APD bodycam video shows woman seriously injured in scooter crash wait over an hour for an ambulance

ATLANTA — Channel 2 Action News has obtained exclusive police body camera video showing how an injured woman desperate for help after a scooter accident on the Atlanta Beltline earlier this month waited more than an hour for an ambulance.

Channel 2′s Michael Seiden analyzed video of the incident, which happened on August 13. The footage shows an Atlanta police officer as he arrives at the scene of the accident, where the woman had suffered a serious head injury.

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“She’s alert, conscious, breathing, but she is bleeding pretty profusely from the back of her head. Start the Grady Fire-Rescue,” the officer says in the video.

Dispatchers got the initial 911 call at 7:18 p.m., but the video shows that 16 minutes later, there was still no sign of Grady EMS or Atlanta Fire Rescue.

As the officer and bystanders grow frustrated, the dispatcher confirms that firefighters are at the scene despite no sign of first responders.

The officer sounds stunned by what he just heard from dispatch.


“They showed up and pulled off,” the officer says in the footage. “I don’t know what’s going on! I don’t know what to do. This looks really bad on us that somebody who’s just bleeding and for over an hour plus and then we all of us are just sitting here.”

Atlanta Fire Rescue finally arrives at the scene nearly 40 minutes after the initial 911 call.

Seiden reached out to Atlanta Fire Rescue communications manager Alyssa Richardson, who sent the following statement:

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“The Atlanta Police Department body cam is not a credible source regarding AFRD’s standard operating procedures. the purpose of APD’S body cam footage is not an accurate depiction of AFRD operations, as its goal is not to capture AFRD operations or response,” Richardson wrote.

According to Richardson’s statement, firefighters arrived within minutes to the original location on the 800 block of Willoughby Way NE but couldn’t find the victim. They called 911 for more information and dispatchers corrected the address to the 400 block of Village Parkway NE. The unit then went to the new location.

“Firefighters provided medical care for approximately an hour as all parties awaited Grady EMS’ arrival,” Richardson aid in the statement. “Against the advice of firefighters, the patient and her boyfriend signed a patient refusal, deciding to transport themselves via a personal vehicle. Firefighters conducted several mental fitness tests, ensuring the patient was competent. After performing emergency medical services, firefighters escorted the patient to an awaiting personal vehicle and departed the scene.”

Richardson said firefighters aren’t allowed to leave patients without transferring them to an ambulance or having them sign a patient refusal.

“After review, it is abundantly clear the audio from the officer-worn body camera is hearsay and not an adequate display of the series of events firefighters endured to respond,” Richardson wrote.

Councilman Dustin Hillis is the chair of the city’s public safety committee. He’s also an outspoken critic of Grady EMS’ response times. Hillis said the response to this incident was completely unacceptable.

“I wish I could say I was surprised by this, but this is a continual issue,” Hillis said. “This is not an Atlanta problem. This is a problem across the state with EMS. We’ve got to find a way to do better whether it’s the city or Grady.”

The Grady EMS administration issued the following statement regarding the incident:

“Based on the information we received, this was coded as a low-level call. The description of the patient’s symptoms was entered into our CAD system after the completion of medical dispatch questioning. During this time, we experienced a very high call volume, and higher-acuity calls were prioritized. EMS was canceled prior to arriving on the scene.”

Like many ambulance service providers nationwide, Grady EMS is facing staffing shortages and is currently at 69% of our optimal staffing level.

Grady EMS prioritizes high acuity calls. High acuity calls are life-threatening emergencies requiring immediate medical attention to save the patient’s life. Low acuity calls do not require immediate medical attention. Dispatchers determine whether it is a high or low acuity call based on symptoms described by callers during emergency medical dispatch questioning.

The injured woman was eventually taken by car to a local hospital. Her current condition is unclear.

Grady EMS is expected to address the city’s public safety committee on September 26th.