WASHINGTON - It has been weeks since a D.C. man died after waiting 19 minutes for an ambulance to arrive. Yet, his family is still looking for answers and an apology from the city.
On January 3, first responders arrived at the Northeast D.C. home of Albert Jackson only to be waved off by D.C. police. It was a set of circumstances the fire chief called “an honest mistake.”
Jackson’s family announced Tuesday that they will ask the Department of Justice to investigate D.C. Fire and EMS in a civil rights investigation similar to ones the Justice Department has been doing in Ferguson, Missouri and other cities.
The family knows it has little chance of successfully suing the District and is now seeking answers elsewhere.
"My daddy is going to be missed,” said a tearful Stacy Jackson. “He had a lot more life to live.”
Stacy sat with her mother, Gloria, her sister, Michelle, and her brother, Anthony, and tearfully wondered if her father would still be alive if first responders had arrived at the family’s home on 60th Street when they were called.
"People can make mistakes, but nothing like this,” said Gloria Jackson. “Nobody makes a mistake like this. It was real careless.”
She said her grandsons noticed her husband was in distress and called 911. But when the first responders arrived in the block, they saw D.C. police with a man on the ground in handcuffs.
Mistakenly and apparently without double checking the address, the crew was told by police they were not needed and drove off.
By now, family members were performing CPR and ultimately waited nearly 19 minutes before help finally arrived at the door.
"We just don't understand what was going on,” said the victim’s son, Anthony Jackson.
With the help of their lawyer, the family is hoping for answers and a change in the way the city holds its first responders accountable.
"We have seen some of this before, but this one looks like a whitewash – no ifs, no ands, no buts,” said attorney Joel Duboff. “Now maybe I have come up a little bit strong, but how do you do it when you have family members who are dead and dying? It is not every day, but it is way too often.”
Albert Jackson was a 69-year-old retired construction worker who had survived some real health scares in recent years. His family believes he deserved better.
Duboff said it is considering filing a lawsuit in Maryland where Jackson was ultimately pronounced dead.
Also on the firm’s website, it will start a petition in hopes of convincing the D.C. Council to change the law so families like the Jacksons can get some accountability in court.