Family members of a Dallas woman who was found slain days after calling 911 for help announced at a news conference on Wednesday they were filing a federal lawsuit against the City of Dallas and its police department.
Deanna Cook's relatives are seeking financial damages in connection with the way the city handled a 911 call the 32-year-old placed from her cellphone on Aug. 17, during which she pleaded with her estranged husband to stop attacking her.
Despite the disturbing call, it took officers 50 minutes to reach Cook's home. Once there, they knocked on the door and then left when no one answered.
Cook's family members found Cook's body in her bathtub two days later after forcing their way into her home.
The city admits it mishandled the 911 call, citing an error in which the call was not properly prioritized by dispatchers.
However, the family's lawyer, Aubrey "Nick" Pittman, said other factors also played a role, including a staffing shortage in which 64 employees were working instead of a minimum of 90.
"It was a comedy of errors," Pittman said. "Before they headed to Ms. Cook's residence, they actually stopped to investigate a false alarm – a burglary false alarm. Then, besides that, they made a stop to 7-Eleven for personal purchases."
The lawsuit is being filed in federal court because family members and Pittman allege Cook's race and the demographics of her neighborhood contributed to the botched response.
"It seems like a culture of police, or the police department, determining whose lives are valued – in determining the worth of certain people's lives," said Cook's sister, Valecia Battle.
In the wake of the tragedy, police fired a dispatcher, and are changing the way they log and respond to 911 calls.
Officers arrested Cook's husband, Delvecchio Patrick, and charged him with Cook's murder.
KDFW FOX 4
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