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CNN Today

Louisiana Police Officer Under Investigation for Delaying Heart Attack Victim En Route to Hospital

Aired February 22, 2000 - 1:41 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A Louisiana police officer is under investigation for delaying a heart attack victim on his way to the hospital.

Reporter Dave McNamera, of our sister station WWL, talked with the patient's angry relatives.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVE MCNAMERA, WWL-TV REPORTER (voice-over): When John Basile's uncle woke him up at 3:00 a.m. Saturday, complaining that he was ill, it seemed serious.

JOHN BASILE: He said that his side of his face was hurting, his shoulders, his whole left arm. First thing that came into my mind was: Maybe he had a stroke or a heart attack or something.

MCNAMERA: Basile, his 50-year-old uncle, and his grandmother piled into the family car and drove from their home in Kenner toward Memorial Hospital in New Orleans.

But, before they get out of Metairie, John is stopped by a Jefferson sheriff's deputy for running a red light.

(on camera): John Basile says it wasn't the ticket he got for running this red light that bothered him; it was the officer's attitude, The deputy's apparent lack of concern for John's uncle, who was in the back seat of the car, still having chest pains.

BASILE: I said: "It's my uncle's car, he may have had a stroke or a heart attack, I'm not sure. We're trying to get him over to the hospital to see the doctor." He looks straight at me and says: "That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard."

MCNAMERA (voice-over): The minutes ticked by, while, Basile claims, the officer sat in his patrol car, smoked a cigarette and wrote this ticket. Basile claims it was 20 to 30 minutes later when the deputy, identified by the sheriff's office as Bryan McClendon, allowed him, his sick uncle and his grandmother to leave.

GLADYS BASILE: And I'll never forget it. Everyday I think of it. It's just that the policeman came to the window and said: "Go have your heart attack or your stroke. Have a good day." And I think that was horrid.

MCNAMERA: The family complained to the sheriff's department, and internal affairs is investigating. If the story is confirmed, it's likely that the deputy will be disciplined for not following department procedures.

Dave McNamara, Channel Four.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: And the patient did survive his heart attack and has been released from the hospital.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Department has determined the family was only delayed 14 minutes, but says it still has questions about the officer's behavior. If the allegations are true, he could be fired.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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