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dascmom
12-30-2013, 06:53 AM
Hi.

I have a new question- you guys, in particular jclarkdawe are always so helpful- about a seemingly random attack. After a Nutcracker performance, a male ballet instructor is attacked in the parking lot on the way to his car. He is beaten and kicked by two men for several minutes and is left there. Someone finds him, calls 911, and he is taken by ambulance to the hospital. I've researched the medical aspects quite well.

So, the victim has been stabilized in the hospital. He is no longer intubated, and it is the morning after the attack. Do the police come to the hospital to interview the victim? How soon do they come to the hospital? Do ambulance drivers ask questions about who did this? Does anyone ask questions prior to police arriving? If the victim says something to the doctors or ambulance drivers, can they report it to family and police? Do they interview him right in the hospital room? Can his friend or family be in the room during the interview? Is there a physical inspection of any sort or do the police just take the medical reports from the hospital? Are the victim's clothes taken as evidence?

Any info would be so helpful. Thanks!!

T Robinson
12-30-2013, 07:30 AM
<<Comments interspersed>>

I have a new question- you guys, in particular jclarkdawe

<<He knows his scenarios, because he has had so many of them>> are always so helpful- about a seemingly random attack, <This relates to what I say later about personal motivation.>>

After a Nutcracker performance, a male ballet instructor is attacked in the parking lot on the way to his car. He is beaten and kicked by two men for several minutes and is left there.

<Bigger city or larger town? Makes a difference due to size and capability of department>>

Someone finds him, calls 911, and he is taken by ambulance to the hospital. I've researched the medical aspects quite well.

So, the victim has been stabilized in the hospital. He is no longer intubated, and it is the morning after the attack. Do the police come to the hospital to interview the victim?

<,They would never have left till they had a statement from him. The most critical time for an investigation is in the immediate aftermath. They would have questioned everyone nearby, they would question him if he was conscious. If they could determine right away, they would see if it was random or if they needed to focus on a personal motivation.>>

How soon do they come to the hospital? <<See above, they never left>>

Do ambulance drivers ask questions about who did this? <<Not my area of expertise, but probably not, since you say they are concerned with keeping him alive. Ask Jim if a "Dying declaration" could come into play. He is the lawyer>>

Does anyone ask questions prior to police arriving? <<The EMT's are focusing on the medical aspects. Some of your story depends on who actually finds him and calls the ambulance...and if they stick around to be questioned.>>

If the victim says something to the doctors or ambulance drivers, can they report it to family and police?<,They will report to the police, any alleged family is a gray area, I think, because of Hippa (sp?) regulations (ask Jim)>>

Do they interview him right in the hospital room?<<What do you mean by interview? They are going to get every bit of information they can as soon as possible. Before it is over, there will be several interviews, statements, etc., probably in different places>>

Can his friend or family be in the room during the interview?<< Ask someone with recent experience, but in general, you want to interview victims and witnesses separately, so you can check stories against one another and not have critical investigative information leak. It will leak, but you want to prove that it was not the PD that did it.>>

Is there a physical inspection of any sort or do the police just take the medical reports from the hospital? <Yes, there might be something in the medical report that a doctor might not find significant, but would stand out to an investigator. The investigator has to be able to say he personally reviewed the material. It is a part of what is called "best evidence rule." You cannot cross-examine a report, but you can the person who wrote the report. Doctors are human. The investigator has to be familiar with many different things and notice if something is not as it should be.>>

Are the victim's clothes taken as evidence? <Yes. Think "chain of custody." If the perpetrators did as much damage as you say, there will be trace evidence on the victim's clothes and that will be another element linking them to the crime.>>

As in anything, take what you can use. I am not a lawyer, but I have been in a lot of courtrooms on the other side from people like Jim. if you don't have your case properly prepared, a good defense lawyer will make you look like an idiot. Good luck.

Any info would be so helpful. Thanks!!

dascmom
12-30-2013, 07:42 AM
OK, T Robinson- You have helped me! Thank you. I have a few more: So when the person, another stranger, calls 911, the police and an ambulance arrive. Does the police officer ride in the ambulance with the victim or does he follow behind? Would the police ask questions of the victim at the scene, even if the victim is severely beaten. In the hospital, if the victim in unconscious/sedated/intubated where do the police stay at hospital until the next day when the victim is able to talk? Can the victim visit with his family and his boyfriend before he speaks to police?

dascmom
12-30-2013, 07:48 AM
Also, I think that although the attack is "random" it is directed at the ballet teacher because he is known in the town (a small town in Massachusetts- fictional) as being gay- so it is a hate crime, although he is a random gay victim by drunken assailants. He is comfortable and unafraid as he lives his life as an openly gay man, he is well-liked in the community. The assailants do say slurs in regards to the victim being a gay person during the attack. I do not want the police to find these attackers, as that is part of the story. I want them to try, and I do not know how they keep in contact with a victim when they are in the process of investigating an attack that they are not getting anywhere with.

