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Internal affairs report on Mills death investigation shows key information kept from public

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Medric Cecil Mills (Photo courtesy of the Mills family) Medric Cecil Mills (Photo courtesy of the Mills family)

A report released earlier this week on the January death of Cecil Mills is missing key information on what happened the day he collapsed across the street from a firehouse.

An internal affairs report obtained by FOX 5 shows there are glaring omissions in the report written by the deputy mayor for public safety and released to the public last Friday.

Examples include:

- The rookie firefighter says he was not trained properly and was afraid to take action.

- The lieutenant in charge of the truck that day lied in her initial report.

- The dispatchers should have known Truck 15 was available for service, but was never put on the call.

Let's start with the rookie who told investigators "he didn't know what to do."

In the internal affairs report, Remy Jones, who is only 19 years old, told investigators he had never been trained on what to do when someone came to the firehouse looking for help.

He also said he wanted to run across the street to help Mills, but was afraid of leaving the truck a person short and would therefore get in trouble. Being a rookie, he could then lose his job.

Jones also told investigators he didn't ring the bells in the firehouse, a routine action whenever there is an emergency, because he thought they could only be rung at night.

None of that was included in the Paul Quander report.

Now onto Lieutenant Kellene Davis. Did she lie?

According to the internal affairs report, she did. In her initial statement, she said she "proceeded outside of quarters (meaning the firehouse) to investigate" after being told of what was happening across the street.

It turns out she admits she never left the building. Lt. Davis also told investigators she did not need an exact address even though she said so in her initial statement.

At the end of the interview, Lt. Davis told investigators, "on this job sometimes mistakes are made, it happens.”

And finally -- Truck 15 in that same firehouse -- was recommended to respond, but was not dispatched. That part is brand new, and again, not included in the public report released by Deputy Mayor Quander.

Why didn't dispatchers at the 911 center put Truck 15 on the call?

The report says the computer-aided dispatch noted Truck 15 was in service and in quarters across the street from the incident and recommended the truck be placed on the call three different times, but it never happened.

Why? We don't know. That part is not explained.

Statements from the firefighters' union:

The DC Fire Fighters Association IAFF 36 has had serious concerns about the integrity of this investigation from the start. In a letter to Council member Wells dated February 12, 2014 we stated "The fire department is no longer capable of undertaking this investigation in a fair and impartial manner." I restated the same before before the Council on February 24, 2014 :"We want to answer the "Why" question that the public has demanded. We want to make every effort possible to restore public confidence, which we hold so dearly."

Any omissions between the internal report and the final report further damages that confidence for both the the family and the citizens we serve. We need answers to these disturbing questions.

Edward C. Smith
IAFF Local No. 36
DC Fire Fighters Association

Statement from Keith Saint Clair, spokesperson for the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Paul Quander:

A copy of the internal affairs investigation was provided to one of the FEMS members involved so that member could prepare for an upcoming trial board action.

An internal affairs report is just that: internal. Some of the details in a lengthy agency report were not included by Deputy Mayor Quander in his public report of his investigation into Medric Mills’ death. Like any plaintiff or prosecutor, not all the details in a case are made public in advance of trial. Our approach to this matter has been meticulous and methodical. A balance must be struck between the dissemination of information to the public and the due process rights of employees.

We urge you to use caution, as well, so those who have blame are appropriately held accountable and that any imposed sanction is sustained upon appeal.

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