D.C. Lawmakers Seek Fire Chief's Resignation

Two D.C. Council members yesterday called for the resignation of Fire Chief Adrian H. Thompson over his department's failures in responding to the fatal beating of a New York Times journalist in January.

Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp, an at-large Democrat, said she has spoken to Mayor Anthony A. Williams and plans to ask him to have Chief Thompson resign.

"I'm calling for the immediate firing or resignation of Chief Thompson to restore public confidence in our emergency medical services," said Mrs. Cropp, who is running for mayor. "The buck stops with the chief."

Council member Adrian M. Fenty, who also is running for mayor, criticized the emergency response for journalist David E. Rosenbaum, who was beaten and robbed Jan. 6 in Northwest and died two days later.

"The response ... was wholly unacceptable and suggests an agency in disarray," said Mr. Fenty, Ward 4 Democrat. "For these reasons, and for the sake of accountability, I believe it would be in the best interest of the District to terminate the services of the fire chief immediately."

The lawmakers were responding to a report released Friday by the Office of the Inspector General that excoriated the Fire and EMS Department's handling of the Rosenbaum case.

According to the 90-page report, medical personnel incorrectly assessed Mr. Rosenbaum's condition, failed to adequately care for his injuries and got lost while taking him to a hospital that was not the closest from the scene of the incident.

The report also faulted city police officers who responded to the scene and failed to recognize that a crime had occurred, did not search the victim for identification and did not write an incident report.

Yesterday, Mr. Williams, who is not seeking re-election, said he will not ask Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey to step down but declined to say whether he plans to ask Chief Thompson to resign.

"Chief Ramsey has my full confidence... as for Chief Thompson, we will have to wait and see," the Democratic mayor said.

Chief Thompson yesterday did not say whether he plans to resign, but he added that he will do whatever the mayor asks.

"I here at the pleasure of the mayor," the fire chief said.

Chief Thompson testified yesterday at an oversight hearing of the council's Committee on the Judiciary led by Phil Mendelson, an at-large Democrat who is seeking re-election. Mr. Mendelson would not say whether he plans to ask for Chief Thomspon's resignation.

The hearing addressed the inspector general report, which led to the disciplining of three EMS workers involved in the Rosenbaum case.

Selena Walker, who drove the ambulance that responded to the scene, has been fired. Assistant Director of EMS Operations Jerome Stack was suspended for 10 days, and EMS supervisor Harry Jones chose to retire rather than take a reduction in rank.

Meanwhile, the two men charged with the crime -- Michael C. Hamlin, 23, and Percy Jordan, 42 -- were arraigned Friday in D.C. Superior Court on a 17-count indictment accusing them of first-degree murder in the Rosenbaum case and another holdup the same day in Silver Spring.

Jordan also faces charges in a Nov. 17 attack on a 72-year-old retired police officer.

Republished with permission of The Washington Times.

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