Lawlessness ensues as Detroit paramedics come under increasing attack
Detroit EMS paramedics have come under attack at least five times over the past three days, leading to fears that some neighborhoods are becoming too dangerous even for emergency workers.
On Wednesday, a man who called 911 because he was having adverse reactions to his medications attacked two paramedics and shoved one of them into a bedroom at the 4400 block of Freer, EMS said. While in the room, the paramedic barricaded himself and called 911. The suspect busted in and assaulted the paramedic a second time, according to EMS.
Another crew was attacked Tuesday, and two more were chased away as they arrived to a scene.
Detroit Police Sgt. Eren Stephens said the city is doing its best and devising a long-term solution.
“We’re steadfast. We aren’t going anywhere,” Stephens told me. “The question is, how do we go about strategically making our city better and safer? I am so hopeful. I believe in our city and in our people.”
Attacks on city workers are becoming more common. Last month, someone chucked a molotov cocktail at a fire station. A month before, thieves stole a ladder and other items from a fire truck as firefighters battled a nearby blaze. About a year ago, a group of men brutally beat a bus driver.
Despite the increasing dangers, city officials cut the wages of firefighters and EMS by 10% and reduced health care and pension benefits, adding to the low morale of paramedics.
Mayor Dave Bing said the cuts were necessary to avoid the appointment of an emergency manager.
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Steve Neavling is an investigative journalist and former city hall reporter for the Detroit Free Press. Living on the city’s east side, Neavling explores corruption, civil liberties and the underbelly of an oft-misunderstood city.