T Robinson
12-30-2013, 08:00 AM
OK, T Robinson- You have helped me! Thank you. I have a few more: So when the person, another stranger, calls 911, the police and an ambulance arrive. Does the police officer ride in the ambulance with the victim or does he follow behind?

<<That's why I asked you the size of the department. A one man patrol car would have to follow. Remember that it might be several hours before any detective became involved. The responding officer would probably stay with the victim till someone relieved him/her, getting what information they could.>>

Would the police ask questions of the victim at the scene, even if the victim is severely beaten.<,That is a medical issue. They would try to get what they could, so they could have other units looking for the perpetrators. If they victim is conscious, at the least they will ask if they knew the perpetrators and/or a description, vehicle, direction of travel, etc.If severely beaten, they will defer to medical. You don't want a headline that says, "Dancer dies while police delay ambulance." >>

In the hospital, if the victim in unconscious/sedated/intubated where do the police stay at hospital until the next day when the victim is able to talk? See last note. Someone will have to stay with him.>>

Can the victim visit with his family and his boyfriend before he speaks to police?<<In that situation, the hospital would probably demand serious proof of identity for either, as well as the police. What if the perpetrators are coming back as "family," to finish what they started?>>

See interspersed notes.

T Robinson
12-30-2013, 08:04 AM
As to your last question, a small town might not have a large department, but until they can talk to the victim, they should have someone there. Crimes against persons are always taken more seriously than crimes against property. Good luck.

dascmom
12-30-2013, 08:39 AM
Very helpful!!

I wanted the victim to have a chance to be alone with his boyfriend in the hospital room before the police talked to him. I am hoping that the police would be able to keep their presence out in the hallway or in the closest lobby until he was ready to talk. He did say a few things at the scene, among them that he didn't know the assailants.

jclarkdawe
12-30-2013, 05:47 PM
Hi.

I have a new question- you guys, in particular jclarkdawe are always so helpful- That depends.

about a seemingly random attack. Writers love "random" attacks. The police do not. Although an attack may be random as towards the individual, it is probably not random against the type of individual. By establishing whether this is a hate crime, you can get increased sentencing and narrow your list of potential suspects.

After a Nutcracker performance, a male ballet instructor is attacked in the parking lot on the way to his car. Not all ballet dancers are gay, but many people who hate gays believe that they are. Initial thought of police is to wonder whether this is gay bashing.

He is beaten and kicked by two men for several minutes and is left there. More likely a minute at the most.

Someone finds him, calls 911, and he is taken by ambulance to the hospital. I've researched the medical aspects quite well.

So, the victim has been stabilized in the hospital. He is no longer intubated, and it is the morning after the attack. Do the police come to the hospital to interview the victim? Absolutely. They want to talk to him as soon as possible. He's the police department's best source of information.

How soon do they come to the hospital? Depends upon the department's manpower, but will probably stay. You have attempted murder hate crime. Only thing that tops it is a murder.

Do ambulance drivers ask questions about who did this? No. They don't care. Their job is medical treatment.

Does anyone ask questions prior to police arriving? Bystanders might, but probably not. Medical people are only interested in what happened to cause the medical condition. However, if the person wants to talk, they'll listen.

And remember that if the victim says he was assaulted by his girlfriend, this can be important medically. Compare the ripped, 150# girlfriend to the 90# starvation girlfriend.

If the victim says something to the doctors or ambulance drivers, can they report it to family and police? Doctor/patient privilege applies. HIPAA does not. Doctor/patient privilege is a complicated area. However, if the information is not supplied for medically necessary reasons, the doctor can talk about it. However, usually you ask the patient for a release. Or the doctor works on the assumption that a normal person would want information released that would be helpful to the police for catching the suspect.

Do they interview him right in the hospital room? Yes.

Can his friend or family be in the room during the interview? Yes, until it becomes a problem.

Is there a physical inspection of any sort or do the police just take the medical reports from the hospital? Depends upon how good the medical reports are. The police will want pictures of the bruising.

Are the victim's clothes taken as evidence? Unconscious beating suspect and the clothes are cut by the ambulance crew immediately, then bagged and given to the police.

Any info would be so helpful. Thanks!!


OK, T Robinson- You have helped me! Thank you. I have a few more: So when the person, another stranger, calls 911, the police and an ambulance arrive. Does the police officer ride in the ambulance with the victim or does he follow behind? He would not be allowed in the ambulance. The ambulance has an unconscious patient who is in serious condition. A cop to trip over is not a help in treatment. Police would either follow or arrange to meet the ambulance at the hospital.

Would the police ask questions of the victim at the scene, even if the victim is severely beaten. If the patient is conscious and the police stay out of the way of medical, then yes.

In the hospital, if the victim in unconscious/sedated/intubated where do the police stay at hospital until the next day when the victim is able to talk? Nurses station or at the victim's door. May stay in the room.

