On November 2, 2021, Yurek's 13-year-old son called 911 because his father was having chest pains and difficulty breathing. The address was accidentally on an outdated blacklist for hostility to first responders because of a previous tenant. According to Seattle's policy, police are required to enter the domicile to secure the scene for other first responders.
However, due to a lack of officers following the defunding of the police by the Seattle City Council, no officers were available, and the 13-year-old watched his father die.
According to the suit, “The Seattle Police Department (“SPD”) was severely understaffed at the time of this incident due to fallout from the abandonment of the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest, a.k.a. ‘CHOP,’ a perceived lack of support from the city, vaccine mandates, and other factors, including city mismanagement.”
According to 911 tapes, the teen called and said, "My dad I don’t know, he can’t breathe or something. He’s not okay. I think he’s having a heart attack or something. He’s making this weird noise from his throat. A gurgling noise.”
Approximately fourteen minutes after the first 911 call, Yurek’s son called a second time.
Attorney Mark Lindquist, who is representing Yurek’s family, told Talk Radio 570 KVI that the 911 dispatcher told the teen help was on the way, but that they were already outside waiting for a police escort.
“Lives literally depend on the accuracy of this list and in this case Mr. Yurek was on their blacklist and he shouldn’t have been. Lindquist added that others have mistakenly been on the list.
The suit alleged, “despite this well-known staffing shortage at SPD, Defendant continues to use the blacklist and ‘caution notes’ that required medics to wait for a police escort.”
First responders who arrived 6 minutes after the original call, eventually decided not to wait any longer for the police, and finally entered Yurek’s apartment without a police escort, four minutes after the second 911 call and 20 minutes after the first call to 911.
However, it was too late and Yurek died of cardiac arrest in front of his teenage son.
According to the suit, “medical experts believe Mr. Yurek had a high likelihood of survival if medics had treated him as soon as they arrived.”
In addition to damages, Lindquist said the family is also looking to reform the list because “people’s lives depend upon it. It has to be accurate, it has to be up to date."
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