Detroit police report details alleged abuse by EMS technicians
Romaine Robinson says he was assaulted by technicians while having seizure
DETROIT – Did two Detroit emergency medical services technicians assault a man who was having a seizure during an ambulance ride to a hospital?
That's the claim being made in a police report obtained by Local 4, and the alleged victim spoke exclusively to Lauren Podell.
"The nurse asked me, 'What happened to your eye?' And I told her I had no idea," Romaine Robinson said.
The 36-year-old discovered his blackened, bloodshot eye after he was rushed to Botsford Hospital on Aug. 29. He said he has a history of seizures and didn't feel right that morning.
Robinson's fiancee, who wanted to remain anonymous, told Local 4 she is normally the one who takes Robinson to the hospital when he has an episode, but this time they felt extra help was needed.
"I remember telling her, 'Call 911, call the ambulance this feels like a big one,'" said Robinson.
"The next step is to find out what really happened," said Robinson. "Did they really beat me up?"
According to the police report, the family told police the injuries to Robinson's eye came from the hands of the technicians. Robinson's fiancée told police her 12-year-old daughter, Ja-Nae Robinson, witnessed the assault.
"When they came up to the porch they were being snotty," Ja-Nae Robinson said. "They said,'Who are we here for?' with a really snotty attitude, and I told them my daddy."
Robinson's fiancée said the technicians brought him out of their house on Karl Street on a stretcher and put him in the back of the ambulance that was parked in the street. According to the police report, Ja-Nae Robinson was looking out of the living room window and saw one of the EMTs hit her dad, then another slapped him and told him to shut up.
"The big one came out and started yelling, 'Does he have AIDS? Does he have herpes?' Because I guess my daddy scratched him," Ja-Nae Robinson said.
Robinson's other daughter, 14-year-old Dar'Naja Robinson, told Local 4 she and her sister saw the ambulance start to shake.
"We saw the truck going back and forth really hard and I'm like, 'What's going on?'" Dar'Naja Robinson said.
Once the ambulance left, Robinson was taken to Botsford Hospital. The police report indicates that the nurse treating Robinson agreed with his fiancée, that the injuries he showed up with were not consistent with that of a seizure. Robinson and his fiancée filed the police report the following day.
Local 4 reached out to the city of Detroit and EMS authorities. EMS Chief Sean Larkins sent us this statement:
"Allegations of assaultive behavior against Fire Department Medics are taken very seriously. The Department has to protect the interests of the citizens, as well as its employees. Once allegations of this nature are made, they must be investigated. In this instance, the investigation is being handled by the Detroit Police Department. The employee's union representative was promptly notified and these employees will continue to work in an administrative capacity until the investigation is completed."
After reaching out again today to the EMS Union, their representative says the case is still under investigation and not all the facts are out.
Local 4 is not releasing the names of the technicians since they have not been charged.
Robinson said he doesn't have any memory of what happened in the back of the ambulance, saying he was not in a right state of mind. But he does know his injuries have sent him back to the doctors several times.
"I went to the Kresge Eye Institute because it just wasn't looking normal. Doctors said it would take four weeks to heal," he said.
There was a third EMS technician that was in the ambulance and is listed in the report who is now on desk duty, but the family said they only witnessed the assault by two of the technicians.
"I hope it don't happen to anyone else, that's the main thing. I don't want no one to be in the situation I've been through because it happened in front of my kids," said Robinson.
The family has contacted an attorney but is awaiting the outcome of the police investigation before making the next move.
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