Can the victim visit with his family and his boyfriend before he speaks to police? Absolutely. The police can't question him until medical clearance is granted. Realize that even after becoming conscious, a patient might need to avoid stress for a while. Doctors have to balance the need to catch the bad guys versus the person's medical needs. Medical needs trump bad guys.


Also, I think that although the attack is "random" it is directed at the ballet teacher because he is known in the town (a small town in Massachusetts- fictional) as being gay- so it is a hate crime, although he is a random gay victim by drunken assailants. Got there way before you did. Your readers are going to do the same.

He is comfortable and unafraid as he lives his life as an openly gay man, he is well-liked in the community. The assailants do say slurs in regards to the victim being a gay person during the attack. I do not want the police to find these attackers, as that is part of the story. Chances are good they will not. However, make sure the bar and where the attack occurred is separated by a good amount of distance. Police will check for patrons of local bars that are nearby. I want them to try, and I do not know how they keep in contact with a victim when they are in the process of investigating an attack that they are not getting anywhere with. When the victim calls, they will answer questions. They can call the victim, but that tends to be unlikely.


Very helpful!!

I wanted the victim to have a chance to be alone with his boyfriend in the hospital room before the police talked to him. Usually not a problem. Give the victim some stress and the doctor will delay. Also, people becoming conscious need some time to orient themselves. The boyfriend would be helpful to the medical staff in orienting their patient. Medically, you want to have some idea of what damage and where it is as soon as possible. This is accomplished in brain injuries by question and answer.

I am hoping that the police would be able to keep their presence out in the hallway or in the closest lobby until he was ready to talk. He can refuse to talk to the police as long as he wants to.

He did say a few things at the scene, among them that he didn't know the assailants. This will probably be given to the police if it is relevant to their investigation.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

asroc
12-30-2013, 06:22 PM
Just FYI, EMTs generally don't appreciate being referred to as "ambulance drivers;" it's pretty rude. It's like calling a nurse a bed pan changer.

It is standard procedure for EMS to call the police when we respond to a crime scene. (Usually the cops are dispatched along with EMS and secure the scene before we go in.) We often take a cop along with us on the ride to the hospital, but it depends on how work-intensive the patient is. If he needs extensive treatment the cop would be in the way. It's even possible for a cop to be asked to drive so both EMTs can work in the back. But typically the cops will come along one way or another if they have any sort of business with the patient.

Patient treatment is paramount to the investigation. If the cops interfere with patient treatment, we will shoo them away. Very rarely you might find a cop who makes a fuss, but generally they know better and wait for the medical personnel to tell them when the patient can be questioned. If this patient needs to be intubated, he probably won't be able to speak properly anyway.

Yes, we ask questions, but generally only medically relevant ones. If we respond to a crime scene and the cops are not there yet, we might ask other ones, but that's very rare. The situation itself doesn't come up a lot and most crime scenes aren't considered safe, so chances are nothing is going to happen until the police get there (at which point they're in charge of anything related to the investigation.) However, anything possibly relevant that happens while we're treating the patient has to be relayed to the police.

The cops don't do physical examinations, that's for the medical staff to do. They're supposed to carefully document the injuries of assault victims, including taking pictures with a scale as photographic evidence if the patient consents.

dascmom
12-30-2013, 06:55 PM
asroc- Thanks for the heads up and sorry for the rudeness. I actually knew that it wasn't the right term when I wrote it but I allowed my rush to get information prevent me from correcting myself. I do have the utmost respect for EMTs and nurses, too. Your information was extremely helpful, I think I am getting a clear picture of how this unfolds.

jclarkdawe- again you were again incredibly thorough and helpful. I don't know how you know all this stuff, but it is wonderful that you are willing to share your knowledge. You've helped me with difficult scenes in several of my published books.

Thank you!

dascmom
12-30-2013, 06:56 PM
and asroc- I just didn't think about the term and I wrote the first term that came to ming- it was rude, yes, but not intentional

asroc
12-30-2013, 07:12 PM
Oh, don't worry about it. I'm sure it wasn't on purpose, hardly anyone does it on purpose. Please don't feel bad about it.

WeaselFire
12-30-2013, 07:43 PM
In addition, police may be the first responder, a 911 report of a beaten male will generate a police call. Officers will do their best to contain the scene and prevent contamination, EMS/Fire Rescue will do their damnedest to contaminate and confuse the scene. :)

Officers will interview on scene, detectives will follow up with witnesses and the patient as soon as possible. There really are no "random" attacks to police, they will be looking for a cause or specific suspects. How far they look and how involved this gets depends a lot on the department, the injuries, the people involved and a lot of other details.

One story line that works is for a family member to pursue the crime even after police have pretty much filed it away. Private detectives, amateur sleuths and the like do come on leads that the police don't, though it's rarely as dramatic as it is in fiction.

Jeff