' assistant office manager Latisha Rogers called 911 almost immediately after shots were fired. She hid from the 18-year-old shooter while she made the call.
But the operator started yelling at Rogers, saying, "Why are you whispering? You don't have to whisper."
Rogers remained quiet. There's a shooter in the store and she's scared for her life, she said. She repeated that she didn't want to be heard for fear of getting shot.
The dispatcher became angry and hung up on Rogers.
According to local news, the unnamed operator was originally put on administrative leave on May 16th. The dispatcher was scheduled for a closed May 30th hearing, as per the 911 operator's union rules.
County Executive Mark Poloncarz condemned the operator's behavior and said, "our intention is to terminate the 911 call taker who acted totally inappropriately, not following protocol."
"We teach our 911 call takers that if somebody's whispering, it probably means they are in trouble."
The hearing led to the operator's termination.
"It is obvious that that call was not handled in a professional way," said Erie County Legislator April Baskin.
Baskin said the hang up may not be an isolated incident.
"We’re going to ask for further investigations into the full department because this happened more than once in the matter of two weeks on Buffalo’s East Side."
The shooter was indicted last week on 25 counts, including murder and domestic terrorism. Prior to the massacre at Tops, the shooter had shown several red flags of mental instability, including paranoia about COVID-19.
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