The lieutenant who is accused of ignoring a dying elderly man outside her fire station was approved for retirement, a city official confirmed.
That means Lt. Kellene Davis, 51, who has worked in the department for more than 25 years, will not face any disciplinary action for her role in the incident. Her pension and retirement benefits will also remain fully intact.
Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe told the Post that he originally denied a request by Davis to retire immediately after Mills died, which forced her to file with a retirement board, delaying the process at least 60 days. A D.C. Fire and EMS trial board held a hearing in March to determine whether Davis would face any disciplinary action. That decision is still pending and, by law, the chief cannot stop her from retiring before a verdict is made. The chief told the Post that the disciplinary panel reached a conclusion but had not yet forwarded it to him. But whatever conclusion they came to is moot now that Davis is officially retired.
Millscollapsed Jan. 25 across the street from a fire station on Rhode Island Avenue NE while shopping with his adult daughter and later died at Washington Hospital Center. Despite pleas for help and awareness that a medical emergency was occurring, none of the nearby Engine 26 fire fighters at the station provided medical assistance. An investigation into the incident found that Davis did not respond to announcements from the cadet manning the front desk about the emergency.
Davis was facing six disciplinary charges, including unreasonable failure to give assistance to the public, neglect for duty of public announcement system, and neglect of duty for violation of the Patient Bill of Rights.
tnsurprisingly, The Mills family is not happy that Davis will not face any consequences from the department. The family has repeatedly said it wants someone held accountable for Mills’ death. At a community meeting last week with the fire chief, Mills’ son, Medric Mills III, confronted the chief and said, “I have yet to see anyone held accountable for not doing their job. What are you going to do to get this rectified?”
The family issued the following statement through its attorneys:
“We are absolutely shocked about reports that the D.C. Fire and EMS Trial Board did not take adverse actions against the D.C. Fire Lieutenant, who was in charge of the fire station that refused to help our father when he suffered a heart attack, before she was allowed to retire. Everything about this process has been shrouded in secrecy. Because their actions are so outrageous, we now understand why the Trial Board shut the media out of the hearings and did not allow us or our attorney to attend…The public should be shocked that its public servants who have a duty to protect them are not held accountable when they neglect their duties. There should be laws on the books that hold D.C. Fire and EMS Department responsible and liable to those they harm in outrageous circumstances like that which lead to the death of our father. We are infuriated. Justice was not served. The system did not work. This is disgraceful.”
Photo by Perry Stein