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"Handcuffed by policy" police and fire dept watch as man drowns

 
MeerKittykat
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User ID: 1410131
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06/01/2011 11:26 PM
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"Handcuffed by policy" police and fire dept watch as man drowns
[link to news.yahoo.com]

Wed Jun 1, 3:20 pm ET
‘Handcuffed by policy,’ fire and police crews watch man drown
By Zachary Roth

An apparently suicidal man waded into San Francisco Bay on Monday, stood up to his neck, and waited. As the man drowned, police, fire crews, and others watched idly from the shore.

Why? Officials blamed a departmental policy, stemming from budget cuts, that prevented them from jumping in to save him.

Fifty-year-old Raymond Zack spent nearly an hour in the water before drowning. A crowd of about 75 people, in addition to first responders, watched from the beach in Alameda across the bay from San Francisco as Zack inched farther and farther away, sometimes glancing back, a witness told the San Jose Mercury News. "The next thing he was floating face down."

A volunteer eventually pulled Zack's lifeless body from the Bay.

Mike D'Orazi of the Alameda Fire Department said that, due to 2009 budget cuts, his crews lacked the training and gear to enter the water. And a Coast Guard boat couldn't access the area because the water was too shallow.

"The incident yesterday was deeply regrettable," D'Orazi said Tuesday. "But I can also see it from our firefighters' perspective. They're standing there wanting to do something, but they are handcuffed by policy at that point."

Alameda Police Lt. Sean Lynch also suggested his men did the right thing. "He was engaged in a deliberate act of taking his own life," Lynch told the Mercury News. "We did not know whether he was violent, whether drugs were involved. It's not a situation of a typical rescue."

But at a City Council hearing Tuesday night, some locals expressed outrage that Zack was left to die. "This just strikes me as not just a problem with funding, but a problem with the culture of what's going on in our city, that no one would take the time and help this drowning man," said one resident, Adam Gillitt.

The city said it would spend up to $40,000 to certify 16 firefighters in land-based water rescues.

One witness to the event told a local news station that Zack was looking at people on the shore. "We expected to see at some point that there would be a concern for him," said another.

(Paul Sakuma/AP)
May ALL that you wish for be the least you receive...
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 1396057
United States
06/01/2011 11:28 PM
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Re: "Handcuffed by policy" police and fire dept watch as man drowns
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 1407159
United States
06/01/2011 11:29 PM
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Re: "Handcuffed by policy" police and fire dept watch as man drowns
Get it yet people?
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 1393708
United Kingdom
06/02/2011 12:53 PM
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Re: "Handcuffed by policy" police and fire dept watch as man drowns
everyone involved should take a long hard look at themselves, and start looking for another job.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 733974
Canada
06/02/2011 12:56 PM
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Re: "Handcuffed by policy" police and fire dept watch as man drowns
how much training does it take to throw the dude a rope or a vest? seriously this is criminally insane behavior.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 1411585
United States
06/02/2011 12:58 PM
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Re: "Handcuffed by policy" police and fire dept watch as man drowns
The guy wanted to commit suicide. He staged a big drama about it. He got what he wanted. No-one else is responsible for his actions. End of story.

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