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Canton woman suing 911 for $25 million over husband's death

Posted at 5:11 PM, Feb 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-20 14:02:39-05

CANTON, Mich. (WXYZ) — Dorothy Greene lost her husband of 25 years Stephen on March 28 of last year. He was staying inside a health care center when he had a heart attack.

A police report from Canton Township shows staff tried to call 911 thirteen times and got no answer. An investigation by Canton Corporate Counsel found one now former dispatcher lowered the volume on the 911 telephone speaker, "causing the calls to be missed leading to an 8-minute delay in service."

Now Greene is suing two dispatchers who allegedly turned down the ringer on incoming calls.

According to Canton Township Attorney Kristin Kolb, the two former employees under investigation were suspended, and Wayne County prosecutors charged one dispatcher with willful neglect of duty.

Attorney Jonathan Marko says the death of Stephen did not have to happen. He's suing in Wayne County Circuit Court for $25 Million dollars.

Greene, Stephen Complaint by on Scribd

Kolb responded with this statement:

“First and foremost, The Charter Township of Canton extends its deepest sympathies to the family of Mr. Stephen Greene.

“The missed 9-1-1 calls were reported to a supervisor the same morning of occurrence. Upon receiving the report of the incident the Canton Public Safety Department immediately launched an internal investigation into the actions of the named former employees. The investigation quickly determined
one of the named former employees turned down the volume on the 9-1-1 telephone speaker causing the calls to be missed leading to an 8-minute delay in service.

“The two named former employees under investigation were suspended from the department after the internal investigation revealed significant policy violations and evidence of possible criminal conduct. This investigation was submitted for review by the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office and the Michigan State Police. Subsequent to the independent investigation, the Prosecutor’s Office charged Rachel Rowell with Willful Neglect of Duty.

“The actions of the responsible named former employees are inconsistent with the training, policies and practices of the Canton Department of Public Safety. Additionally, corrective measures have been put in place, and further measures continue to be evaluated by the department to prevent an incident such as this from occurring again.

“In 2018 the Public Safety Department’s dispatch center received 142,375 phone calls which included 25,536 9-1-1 calls. As a CALEA (Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies) accredited agency, the Canton Department of Public Safety holds its employees to the highest of standards. Those responsible for this incident have been held accountable, and the public can continue to have full confidence in the professional delivery of service by the Canton Police and Fire Departments.”